On this day we raise a glass to Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor, who would have turned 82 today. Taylor kicked off her 61-year-long career as a child star, appearing in the film There’s One Born Every Minute in 1942. The two-time Oscar-winning actress always dared to dream big–and did just that. Case in point: her seven husbands (and eight marriages — she divorced then re-married actor Richard Burton), 12 best-selling fragrances, 20 years worth of AIDS activism, and her prized jewelry, which was auctioned off at a whopping $115,932,000 following her death in 2011. “My mother says I didn’t open my eyes for eight days after I was born, but when I did, the first thing I saw was an engagement ring and I was hooked,” Taylor has said. Relive the legend’s most memorable jewels here, starting with this diamond tiara from 1957.
It is hard to imagine a world where Karl Lagerfeld designed for any other brand than Chanel, but before his current job as creative director for the French fashion house, the pony-tailed designer had a slew of other high-profile gigs including posts at Fendi, Chloé, Jean Patou, Tiziani, and Balmain. As a young designer, Lagerfeld took a job at Roman couture house Tiziani in 1963 where he stayed for six years, and now we are getting a glimpse of the work he did there.
This week, hundreds of fashion sketches featuring early works by Lagerfeld will be up for grabs at Palm Beach Modern Auctions, along with drawings, photos, and letters from one of Tiziani’s favorite clients, Elizabeth Taylor. Tiziani’s founder, Evan Richards, kept Lagerfeld’s designs—several made exclusively for Taylor (above, left)—and sketchbooks together with other work produced for the fashion house, and the archive was maintained by subsequent owners. Although Lagerfeld’s drawings are definitely the highlights, the entire auction is well worth a look as it is rich with fashion history and 1960s flare. Interested in owning a Karl sketch for yourself? The auction goes live on January 11th at 12:00PM EST—visit modernauctions.com for more information and to find out how you can bid.
Glitz, Glamour, and Plenty of Diamonds: Kate Middleton’s Wedding Tiara and Other Iconic Pieces on Display in ParisDec 19, 2013 @ 5:47 pm
Hundreds of dazzling jewels–including the exact tiara that Kate Middleton wore on her wedding day — are on display at a rare exhibition in Paris. “Cartier: Style and History” spotlights 600 jaw-dropping pieces to celebrate 160 years of Cartier and all its brilliant designs. One of the most iconic pieces — the Duchess of Cambridge’s tiara — is composed of stylized petals paved with 739 brilliant-cut diamonds, and 149 baguette-cut diamonds (the piece was created in 1936 and has been in the royal family for generations).
Featuring some of the iconic brand’s most well-known and glamorous pieces like the 10.47 carat emerald-cut diamond engagement ring Prince Rainier of Monaco gave Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor‘s “La Peregrina” 16th century pearl necklace given to her on Valentine’s Day in 1969 by Richard Burton, and Queen Elizabeth‘s often-worn floral brooch, this is one show not to be missed. The largest collection of Cartier jewels to ever come together, the exhibition is an achingly beautiful delight that chronicles the evolution of taste, whims, and indulgences of its most famous clients throughout time. “Cartier: Style and History” will be on display at the Grand Palais until February 16, 2014. For more information on the exhibit, visit grandpalais.fr.
In honor of what would have been legendary costume designer Edith Head’s 116th birthday, the star received the Google Doodle treatment today—sketches of her illustrations have replaced the usual Google logo on the search engine’s homepage. Head was nominated for an astounding 35 Academy Awards, winning eight of them for Costume Design (more than any other woman in Oscar history). Working on hundreds of films in her storied career, Edith dressed almost every icon of the glamorous movie age including Audrey Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, Elizabeth Taylor, Natalie Wood, Mae West, Ingrid Bergman, Doris Day, Kim Novak, Sophia Loren, Rita Hayworth, and Bette Davis, who eulogized her as “The queen.” Edith became Alfred Hitchcock’s favorite designer, and was just as responsible as he was in inventing the dazzling “Hitchcock Blondes.” Outside of the silver screen, Edith’s dreamy designs could be seen on the red carpet, including Grace Kelly’s French satin, ice blue gown that we picked as one of the best Oscar looks of all time. Edith understood that fashion isn’t just about the dress, it’s about the person in the dress. Speaking of Kelly’s dress, Edith said, “Some people need sequins—others don’t.”
