What’s it like to count the Duchess of Windsor (who also loved the House of Cartier) and Frank Sinatra as clients? If only we could ask Suzanne Belperron. Maybe best known for her ‘stones imbedded in stones’ designs, Belperron had a style all her own.
Born Madeleine Suzanne Vuillerme in 1900 in France, her artistic endeavors were encouraged as a child (thank God) by her eager parents. Early on in her academic career, her productions were award winners. Maybe a foreshadowing of things to come.
As a teen, she befriended Germaine Boivin, the daughter of René Boivin, and joined the firm as a modelist-designer. She had great success there, rising to the ranks of co-director (a rarity for a woman!). In 1924 she married Jean Belperron and together they moved to Paris, which was fortuitous for our young Suzanne. She resigned her position with Boivin in 1932 and worked at Bernard Hertz exclusively, more recognized (at the time) designer. But she was given free reign there and therefore earned her acclaim in her own right.
Just as a dressmaker would, she kept precise measurements of her clients fingers, wrists and necks and she often tailored an item to her customer’s facial structure or the shape of her hands.
Believing that her work spoke for itself, she never signed a piece, instead being known to say, “My style is my signature.” Her designs were distinctive and often easily distinguishable.
Sadly, as the age of 82, she died in a tragic accident in her bath in 1983. It was not long after that the Duchess of Windsor also passed, and many a Balperron design was auctioned off by Sotheby’s in 1987. Which Suzanne Belperron design is your favorite? Maybe one shown here. Maybe not. Either way, please share your thoughts with me in the comments.