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].”
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion