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Van Cleef & Arpels’ “Florae” Exhibition Blooms In Paris


Earlier this month, Van Cleef & Arpels unveiled a special jewelry exhibition mounted in collaboration with Mika Ninagawa, a prominent Japanese photographer known for her focus on—as she puts it—the “short-lived radiance of flowers.”

Housed at Hôtel d’Évreux, on Paris’ Place Vendôme, “Florae” gathers more than 100 Van Cleef & Arpels jewels from the 1920s to the present day, all united by one of the famed French jeweler’s perennial inspirations: flowers.

Van Cleef & Arpels gave Ninagawa carte blanche to create an exhibition of her work presented alongside its jewels, which are housed in showcases specially designed to blend into their surroundings. The result is a dreamlike stroll through an enchanted, incandescent jardin teeming with electric, supersaturated colors.

“The maison loves highlighting affiliations between its jewelry creations and the work of artists who draw from the same sources of inspiration,” said Nicolas Bos, president and CEO of Van Cleef & Arpels, in a prepared statement. “Mika Ninagawa…creates an overarching universe made up of images that plunge viewers into the heart of nature. That sense of immersion also gave rise to the exhibition’s striking decor: …a welcoming labyrinth where visitors lose all notions of scale and distance. Surrounded by…photographs and jewels, they contemplate a transcendent dialogue between precious stones and projected petals. It all comes together in a magical experience.”

Van Cleef & Arpels and Ninagawa called on architect Tsuyoshi Tane, founder of Atelier Tsuyoshi Tane Architects (ATTA) in Paris, to design a spatial dialogue between the two artistic mediums of photography and jewelry.

VCA Florae exhibit
Jewels and photography are presented in an immersive Alice in Wonderland–esque tableau. (Photo: ©Takuji-Shimmura)

The exhibition is organized in three parts, each reflecting a vision of flowers shared by Ninagawa and Van Cleef & Arpels.

The first section is dedicated to a naturalist aesthetic that underscores representations prompted by reality. Emphasis is placed on natural colors and flora anatomy, from corollas to petal shapes and textures.

Van Cleef Arpels rose bracelet
Intertwined flowers, red and white roses bracelet in platinum, rubies, emeralds, onyx, and yellow and white diamonds, 1924
Van Cleef Arpels Asian long necklace
Asian-inspired long necklace in platinum with sapphires, emeralds, rubies, onyx, and diamonds, 1924

The second part focuses on bouquets, highlighting archival jewels from the maison’s collection that date from the 1930s and ’40s.


Van Cleef Arpels bouquet brooches
Bouquet clip in 18k yellow gold with sapphires and rubies, 1940, and in situ with other bouquet brooches in the exhibit

Finally, the last section presents a stylized vision of flora, with realistic representations of nature giving way to graphic lines, striking palettes, and a sense of motion.

Van Cleef Arpels Dahlia Secret watch
Dahlia high jewelry secret watch in 18k white, rose, and yellow gold with diamonds, pink and purple sapphires, rubies, spessartite garnets, and quartz movement, price on request

Top: Van Cleef & Arpels Rose de Noel clips are among the jewels showcased in “Florae,” which will be on view through Nov. 14.

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Amy Elliott

By: Amy Elliott

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