01 September 2011

Wallis UnZipped

Model Karmen Pedaru wears Van Cleef and Arpels necklace on the subscriber's US Harper’s Bazaar  cover  September 2011, photograph by Terry Richardson. The concept for the necklace was offered up to Van Cleef and Arpel by Wallis Windsor-the Duchess.

scenes from the movie The King's Speech
Actress playing Wallis-Eve Best wears the Van Cleef and Arpels zipper from the back-arresting to say the least

The Duchess of Windsor never actu­ally owned the ver­sion of the neck­lace shown in movie. She personally com­mis­sioned  her  ZIPPER to be fit­ted to a dress. In 1939, Wallis went to Renee Puissant, artistic director of the jewelry firm and asked them to  design a platinum and diamond zipper for one of her evening dresses. A novelty at the time-the Zipper made for ease in dressing oneself-it was really quite something when it began showing up in garments in the 1930's.

Made with gold, rubies, and diamonds, this zip necklace can be transformed into a bracelet.

Wallis' necklace and breakaway bracelet from the necklace-ever practical, No?
above images from The Smithsonian

Though a secondary storyline in the film The King’s Speech, the Romance of the Century was integral to the plot and no detail of their story is overlooked. The Duchess, who was a great lover or jewellery, was keen on Van Cleef & Arpels and commissioned the Zip necklace and various ‘mystery’ set pieces.Her extravagant and bold style made her collection an auction house favourite and in December 2010, various pieces from her collection were sold at Sotheby’s and the famous Cartier panther bracelet broke records. In the film her jewellery is all historically correct – except for one niggling detail I noticed: the original Zip necklace she ordered from Van Cleef & Arpels was made of yellow gold, not white gold. But that Zip still looks great dangling down the back off the Duchess. Bold, extravagant and original, its says a lot about the personality of the Duchess.(from the Jewelry Editor, linked throughout text)

Wallis-fully loaded- though not wearing the Zip.


  1. Then Van Cleef & Arpels Zip necklace was not realized until the 1950's. Legend has it that it was a concept suggested by the Duchess of Windsor some time after the war. It is out of time in its use in the film. But never mind the way it is worn suggests other necklaces of the that time which were worn down the back.

  2. I remember my mother and I both gasped at the same time when we saw this necklace in the movie!

  3. Debra, I read several "time lines" and to void them all is the one I thought best fit my own post! I knew you would steer me right. The bracelet is beautiful. Funny I never could find WW wearing the things- DO you have a shot? Do post if you do-pgt

    Emily- it wears well! indeed.



Related Posts with Thumbnails