Inspired by Edith? See our Film Noir trend gallery below!
Jennifer Tilly Tells Us About Her Beautiful Baubles on Display in “The Art of Bulgari: La Dolce Vita and Beyond” Exhibition in San FranciscoSep 26, 2013 @ 1:50 pm
It’s no secret Oscar-nominated actress Jennifer Tilly is a champion poker player. What you may not know is that she also is a world-class jewelry collector. Inspired by the glamorous pieces movie stars owned in the past, Tilly has invested in serious jewelry ever since she started receiving serious paychecks.
After making Woody Allen’s Bullets Over Broadway, a film in which she rebukes her gangster boyfriend’s jewelry gift with the hilarious line—“Black pearls? They probably come from defective oysters!”—Tilly bought a strand. The actress also purchased a stunning gold and sapphire ring from the gorgeous selection of Luna Felix jewels she flaunted in the Jim Carrey comedy Liar, Liar. Over the years, she has continued to pick up masterworks with impressive provenances, like a bejeweled evening bag that once belonged to the Duchess of Windsor and a jaw-dropping pair of JAR earrings from actress Ellen Barkin’s collection sold at auction in 2006. “A lot of beauty in jewels is the story behind them,” says Tilly.
The most fabled item in her jewelry box is a Bulgari brooch from Elizabeth Taylor’s legendary collection. Like any great gambler, Tilly enjoyed the thrill ride of acquiring it during Taylor’s 2011 estate sale at Christie’s in New York. Click through the slide show for the great story behind the Taylor treasure, and Tilly’s other incredible Bulgari jewels that will be among the 150 pieces on display in “The Art of Bulgari: La Dolce Vita and Beyond” at the de Young Museum in San Francisco from September 21, 2013 through February 17, 2014.
Bravo, Jessica Chastain! The actress celebrated the 50th anniversary of Cleopatra by watching the classic at a screening during the Cannes Film Festival yesterday, and after the showing, she teamed up with Bulgari to host a private reception where the Bulgari jewels Elizabeth Taylor wore in the film went on display. With that great honor comes great perks, including being able to wear one of the late legend’s pieces. She picked this Bulgari sapphire and diamond masterpiece. The stunning jewel is over 29 inches long. The sugarloaf cabochon at the center of the design is 52.72 carats. It was one of several stunning jewels Richard Burton gave Elizabeth Taylor for her 40th birthday. “I introduced her to beer and she introduced me to Bulgari,” Burton joked years later of his Bulgari shopping trips with Taylor. Gorgeous, don’t you think?
Plus, see more Cannes Film Festival fashion.
In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Cleopatra, Bulgari co-hosted a screening of the film at the Cannes Film Festival and a reception where several of Elizabeth Taylor’s Bulgari jewels were on display. And five decades later, absolutely everything about Cleopatra is still epic. When it debuted in 1963, the full-theatrical length was just over four hours, having filmed for three years in Rome at a ballooned budget of $42 million—equivalent to about $300 million today. Without question the most dramatic aspect of the film’s history is that it was the setting where Elizabeth Taylor fell for her leading man Richard Burton. When news of the affair broke, photos of the couple kissing were plastered all over the press. Privately, the couple celebrated their love with extravagant tokens of affection at the celebrated Italian jeweler Bulgari. Years later, Burton recalled these shopping excursions with humor: “I introduced her to beer and she introduced me to Bulgari.” Click through to see a few of our favorite pieces.
— Marion Fasel
Fifty years after capturing audiences across the globe, Cleopatra reigns again! The iconic Academy Award-winning movie starring Elizabeth Taylor—once the highest grossing film with $7 million earned in the initial release—has been restored to commemorate the milestone anniversary and today it screened as an official selection at the Cannes Film Festival. The world premiere viewing, hosted by Jessica Chastain, Kate Burton, daughter of Richard Burton, and Chris Wilding, son of Elizabeth Taylor, happened today. To cap it off, a reception following the premiere will include a display of Ms. Taylor’s personal jewels and an auction of an exclusive Bulgari design inspired by the star and benefitting her charity, The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation. The celebration extends to our office, where we’re prepping for the re-release with a look back at the epic filming. Click though to see the stunning shots from the Roman set, and catch Cleopatra back in over 200 theaters across the world beginning May 22.