Go inside the worlds of art, fashion, design, and lifestyle.
“Fashion Jewelry: The Collection of Barbara Berger” opened last week at the Museum of Art and Design (MAD). Sponsored by Miriam Haskell, the exhibition also celebrates Haskell’s partnership with MAD and her donation of the 1950s Pearl Grape Cluster necklace to the permanent collection.
A truly one-of-a-kind exhibition, the Berger installation features over 450 necklaces, bracelets and earrings, by designers such as Lanvin, Missoni, Miriam Haskell, Oscar de la Renta, Chanel, and Yves Saint Laurent, and is but a fraction of the much larger collection that Berger has amassed throughout her life.
Berger, who was present last week for the show’s preview, revealed that she loves fashion jewelry because of the joy and fantasy that it brings. In her eyes, one does not go out looking for fashion jewelry, but must happen upon it. She said that, “To talk about collecting costume jewelry is to talk about life, style, heart, and passion. Collecting is a treasure hunt, and completing my collection has been one of the highlights of my life.”
Despite the difference in materials, fashion jewelry requires the same craftsmanship and attention to detail as anything you might buy from Cartier or Harry Winston. In fact, looking at the backs of the pieces was nearly as jaw-dropping as looking at them from the front. The experience was comparable to peeking inside of a tabernacle. The viewer expects the grandeur of the façade, but it is the level of detail that is perhaps most striking.
As understood by Coco Chanel and, of course, Berger, costume jewelry is not about budget, but about beauty and personal fancy. As Berger said, “My collection features what’s interesting to me—extraordinary, unique designs imbued with fantasy and a sense of humor.”