Kieselstein Cord - As So II
A New American Luxury
(As So II)
In 1973, two of the hottest names in American fashion came together for the first time when up and coming designer Calvin Klein accessorised his runway show at that year’s Coty Awards with Barry Kieselstein-Cord’s intricate sterling silver jewellery. By the end of the decade, these two innovators had helped to define a new kind of all-American luxury, ushering in an era of fashion that would resonate into the twenty-first century. Founded in New York in 1972, Kieselstein-Cord had quickly become a recognised luxury brand, infamous among the style elite for its distinctive jewellery, with whimsical designs reflecting on nature and the American landscape.
Barry Kieselstein-Cord’s overarching ambition was to establish an, “indelible American brand”. In 1976, the designer took the next step towards achieving that ambition when he created one of his most iconic and enduring pieces. Sculpted in sterling silver, the Winchester belt buckle was an instantly sought-after piece that introduced the concept of fashion’s hardware as jewellery, with a price point to match. Inspired by Kieselstein-Cord’s explorations of the American West, in the year of its release the Winchester appeared across a fourteen-page fashion editorial in US Vogue shot by the influential photographer Helmut Newton. In the twenty-first century, the much-imitated buckle is still gracing the pages of the world’s most revered fashion titles, including a recent cover story in Vogue Paris’ 1000th edition.
By 1979, Kieselstein-Cord was himself the recipient of a prestigious Coty American Fashion Critics Award. Collaborations with the seminal American designer Perry Ellis and the backing of stylish, high-profile figures including Diane Keaton cemented the brand’s reputation as a significant fashion force. This success allowed Kieselstein-Cord to experiment with new ideas and materials, as he introduced gold and precious gems to his designs. This experimentation would continue across the coming decades as the designer diversified into accessories, handbags, and furniture. Launched in 1997, the Kieselstein-Cord eyewear collection builds on the brand’s instantly recognisable design ethos, fusing playful themes and fauna inspired embellishments with beautiful materials and superior optical technology.
Originating from a heritage collection, As So II is an elegant, full acetate sunglass that gently wraps the face, channelling the classic glamour of so many 70s style icons. Intricate sterling silver alligators on the temples are signature motifs, unique to Kieselstein-Cord. That distinctiveness is accentuated by light gold detailing on the hinges, delicately engraved with the designer’s logo. The striking, two-tone colourway is part of the Latte series, with dark espresso on the frame front and temples contrasted with a soft, marbled cream on the frame’s reverse. Including the original sun lenses, the mint-condition frame is fully adaptable for RX requirements. As a vintage rarity, this beautiful sunglass is both a standout accessory for a twenty-first wardrobe and a fashion artefact infused with Kieselstein-Cord’s signature take on refined American luxury.