La mode se démode, le style jamais.
Fashion goes out of fashion. Le style, never! And the
cocktail ring endures, with only the faintest perfume of its
deliciously illicit prohibition-era roots lingering…. But
then one can’t think of the cocktail ring, let alone wear one,
without first paying homage to Coco Chanel. Gabrielle ‘Coco'
Chanel was marvelously inventive -- the LBD as fashion work-horse,
little boxy suits that let one move, beveled glass bottles of such
beautifully minimal design to hold perfume, ballerina pumps to
breeze along in, and the audacious mixing of faux and real
jewelry. It was Coco in fact who legitimized paste or
costume jewelry with fake pearls and poured glass, emphasizing
drama over precious stones. Audrey Hepburn’s strands of faux
pearls in Breakfast at Tiffany’s or Jackie Kennedy wearing
Kenneth Jay Lane all acknowledge Coco before them….
And nothing is more symbolic of Chanel than the Camellia. As
Chanel, the company, says:
The camellia appealed to Mademoiselle's taste for provocation
due to its reference as the forbidden flower, both androgynous and
ambiguous. Without perfume or thorns the camellia seduces by
its simplicity. Mademoiselle adored the camellia for it’s
almost geometrical roundness and the regular perfection and
classical order of its pure white petals. It’s the white
camellia that has become her emblem, and the brand’s signature, as
it alone evokes the true spirit of Chanel.
It is said that perhaps Chanel was inspired by
the beguiling and tragic French novel by Alexandre Dumas fils that was
made into a play and was also the basis for Verdi’s La Traviata.
The camellia is a most self-satisfied flower, complete, beautiful
in its very smugness, the name itself evocative of its pure
loveliness. And of course, Chanel’s
cocktail rings in all their variations are classic, much copied,
never out of style.
The cocktail ring of prohibition-era glamour has its own rich
history: it became popular with women attending illicit cocktail
parties and speakeasies in the 1920’s and early 1930’s. Art
deco, flappers, all that Jazz. Originally, it flaunted the
fact that one was drinking, and illegally so, the ring drawing
attention to the fact that one held a cocktail glass in one’s
hand. Size the defining characteristic of the cocktail ring.
And so large is the norm, huge is for the extravagantly
adventurous. The ring as statement, conversation piece, or
knuckle-duster. It can be costume or real, fashioned out of
a single piece of lucite or metal or glass, or made of gold and
set with precious stones. No rules or the breaking of
rules. And with the breaking of rules or the making up of
one’s own set of dictates is the beginning of that thing known as
who prefer a cocktail to the cocktail ring and like the idea of turning the classic martini glass inside out:
InsideOut Martini Glass
aux Camelias, Alexandre Dumas fils
Theatre: Can a story of love be more real than the love itself,
than the real thing? Distinguish fake from real onstage at
Out of Line's
Productions' charming staging of The Real Thing, Tom Stoppard