Thursday, January 17, 2019

DAY 5: Dog Collars, Part II

Rene Lalique, "Roses" collar plaque, 1900

Princess Alix set the fashion for dog collars in the late Victorian period, but by the end of the Edwardian era, revolutions in jewelry design transformed the style. Rene Lalique, the brilliant French artist who worked in crystal, enamel, glass, and precious metals who dominated the Art Noveau period--took the dog collar concept and created works of heartstopping beauty.

Lalique apprenticed with a well-known Parisian jeweler while attending classes at the Ecole des Arts Decoratifs in Paris. After two years of study in England, he established his reputation as an independent designer for Boucheron and Cartier--then opened his own Paris house in 1885. By 1890, at his third atelier location, he began to experiment with jewelry that incorporated enamel and glass alongside gold, platinum, and precious stones.

Those golden pearls at left are gorgeous, of course, and play off the gold of the roses quite well--but the plaque itself is akin to wearing a stained-glass window. Imagine the suppleness of a woman's throat glimpsed through the enamel and metal.

Lalique's dog collar plaques became The Rage.

Rene Lalique, Two Flute Players, 1898-1900
The pieces were intended to serve as the center of a tight-fitting necklace.  A century on, the strings of jewels to either side that formed the necklace itself are far less valuable than the plaques Lalique designed.

Lalique, "Eagles on a Pine Branch," gold, enamel, opal, 1902

Rene Lalique, "Narcisse," enamel and glass, 1898-1900

"Thistles," courtesy Alsace Lalique Museum

Lalique, "Umbels," 1902

This final image gives a sense of how light--candle light, gas light, moonlight--played off the glass, enamel, gold, and diamond art displayed on a woman's neck.

For more images of people, places and fashion from THAT CHURCHILL WOMAN, visit the  Pinterest board behind the novel.

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