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].”
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For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion
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Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)