An exclusive selection of stunning and sophisticated pieces from the legendary David Webb was available for the first time in Canada (and only for two days) at Holt Renfrew this past weekend.
An advance VIP event was held at The Apartment in Holt Renfrew, the exclusive private shopping concept that launched this past June, with live models, and multiple displays which captivated attendee’s hearts and imagination with a clarity of vision and luxurious heft of the jewellery.
The famed American jewellery designer may have passed in 1975 but his archive of 40,000 sketches reside in the capable hands of estate jewellers Mark Emanuel, Sima Ghadamian, and Robert Sadian, who purchased the legacy in 2010.
Beginning in the 1940s and over a 27-year span of production, David Webb produced one-of-a-kind pieces continuously inspired by the glorious animal kingdom with the black and white beauty of the zebra immortalized in the company logo. Other favourited motifs were sleek felines, whimsical sea creatives, burgeoning flora, and stately heraldic crosses, all realized primarily in colourful enamel, brilliant diamonds, gemstones, and 18K yellow gold.
The house created elaborate and bold pieces which have graced the likes of both Hollywood royalty and social and style icons, including Elizabeth Taylor, Andy Warhol, Jackie Kennedy, and Diana Vreeland. More recently Nicole Ritchie, Sophia Vergara, Rihanna, and Salma Hayek are now discovering the power of these intricate works and wearing them on red carpets and in editorials.
Taking a note from master jewellers – Faberge, Cellini, and others who viewed the creation of jewellery as art and not a commodity – Webb incorporated the aesthetics patterns and symbols of ancient cultures resulting in designs that were and are continually highly sought after all the while retaining their value. This approach established the David Webb boutiques in the United States as destinations for statement jewellery purchasing.
In 2017, David Webb pieces are available at two locations only – Madison Avenue in New York and Beverly Hills in Los Angeles. The Trunk Show at Vancouver’s Holt Renfrew was the first to happen in Canada and Mark Emanuel could not have been more pleased with the timing and presentation. With Vancouver being home to a plethora of international luxury brands and as an established base for the world’s wealthy, launching the first trunk show on the West Coast made sense.
When I asked Emanuel how the company will move forward from the current collection, he replied that to move forward they only needed to look back. With the immense archive of the David Webb’s creations at their fingertips, they have all the ‘sheet music’ required to continue creating such items of beauty for future generations.
David Webb pieces will always be the original. His influence continues to be felt and with the resurgence in vintage everything, traditional auction houses and online re-selling portals are offering heirloom pieces to devoted fans who are more than willing to pay dearly for a piece of art and American history.