PARIS — For the past 60 years, Gilbert Albert has been crafting one-off jewelry pieces in his discreet Swiss atelier, nearly unnoticed by the press and known only to industry insiders.
That is, until December, when the 85-year-old Geneva native opened a lavish three-story unit at 43 West 57th Street in New York.
Now, undeterred by the slow economy or the recent string of diamond heists on both sides of the Atlantic, Albert has inaugurated his first Paris boutique on the ritzy Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré smack in front of the presidential palace — with a little help from a friend, the Canadian-Iranian investor Majid Pishyar.
“It is an excellent place for us in terms of security,” said Pishyar, whose holding company 32Group snapped up the Gilbert Albert brand in 2010. “I have known [Albert] for 30 years, and all this time I was wondering why people don’t know about him.”
The roles in the business are well assigned. “He is an artist, he just wants to create,” Pishyar said. “My mission is to let other people know about him. This is a challenge, especially these days, but I always swim on the opposite side of the river, and it always [works]. I want to do it fast, because I’ve done my homework.”
Pishyar plans to open three more Gilbert Albert stores later this year — in London, Monaco and Cannes, France.
“The time is right; I have to keep his name alive,” said Pishyar about the jeweler, who has scooped up 10 Diamonds International Awards over his career, and is particularly appreciated for his unique use of materials, which combine precious stones with more exotic ingredients such as meteorites and fossils.
To ensure the brand’s longevity, Gilbert Albert’s successor is already waiting in the wings — it’s Pishyar’s daughter Mojdeh, who was trained by Albert.
Although the investor would not divulge sales figures, Pishyar said he was upbeat about the brand’s financial future. “Even in this moment, as the economy is down and we are in expansion [mode], we are doing great,” said the chairman of 32Group.
The Gilbert Albert brand currently comprises two lines: a couture collection with one-off items retailing for up to $5.5 million, and a line of rings, earrings and pendants with interchangeable stones from $3,000 apiece. “It’s a business model I’ve been creating,” said Pishyar. “This gives a chance to a younger generation to experience the [brand].”
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty