JEWELS IN THE ROUND: While some designers prefer to edge into New York to see what business they might reap, Massimo Palmiero dove right in, showcasing his jewels Wednesday night at the Guggenheim Museum.
Eleven dark-haired models in sleeveless black dresses and long satin gloves helped show off his Calix one-of-a-kind jewelry. Entwined around a black circular banquette in the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed rotunda, their circular display mirrored the building’s iconic skylight 90 feet above. While guests like Gabby Karan and Gianpaolo De Felice circulated, the company’s namesake spoke of how spherical designs have been integral to his work for years.
Admiring the Guggenheim’s winding path, Palmiero said, “I like the architecture and I like this design. I have been doing this spiral design for more than 15 years [leafing through a book of his work to illustrate that point.] The shape is something you see in my work. But everything that I am showing is new. Everything here tonight is one-of-a-kind pieces.”
Not interested in opening stores or opening retail accounts, the Italy-based Palmiero hosted a cocktail party to attract new clients. The fact that the Italian actress Monica Bellucci, a longtime client, was recently photographed in a magazine wearing Calix jewels was further incentive to explore the New York scene. In addition, while he has quietly worked privately since 1985, his existing clients have been bringing a steady stream of new ones to his atelier.
In Rome, his own atelier does not have a storefront or any sign indicating there is a jeweler behind the front door. There, he works and sells his jewelry, which is priced on a case-by-case basis with some items retailing up to $10 million. “I love New York, because it is an international city where people from all over the world come. It’s not completely American. I can reach an international crowd,” he said.
Palmiero wasn’t downcast about Roma’s loss to Liverpool in the previous night’s Champion League semifinals. “The ball is round. It keeps rolling,” he shrugged.
He may have been more wound up years before since Palmiero pals around with Roma’s former owners. Another friend of the Calix founder, Claudio Lotito, owner of Lazio, and his son Enrico were in the Guggenheim crowd. Another well-known Italian offspring, Francesca Leone, whose filmmaker father Sergio is credited with creating the “Spaghetti Western” genre, also attended Wednesday’s event. “They came because they are not only friends but also clients,” Palmiero said.