Frazier History Museum

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Magnificent Mona Bismarck
Kentucky Style Icon

March 15, 2018 - July 29, 2018

Famous for her trademark silver hair, aquamarine eyes, and uncompromising sense of fashion, Louisville Kentucky native Mona Bismarck was the first American to be declared the Best-Dressed Woman in the World, a distinction bestowed upon her in 1933 by luminaries from the world of Haute Couture. Featuring over 80 pieces from Mona’s personal collection of couture fashions, the exhibition includes iconic garments by Cristobal Balenciaga, Madeleine VionnetHubert de Givenchy and fine jewelry by Belperron and Verdura. One of the most photographed socialites in her day, this show will feature extensive images, commissioned by Vogue from photographers of note, SteichenHorst and her dear friend, Cecil Beaton along with personal portraits by artists Salvador Dali and Savely Sorine, that hung in Mona’s homes throughout the world.

The show will span five decades of Mona’s personal couture beginning in her Golden Years of the 1930s and concluding in the 1970s upon her retirement from the public spotlight.

For more information see the press release.

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Special Mona Bismarck Programming

The Artistry of 20th Century Jewelry Design: Verdura and Belperron Ward Landrigan, Verdura Chairman and CEO

April 18, 2018
6:30-7:30 Gallery open / 7:30-8:30 Lecture

Jewelry authority, Ward Landrigan shares the remarkable history of two master jewelers, Duke Fulco di Verdura and Suzanne Belperron, and their emergence onto the world scene in 1920s and 30s Paris.  

Former head of Sotheby’s jewelry department and owner of the Verdura and Belperron archives, Mr. Landrigan will discuss the inspirations, influence and remarkable clientele of these twentieth- century master jewelers who led parallel careers time-wise but whose lives, aesthetic and legacies were markedly different.  Despite unique styles that evolved a world away, Verdura and Belperron became sought after by the same influential international clientele, including Mona von Bismarck, Daisy Fellowes, Elsa Schiaparelli, the Duchess of Windsor, and Diana Vreeland. 

The worldly bon vivant Verdura (1898-1978) began his career as jewelry designer for Coco Chanel. His reimagining of her personal jewelry to suit her more casual style shattered the status quo by breaking away from the popularity of platinum and diamond jewelry in favor of gemstones pressed into yellow gold.  Later making his way to the Hollywood and finally New York, Verdura established himself as an cosmopolitan “society” jeweler, known for his ideal balance between restraint and flamboyance, sophistication and accessibility.

Elegant yet enigmatic, Suzanne Belperron (1900-1983) marked a stark contrast to the social and witty Duke. After beginning her career as designer and co-directress of René Boivin, she left in 1932 to pioneer her own aesthetic in jewelry:  sensual, tactile and arrestingly modern. Asked why she never signed her jewelry, she replied “My style is my signature.”

Tickets: $12 general admission | FREE to members of the Frazier Museum. 
Price includes light refreshments.
There will be a cash bar on site. 

Tickets for this event are no longer available on-line.
Please call 502-753-5663, and also note that Walk ups are welcome!