The Kitsinian family of Vanna K—Arch, Vanna (the company namesake), and dad Sarkis—showed a lot of new beautiful jewels at JCK Las Vegas, but perhaps none were as memorable as their silver mesh dress.
Weighing a hefty 3,557 grams of sterling, the skirt (2,067 grams) and jacket (1,490 grams), made in size 4, took more than a year to hand assemble at company headquarters in Lake Balboa, Calif. The skirt features about 14,000 individual pieces, and the jacket has roughly 12,800 components. Chandelier earrings and a scarf, both in 14k gold, further embellish the ensemble, as well as a matching opal-set (Vanna’s birthstone), a belt buckle and two opal buttons on the top front of the jacket. The retail cost for the look as shown (sans bracelets): $62,000 for the skirt (including the opal belt buckle), $46,000 for the jacket, $2,000 for the opal buttons on the jacket, $40,000 for the scarf (which is 364 grams of 14k gold), and $1,600 for the earrings.
While the outfit was a joint production between designer Vanna and her craftsman pop, Arch was tasked with sharing the news with JCK.
“It was brand new for the JCK Las Vegas jewelry show,” he explained. “Vanna and Sarkis’ love of glamour and high fashion inspire collections of sophistication. Vanna learned how to make jewelry by looking over his shoulder, so it was gratifying for them both to work on this together.”
The shape and fit drapes over the body, hugging the wearer’s every curve; each piece is die struck, and hand-soldered together.
“It was impressive to watch it being tailored, just like a cloth suit,” says Arch. “Someone would wear it, and one sleeve would be too long, and another too short, or it wasn’t hugging the body properly, but in the end, it all came together.”
So far, one special order has been taken. A European businessman in a navy blue pinstripe suit with a white handkerchief walked by the Vanna K booth—he didn’t have an appointment, and wasn’t a regular customer—and stopped in to chat with Sarkis upon seeing the metal frock. After 15 minutes, the man left the Kitsinians with a deposit and instructions to craft a 14k gold version.
“The first one took three people a year to make, but for this one, six people will finish it in four months,” says Arch.