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Silvie Koang FABERGE FANTASIES Thursday, December 6, 2012 Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large "Like the swan song of a dying civilisation" is the way that jewellers Fabergé desc... 5

FABERGE FANTASIES


Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large


"Like the swan song of a dying civilisation" is the way that jewellers Fabergé describe their quite unique place in history. There are few brands or products which can truthfully claim such a role in the books of human endeavour yet whenever anyone looks up Russia's last Tsar, Nicholas II, the name Peter Carl Fabergé won't be far away. The man who brought the Fabergé egg to the world created, unwittingly perhaps, what has become a universal symbol of wealth, uncompromising craftsmanship and luxury- a Fabergé egg takes a year to make, and an original (of which there are only thought to be 50 odd surviving) can now expect to fetch £10 million at auction. Nearly 100 years after The House of Fabergé was shut down by the Bolsheviks in the midst of the Russian Revolution, the brand is well and truly back in the game. Creative control, which was lost in a 1951 licensing deal, is back with the family. Katharina Flohr, formerly at Russian Vogue, is at the helm. The course of history has also turned back in Fabergé's favour, with the Russian super-rich ready to spend in a comparable way to the ostentatious purchases which funded the rise of the original Fabergé boom. In fact, the house is one of the very few to have an authentic sense of Russian heritage.
A newly finished Fabergé egg. It takes one year to craft one of these as each
 layer of enamel colour must be separately applied and fired, all in a precisely correct order
otherwise it can crack and be ruined.
Under Flohr's leadership, Fabergé is re-imagining their founder's craft for the 21st century. Earlier this year, she told Forbes that “Rather than reproduce pieces, we think about what Fabergé would be making today, what he was inspired by and what he could be inspired by.” When I visited the Fabergé boutique just off Bond Street last week, it was immediately apparent that they're not taking the route of many other big jewellers. Instead, it is almost like stepping back in time to a friendly salon. You are greeted not by some swanky marketing campaign but by a cuddly toy cat on a cushion. The floor is snugly carpeted and the staff are friendly in familiar rather than fake way but also supremely knowledgable. Of course, I was accompanied by Fabergé's lovely PR ladies so maybe that was something to do with the very welcoming feel. Nevertheless, if I was wanting to spend several hundred thousand, this place would would certainly make me feel like I was investing in something unique and almost otherworldly.

The Mauve Room at Alexander Palace (image via alexanderpalace.org)
Trying a Treillage ring for size
Fabergé's latest creation is the Treillage series, a super modern looking collection of quilted rings, pendants and earrings. Belle Epoque style, Romanov Palaces, Empress Alexandra's favourite Mauve Room and button back furniture are all design references for the collection, evoking the nostalgia of  Peter Carl Fabergé's time, with the signature egg shape featuring prominently. However these are not chintzy, fussy jewels but solid, heavy, simple pieces which could be worn every day and needn't hold all those historical reminders if you didn't really want to think about them. Fabergé is still an extremely exclusive brand; the prices in the boutique are quite breathtaking. For example I had the privilege of holding a newly finished egg which was retailing at £280,000. Gulp. By that measure, Treillage is new territory for Fabergé because it is only in the single figures of thousands and is available to buy online, the brand's first foray into internet retail although there are still only a handful of each design. What a story to wear on your finger...

Treillage Treats...



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