Sunday 10 July 2011

Daphne Guinness + her diamond glove armour

Contra Mundum ~ Latin for “Against the World” is a 5 year bespoke ‘glove’ project. A magnificent diamond glove by the creative spirit of a fashion icon and jewellery designer.

Over five years, Daphne Guinness in collaboration with Shaun Leane, created a white gold and platinum glove, studded with over 5,000 pavé white diamonds, set in the shape of a bird formation, and weighing over a thousand grams in 18ct white gold.

The Glove :: A diamond set armour-inspired piece

Striking diamond birds cascade around the arm, as though caught in mid-flight.

The hand is protected with a bold metal cuff, hand-forged and beautifully engraved.

Made in two parts, the cuff can be worn alone as a hand glove, or extended into an evening glove. Every detail in the piece, including the chainmail, has been carefully constructed by hand to ensure a perfect fit to Daphne’s arm. The glove was molded from Guinness’ own hand, and is a stylized armour made of precious metals, studded with gems.Delicate chainmail forms the foundation of this highly fantastical gauntlet; each ring looped in one by one to create an exact formation tailored to the individual. Striking diamond birds cascade around the arm, as though caught in mid-flight. Skilfully supporting the framework is a shimmering diamond branch that elegantly wraps around the upper arm. The hand is protected with a bold metal cuff, hand-forged and beautifully engraved. Birds are layered on the surface of the cuff amongst the sculpted branches. Carved in gold and set with diamonds, they soar among the delicate engraving as though liberated by the blowing wind. Made in two parts, the cuff can be worn alone as a hand glove, or extended into an evening glove. {Fashion Telegraph}

Five people worked on this piece, including Shaun – each craftsman was handpicked according to their fields of expertise. So it meant that, for example, the stone setter picked would have to hand set all of the 5000 pave diamonds. One craftsman looped each jump-ring by hand, one by one, to ensure a perfect fit to Daphne’s arm – this process has taken over half of the 5 years. {Fashion Telegraph}

Jay Jopling hosted an intimate evening in celebration of the completion of ‘Contra Mundum’ at White Cube Gallery. The exclusive launch was attended by Tom Ford, Suzy Menkes, Lily Cole, Livia Firth and Alexander McQueen’s Creative Director Sarah Burton.

Guests watched Daphne’s beautiful presentation of the piece

~ dressed in the bespoke glove and shrouded in white silk tulle, her lie-in state as her gloved hand lay over the tulle and rested on her upper-body and symbolised the concept of the objet d’art;

Sir Thomas Malory’s compilation of the legendary tales of the Knights of the Round Table.

As the evening drew to a close, guests were presented with a gift bag containing a solitaire diamond and a beautiful message signed by Shaun and Daphne as a remembrance of a beautiful summer evening. PR Web

Daphne Guinness was “laid in state” by Gareth Pugh to celebrate her collaboration with British jeweler, Shaun Leane. Daphne is no stranger to theatrical installations, but she outdid herself this time. In typical Guinness fashion she was laid out in a sheer Alexander McQueen bodysuit with an antique veil. The only exposed body part was her arm in a one-of-a-kind chain mail glove made of gold and diamonds.

This piece is for sale for 1.7 million dollars and is made of 18-carat white gold.

The background story {Fashion Telegraph}

In recent years, Guinness has developed a fascination with armour, and it was while she was out one night with McQueen and Leane that she decided to create some of her own.

‘We were at one of those enormous events where we were huddled in a corner going, “What are we doing here?” Anyway, I said, “Wouldn’t it be great to have some armour?” And so Shaun said, “All right, then.” And two or three weeks later, there I was, with my arm in a bucket.’

Once a cast had been taken of her arm, it took four years and many fittings to create the glove they have just completed. It started out as a straightforward commission, a bespoke piece of silver jewellery that Leane would create to fit Guinness’s arm exactly. But silver turned out to be too soft so they went for white gold, and as they added more and more to the piece – chain mail handmade to fit her arm completely, intricate articulated fingers, more than 5,000 diamonds creating decorative birds along the arm – it became a collaboration, funded and owned jointly by the two of them. Now that it is complete, it will be exhibited, then offered for sale.

For them it has become less a fashion item, more a work of art, something that pushes the boundaries of fine jewellery and symbolises their friendships with each other, and with Blow and McQueen, who was to design a spectacular dress to go with the glove. They have called it Contra Mundum: ‘It’s sort of us against the world. It’s about wanting to watch, but not wanting to be seen. I feel it’s a pact, if that makes any sense. And I’m not sure I could wear it to go out now, because it means too much.’

{Images 1. & 9. Photographer Nick Knight; 2-4 via Fashion Telegraph; 6-8 via Vitalic Noise}


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    One Response to “Daphne Guinness + her diamond glove armour”

    1. Myra Hudson says:

      I’m not really sure what the point is of this totally whimisical trinket or why it should warrant any attention apart from reinforcing the long held belief that perhaps the rich have more money than sense.


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