Monday, 8 August 2011

David Webb AW11 Ad Campaign - Shot By Terry Richardson, Styled By Carine Roitfeld

David Webb's first ad campaign in over 20 years features Hungarian model Eniko Mihalik in a studio, trying on various jewels from Webb’s collection while biting the head of a Terry Richardson doll. Provocative? Yes. Bit strange? Yes. But it works.
Styled by Carine Roitfeld and photographed by Richardson himself - the campaign is designed to reintroduce David Webb jewellery to the world, but with a new "edge" while still retaining his signature style. Founded in 1948 in New York by Webb and accountant Nina Silberstein, his jewellery is best remembered for its bold, eye-catching designs which featured exotic animals, striking enamels and brilliant colours. The masterpiece which earned him his loyal following was a ring - the cabochon emerald - a gem sunk deeply within a pool of rock crystal held by baguette-cut diamonds; all on top of an engraved eighteen-carat gold shank. Such was his popularity at the time, that one of his devoted fans even requested her ashes to be sprinkled in front of his New York atelier!
Webb's jewellery was associated with socialites and movie stars including Elizabeth Taylor, The Duchess of Windsor, Gloria Vanderbilt and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who once referred to him as “a modern day Cellini.” Diana Vreeland - legendary Vogue and Harper's Bazaar editor - was also rarely seen without a black and white enamel zebra bangle by Webb, decorated with tiny diamonds over its mane and cabochon ruby eyes. Fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg also wore one of Webb's necklaces on the cover of Vogue in the 70s. 

After his death in 1975, Silberstein and her family continued the designer’s legacy, but in 2009, the firm filed for bankruptcy later selling it for eleven million dollars to estate jewellery specialists. Today, the brand has enjoyed a revival due to the endorsement of celebrities like Gwen Stefani and Jennifer Lopez
Mark Emanuel, one of the brand's new owners, said of the transformative effect of Webb’s creations: "The rich DNA found in his drawings is a marvel. His ability to create the perfect jewel, to transform shapes into wearable art, is remarkable. The opportunity to use these designs and create pieces that have never been made is incredible. And what hasn’t been done is just as intriguing as what has been produced."
The choice to engage Terry Richardson in re-launching such a long established luxury brand may be controversial, but this campaign is not afraid to embrace his risqué take on fashion from behind a lens. It's also a cleverly cool way to introduce Webb's opulent gems to a whole new fashion following. As Mark Emanuel concluded: "There were animal cuffs that were never made, which means the next generation will be able to buy pieces that their mothers didn’t have."


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