Monday, August 29, 2011

Snakes Alive at Lalique or Tempting Savoir FAire

Lalique, the expensive, ubiquitous, famed master glass maker famed for their fabulous glass, crystal, perfume and jewellery has had a fascination for snakes in their long history. Lalique and their slippery serpents have tempted me for years.

I love it when companies such as Lalique constantly delve into their company’s archives to update designs to reinterpret them for a changing customer base. Birds hiding amidst twisted foliage, snakes coiled around trunks of trees . . . fern-crooks . . . feathers . . . scarabs . . . naiads swimming . . . knights in full armor. ...have all had a place in past and current Lalique designs.

Starting off making jewellery with fabulous art nouveau designs Rene Lalique moved to the production of glass objects after the WW1. His company produced an array of items, from decorative pieces for the home through to light fittings and panels for ocean liners.

Snakes have been a theme in jewelry since, well since people started making jewelry. Every culture and every generation has translated this creature into rings, earrings, pins and bracelets. Lalique carried this over to his glassware producing and an amazing array of vases and perfume bottles with the snake as a main decorative feature.

Objects of fashion such as the evening bag below were not exempt from this decorative treatment. Lalique’s use of fighting snakes as guardians for the contents of a purse references not only the temptation of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, but the general mood of titillation that was central to Art Nouveau. The work’s realism is underscored by the slippery-looking snake skins embroidered into the bag’s surface with silver thread.

The snake has been updated in Lalique’s portfolio in these serpent pendants with onyx and carnelian stones and other fashionable pendants for the woman with a bit of individual style.

However perhaps the ultimate was the release in December 2010 of theSerpent Necklace, based on an original René Lalique design dating back to 1898. This one-of-a-kind necklace, shaped like a coiled serpent and studded with diamonds and emeralds, pays homage to the 150th anniversary of René Lalique’s birth by bringing his original design to market now for the first time. The Serpent Necklace, a fine example of Lalique’s commitment to craftsmanship today, required more than 700 hours of work.

Are you tempted yet?
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