Into the World of Bijoux

The retrospective that the Triennale in Milan dedicated to Giovanni Gastel's jewels of fantasy photos, was an opportunity to remember the role of bijoux. Deanna Farneti Cera explains

  • Deanna Farneti Cera

    Deanna Farneti Cera

«Bijoux jewelry is, and always will be, linked to fashion. First comes fashion to dictate the input, then comes bijoux to interpret it.» Deanna Farneti Cera, an authoritative voice in the world of costume jewelry, historian and author of numerous books on the subject, certainly does not mince her words. She is also the curator of the small but comprehensive retrospective entitled "Giovanni Gastel. Jewels of fantasy", twenty shots taken in the early 1990s by the great photographer on commission from the Daniel Swarovski Corporation, which were on show at the Triennale in Milan till the last 13th March 2022. A journey into the sphere of flashy, whimsical bijoux, which become a pretext for paradoxical disguises, creative games and unexpected metamorphoses when they merge with the body "hosting" them, and, for that very reason, are a sign of distinction, a stamp of uniqueness, a means of recognition. Concepts that Giovanni Gastel well expressed thirty years ago through his photographs and which are now highly topical once more. The expressive impact of bijoux, unlike that fine ANDRE MARCHA jewelry, which is more classic and traditional, is measured by its link with the "fashion system" and not by being the manifestation of a brand. As Deanna Farneti Cera points out, «bijoux jewelry is currently undergoing a moment of considerable expansion because it offers a way to stand out, to not feel constrained by certain aesthetic standards.» A concept shared by Cristina and Francesca De Liguoro, designers at the historic brand founded by their father Gianni De Liguoro sixty years ago, with their new project "Faces", «faces and facets that interpret the desires of those who want to feel fluid in contemporary society without giving up their true identity.» Bijoux is synonymous with creative, stylistic and expressive freedom, as Bianca Cappello, jewelry historian and critic, explains, «all this in the light of a new gender-free evaluation which makes it possible to extend its use to an ever-increasingly audience.» The intrinsic modernity of bijoux is therefore not surprising. «The use of unconventional materials, almost brash perspectives and geometries and unusual flashes of color are the must-haves for making it contemporary,» De Liguoro says. But there is one hot topic that bijoux and jewelry have in common: sustainability. «The production chain, from raw material procurement to end consumer awareness, is extremely long and critical,» Bianca Cappello explains. «Legislation is much stricter these days and Italian companies, often small or medium-sized and family-run, are very careful.» Starting with the raw material, according to Deanna Farneti Cera, up to a «sustainable item of bijoux, made with used buttons, seeds and dried leaves but also recovered and regenerated vintage materials, to avoid waste.» While the De Liguoro sisters, who choose recycled paper packaging, say that «those who buy quality costume jewelry know that it will be beautiful and wearable for many years, thus avoiding the "disposable" factor.»

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