The men of Hollywood may be rocking brooches on the red carpet, but for a lot of guys, this look might be a tall order. Cufflinks may be a safer choice of accessory, and the category remains a solid option for retailers curating men’s jewelry collections for the upcoming holiday season.
While the category is safe, the cufflink designs themselves can be as irreverent and interesting as you’re willing to go. And with Father’s Day coming up this Sunday, the timing seemed to right to spotlight Fils Unique, a newcomer to the playing field offering “wearable conversation pieces” featuring highly specialized craftsmanship, hand-painted detailing, and beguiling motifs.
Earlier this spring, Fils Unique founder and creative director Nicolas van Heule participated in a craftsmanship-themed two-day trunk show at Bergdorf Goodman alongside brands such as Goyard and Loro Piana.
Having launched his company in 2017, van Heule reports that 60% of his customer base is self-purchasing men. At the Bergdorf’s event, he observed that “customers wanted to know more about how the cufflinks were made, by whom, and where,” he says. “In an age of digital or mass products, people give more attention to real craftsmanship and want to know the story behind the product.”
A former international business lawyer, van Heule found an outlet for a creative streak that would not let up by sketching cufflink designs and soon decided to pursue his passion full time. He apprenticed with the Fitzgerald Jewelry Studio in Brooklyn, N.Y., and then went on to study with Greg Daniloff, a veteran in the business of cufflinks craftsmanship.
Today, the line is produced by a team of New York–based artisans, including master painters and enamelists (who are also called upon regularly to restore Fabergé eggs).
So banana cufflinks emerge with remarkable detail, complete with the faintest brown speckles; octopuses offered in purple or red have a technicolor quality as they might appear in their natural underwater habitat.
Sculpted elephant busts (below) are accompanied by this charming copy online: Your cufflinks are keepsakes. Keepsakes are memories. And an elephant never forgets. What a great Father’s Day gift for the silver fox in your life.
See more from the collection below.
Top: Clockwise, from left: Spikes cufflinks in rhodium-plated silver, $330; Sixteen Legs cufflinks in rhodium-plated silver and red enamel, $840; a tree frog cufflink being hand-painted by a Fils Unique artisan; Hercules cufflinks in rhodium-plated silver and enamel, $660
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