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Zürich, March 19, 2021… It is with great sadness that the death of Elsa Peretti from natural causes was announced yesterday by her family office in Zurich and by the Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation. The designer, famous for her designs for high-end American jewelers Tiffany, died in a village near Barcelona, Spain, at the age of 80. His legacy includes a body of outstanding design work as well as a foundation dedicated to humanitarian, environmental and conservation causes. A true citizen of the world, her absence will be strongly felt in all the different circles where she has played such an active and creative role.
A pioneer designer
Elsa Peretti was born in Florence and educated in Rome and Switzerland. She then returned to Rome to pursue studies in interior design. By 1969 she had established herself as a model in New York and Barcelona and was also beginning to design her own jewelry.
American fashion designer Giorgio di Sant’Angelo used a few of his pieces in a fashion show, where they were an instant hit. The next day she was the star of New York. It was during this period that she met legendary American fashion designer and 70s icon Halston, who became her lifelong friend and with whom she frequently collaborated. Halston also introduced Elsa to American jewelers Tiffany & Co. in 1974, with whom she soon began working in an exclusive collaboration that was to last throughout her career.
His inspiration was often drawn from everyday objects – a bean, a bone, an apple could be made into cufflinks, bracelets, vases or lighters, scorpions and snakes were made into attractive necklaces and rings, often in silver that was one of his favorite materials. . She herself has said that “there is no new design, because good lines and shapes are timeless”, and indeed her pieces are as modern and wearable today as they ever were. summer.
Elsa Peretti’s designs are part of the permanent collections of the British Museum in London, England; The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts; and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas. In recognition of her remarkable work, Tiffany established the Elsa Peretti Professorship in Jewelry Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology, the first endowed professorship in FIT history. Among other accolades, the designer received an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from FIT in 2001. She also received the Coty American Fashion Critics’ Award for Jewelry in 1971 and the Rhode Island School of Design President’s Fellow Award in 1981. 1996, the Council of Fashion Designers of America named her Accessories Designer of the Year.
Elsa Peretti was known for her witty charm, openness to others, kindness and generosity. It had a deep humanitarian vocation and supported cultural, scientific and educational initiatives while committing itself to the defense of human rights. In 2000, she created a charity in honor of her father, the Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation. The Foundation supports a wide range of projects for the promotion of human and civil rights, with particular emphasis on the right to education, the rights of children and the rights and dignity of women. Proposals are solicited internationally and the Foundation has supported requests from around the world, including initiatives for unrepresented people and oppressed minorities, to defend their right to exist and preserve their culture. It also supports medical and scientific research projects to promote physical and mental health, as well as specific interventions, including the construction of hospitals and other health facilities. It has funded public awareness campaigns for wildlife conservation and environmental protection, and promotes culture and the arts. The Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation has funded more than 1,000 non-profit projects in more than 80 countries, for a total investment of more than 56 million euros.
Sant Martí Vell, his Catalan refuge
The small village of Sant Martí Vell in Catalonia has always been dear to him. In 1968, she bought a mustard yellow house there, which she lovingly restored over the next ten years and which has become her favorite residence in recent years. While living abroad, she later had whole sections of the village restored, acquiring and preserving other buildings, including the church, and supporting the excavation of Roman ruins and the recording of history. from the village. She has also created a working vineyard, which has been marketing fine wines under the Eccocivi label since 2008.
It has promoted the visual arts and favored the consolidation, protection and dissemination of the historical, artistic, cultural, architectural and artisanal heritage of Catalonia. In 2013, Elsa Peretti was the first non-Catalan to receive the National Culture Award from the National Council for Culture and the Arts (CoNCA).
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Elsa Peretti Holding S.A.
A few things people said about Elsa Peretti:
“She is one of the greatest jewelry designers of the 20th century and has taken us beyond the realm of commercial success in design history. She is a halo for the entire brand.” – Michael Kowalski former chairman and CEO of Tiffany and Co.
“Elsa brought out all of these things – the bone bracelet I remember best. Everything was so sensuous, so sexy. I just loved it. It was unlike anything I had ever seen, and I’d seen a lot of them. Since then, I’ve really only worn #Peretti jewelry. Liza Minnelli talks about Elsa, Vanity Fair, August 2014.
“She looks at the thing, but she just doesn’t look at it. She touches it, turns it over, back, front, side. To really hit the object she’s looking at, and that’s what stands out. Hiro talks about Elsa.
“She was the most unique, wonderful and chic woman I had seen in years. With that man’s hat and that wonderful gait…” Joe Eula on Elsa – Vogue Italia, 1996.
“She’s not from a locked culture, it’s all mixed up. It’s not American, it’s not European, it’s not Japanese, it’s Elsa. Hiro on Elsa from “25-year-old Elsa Peretti Retrospective” 1999.
“We believe that Elsa’s work is a continuing testament to the truth that quality design transcends fashion, the core of our company philosophy. She is one of the greatest jewelry designers of the 20th century and has taken us beyond the realm of commercial success in design history. She is a halo for the whole brand. Elsa’s work has a uniquely instinctive elemental magnetism. She is a design genius.” Michael Kowalski Former CEO of Tiffany and Co in an interview for How to Spend it.
“In Japan, they have an honor given to extraordinary individuals. If we were in Japan, and everywhere in the world, Elsa Peretti would have that honor. She would be considered an international living treasure. I am in awe of Elsa – I I’ve always been because she possesses the very rare combination of the most individual chic made even more individual by her simplicity, kindness and startling vision. She is a woman who has helped create a new notion of beauty for the rest. Ralph Rucci, designer, Lampoon Magazine, Maggio 2020.
“Elsa brought a new intensity, a new commitment, a new passion to our design focus.” Mike Kowalski Excerpt from “Elsa Peretti 25 years Retrospective” 1999.
“She’ll notice someone’s shoes. She notices something in a corner that you know most people wouldn’t notice, and she’ll notice and say, “Well, isn’t that beautiful? Look at this”… you know. She makes you see things. Liz Franceschini, from “Elsa Peretti 25 Years Retrospective” 1999.
“At Tiffany, we all feel a deep sense of loyalty to Elsa and she has always returned that loyalty. William Chaney, excerpt from “Elsa Peretti 25 years Retrospective” 1999.