Kieselstein Cord

Kieselstein Cord - Harlot A

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Harlot 'A'

In the twenty-first century, Kieselstein-Cord is a both a heritage design institution and an innovator of all-American luxury with an influence spanning five decades at the forefront of fashion. When the pioneering jewellery and accessories designer Barry Kieselstein-Cord founded his company in 1972, his ambition was to create an “indelible American brand”. To make that ambition a reality, he modelled his inspired approach to business and design on the classical artisans whose lavish work adorned the court of the Sun King, King Louis XIV of France.  

Established in the 1662, the Manufacture Royale des Meubles de la Couronne was a sprawling complex of artists’ workshops assembled at the Hotel des Gobelins on the left bank of the Seine in Paris. Chosen from among the most gifted artists and craftsmen from France, Italy, Flanders and the Netherlands, were 250 painters and tapestry weavers, sculptors and cabinetmakers, silversmiths and metalworkers, mosaicists and embroiderers – all appointed for the sole purpose of creating the opulent furnishings needed to embellish the king’s residences, including the legendary Palace of Versailles. As Kieselstein-Cord explained to Ikon TV, his dream as a young designer was to create, “an atelier very much like one of the sun kings had, where you had the furniture, the baker, the candlestick makers, the jeweller, the coiffure, and the courtier all in one environment and they made these incredible things.”

By the close of the twentieth century, Kieselstein-Cord had diversified his collections, applying his whimsical natural themes and trademark sculpted embellishments to handbags, eyewear, tableware, bronze sculptures, scarves and furniture. This experimentation with form had begun early in his career, when, in the mid-70s, the young designer created a unique set of sterling silver candlesticks as a thank you to his collaborator, the influential New York designer Perry Ellis. As Kieselstein-Cord describes it, “We are probably the only luxury company in this country, because we make so many different products under the one luxury brand.”

Launched in 1997, the Kieselstein-Cord eyewear collection fuses superior materials with the latest innovations in optical technology to create classically beautiful frames. This is eyewear that continues to influence, both as vintage collectors’ items, and as a contemporary fashion inspiration. A vintage rarity, Harlot A is a characterful sunglass that combines Kieselstein-Cord’s trademark whimsicality with a streamlined, contemporary look. The sleekly rectangular and rimless frame is a visually distinctive shape, favoured by the new decade’s most cutting-edge style arbiters. Kieselstein-Cord’s trademark Alligator symbol appears as a sculpted titanium embellishment on the temples, while the acetate temple tips are studded with another of the designer’s seminal motifs, the star and crescent moon. Brightened by a warm and tonally resonant colourway, the frame front is characterised by the flawlessly finished metal bridge and end pieces, which flow into an elegant cut-away detail. Including the original sun lenses, but fully adaptable for RX requirements, this mint-condition sunglass epitomises Kieselstein-Cord’s defining take on all-American luxury.