On the Dubai Opera boulevard and a stone’s throw from this cultural and artistic landmark, the two-story building facade of the new Van Cleef & Arpels store plays with light and shadow. Its unique design was inspired by a 1929 drawing from the Maison’s archives, representing a jewelry box with Art Deco influences. This historic piece was reinterpreted in a metallic mashrabiya that creates a delicate curtain effect.
Spread over 222sqm, Les Salons Van Cleef & Arpels Dubai Opera is the 14th location – and one of the most grandiose – in the Middle East, reflecting timeless elegance and adorned with precious materials. The opulent setting cleverly echoes the Maison’s flagship Place Vendôme boutique in Paris, which is within walking distance of the magnificent Palais Garnier.
“It is a momentous occasion for all of us as we celebrate the wondrous universe and iconic creations of the Maison at this exclusive venue,” says Alessandro Maffi, Managing Director of Van Cleef & Arpels Middle East and India. “We look forward to welcoming guests to this inspiring stellar boutique.”
Since 1941, dance – in addition to nature and couture, among other sources – has always been a high inspiration for the jeweler. A passionate lover of ballet and opera, Louis Arpels – one of the founding Arpels brothers – used to leave his office in Place Vendôme in Paris to attend performances at the Palais Garnier. In 1941, he was the initiator of the first ballerina clips created by the Maison in New York. Two decades later, Claude Arpels, Louis’s nephew, became friends with legendary choreographer George Balanchine, co- founder of the New York City Ballet. The friendship led to a unique collaboration. In 1967, Balanchine created a three-part ballet called Jewels using the names and colors of emeralds, rubies, and diamonds, and, in 2007, Van Cleef & Arpels collaborated with London’s Royal Ballet to commemorate the 40th anniversary of this ballet with the Ballet Précieux high jewelry collection. Since then, Van Cleef & Arpels has launched many other initiatives, including a collaboration with Benjamin Millepied, former principal dancer at the New York City Ballet and founder of L.A. Dance Project; and the FEDORA- Van Cleef & Arpels Prize for Ballet. This commitment illustrates how jewelry and dance have much in common, including precision, poesy, femininity, and the search for excellence. In 2016, Van Cleef & Arpels took another step in the UAE with its partnership with Dubai Opera supporting ballet and dance arts.
The opening of Les Salons Van Cleef & Arpels Dubai Opera offers a new opportunity to showcase the Maison’s heritage craftsmanship through both the space and the creations on view. An elevator and an opulent staircase invite visitors to discover the refined aesthetic while a lavish library exposes them to the rich history of the Maison in an elegant atmosphere.
For the first time in the region, the new Dubai address houses an area dedicated to Van Cleef & Arpels’ history in the center of the building, which symbolizes the stage of an opera house, and will showcase specific exhibitions. The first show was dedicated to an array of ballerina clips – inspired by famous dancers such as La Camargo – created between the 1940s until today. Each colorful and delicate clip adorned with gold, turquoise, rubies, sapphires, and diamonds, among other gemstones, gives a feeling of fluid movement and lightness.
To celebrate the grand opening of Les Salons Van Cleef & Arpels Dubai Opera, the French house will unveil its heritage pieces for the first time in the Middle East. The showcase will illuminate high jewelry treasures and a grandiose collection that represents the Maison’s high jewelry identity. The exhibition features 57 vintage pieces, 20 signature designs, and 25 mixed sets that will be accompanied by more than 12 heritage pieces, 20 items from the Quatre contes de Grimm collection, and two high jewelry watches in white diamonds. Witness tiaras, crowns, and royal fineries that were once worn by influential women including Queen Nazli of Egypt, the Maharani of Baroda, the Duchess of Windsor, and Princess Grace of Monaco. Rubies, diamonds, emeralds, and sapphires will be situated in the center of the building, symbolic of the center stage of an opera house. Discover the glittering and alluring history of the Maison, as it unravels mysterious stories of its eminent clientele. “The world of Van Cleef & Arpels has always been a place of wonder, enchantment, and intrigue,” Maffi adds. “The private collection of the Maison, named Van Cleef & Arpels Collection, explores a century in the history of one of the most prestigious jewelry dynasties and once again evokes a beguiling atmosphere replete with charm and enchantment.”
Treasures & Legends will be on show at Les Salons Van Cleef & Arpels Dubai Opera from October 10.