Verdura’s Vintage Tiara Makes an Appearance at The Crown

by admin

The exhibit Crown to Couture: The Fashion Show of Centuries at Kensington Palace is showcasing Georgian court dress, alongside contemporary fashion and jewelry worn by today’s icons. It is the largest exhibit ever staged at Kensington Palace and will be on display until October 29.

Interestingly, many of the items on display are taken directly from the Met Gala red carpet. This is not surprising, as the Met Gala has become one of the most extravagant fashion events of our time. In recent years, it has even outshined the revered Oscars red carpet with its strict costume dress codes, curated by Vogue magazine’s editors.

Linking back to the coronation theme of Crown to Couture, the exhibit features court dress, tiaras, and statement jewelry that will be seen during the crowning of King Charles III on May 6.

Melanie Grant, an expert in multiple fields, including jewelry as art, curated the jewelry display. The exhibit features various noteworthy pieces, such as Fernando Jorge’s diamond Disco Ball earrings, worn on numerous red carpets, and Cindy Sherman’s Pensive cameo earrings worn by Cate Blanchett at the Venice Film Festival. Additionally, there are a couple of tiaras on display, both of which were created in America.

For the 2022 Met Gala, Blake Lively collaborated with jewelry designer Lorraine Schwartz to create a copper, nude diamond, and Paraíba tourmaline tiara. She wore this stunning tiara with a matching Versace gown to honor the exhibit In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.

At the same event, Hamish Bowels, a prominent figure in Vogue and The World of Interiors, wore the Verdura Feather Headdress. Created in 1957, this headdress is the centerpiece of the Crown to Couture jewelry display.

The Verdura Feather Headdress was commissioned by American heiress and philanthropist Betsey Whitney for her husband, Ambassador John Hay Whitney’s presentation at the Court of St. James, where he met Queen Elizabeth II. Betsey Whitney, one of the famous Cushing Sisters, was a well-known socialite in mid-20th century America. Her younger sister, Barbara, became Babe Paley upon marrying CBS executive Bill Paley, while her older sister, Mary, married Vincent Astor and was known as Minnie Astor.

The Italian jewelry designer Fulco di Verdura drew inspiration from American Indian headdresses when creating the imaginative Feather Headdress Tiara. Another source of inspiration is a Native American man wearing a feather headdress depicted on a 1907 gold coin sculpted by Augustus Saint-Gauden. The tiara’s silhouette resembles a laurel wreath.

This stunning jewel is adorned with 1,223 diamonds, totaling 28.32 carats. It was crafted in Verdura’s New York City workshop and designed to be worn at the center of the head.

Prior to her passing, Betsey Whitney offered the tiara to Ward Landrigan, a representative of Verdura, who acquired it for the firm’s Museum Collection. The tiara has been displayed in various exhibitions, including “Crowning Glories: Two Centuries of Tiaras” at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in 2000 and “Allegories of America” at the New York Historical Society in 2017.

Its inclusion in the Crown to Couture exhibit marks a homecoming for the jewel. It also ignites dreams of an American daring to wear an unconventional tiara for the coronation, adding a touch of iconoclasm to the event.

Related Stories:

The Tiaras and Pendant Earrings at the Met Gala

At Auction: Lady Kenneth Clark’s Calder Tiara

Is Jewelry Art?

Related Articles

Leave a Comment