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Cocktail Rings

 
 

Costume, Coco, & Camellias

   

 

La mode se démode, le style jamais.

Coco Chanel

 

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 La Dame aux Camelias, 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 camélia 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 style....

  

 

For those who prefer a cocktail to the cocktail ring and like the idea of turning  the classic martini glass inside out: InsideOut Martini Glass

 

Read: La Dame aux Camelias, Alexandre Dumas fils

 

Buy: Cocktail Rings, vivre.com

 

Tags:  jewelry

 

See: Theatre: Can a story of love be more real than the love itself, than the real thing?  Distinguish fake from real onstage at off-Broadway prices! Out of Line's Productions' charming staging of The Real Thing, Tom Stoppard

 


 

 

 

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