For more than a century, Van Cleef & Arpels has looked to nature for inspiration and found beauty in the movement of butterflies.
Butterflies, a symbol of both strength and fragility, have always captivated beholders with its delicate grace and ephemeral beauty. Today, this can also be found in jewellery, in a collaboration with Korean photographer Younghee Suh that honours the luxury French maison’s lacquered butterfly clips .
In a quest to capture the winged creature’s natural allure, Van Cleef & Arpels has created a collection of lacquered butterfly clips with Japanese lacquer artisan, Junichi Hakose. The renowned master of lacquer handcrafts each of his elegant pieces of art in his workshop in Wajima, Japan, by employing a traditional 18th century method, urushi. Inspired by historical motifs, the embellished arthropod’s wings and body flaunt a myriad of precious materials including white gold, precious gems, and diamonds.
Van Cleef & Arpels gave carte blanche to Korean artistic director, Younghee Suh, to interpret the maison’s nature-inspired creations. Suh has previously collaborated with the maison on their high jewellery collection, L’Arche de Noé racontée par Van Cleef & Arpels, in which she provided photographs of their Lucky Animals collection imbued with poetry, elegance and refinement.
In this cross-cultural collaboration of the maison’s French heritage and Japanese tradition, her vision included imagery that echoed the still life works of a Korean painter from the Joseon dynasty. Here, Suh breathed new life into each clip by reimagining them on poetic compositions of painterly blooms rendered in hand-crafted hanji paper.