Butterflies and birds of paradise an inspiration for high-end bling amid the birdcages

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 April, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 April, 2010, 12:00am

The fancy dress set were decked out on Tuesday to preview French jeweller Van Cleef & Arpels' latest high collection at the Grand Hyatt. The name of the baubles is called Papillons, which is French for butterfly, and the fluttering creatures were the inspiration for some colourful and pricey brooches, earrings, pendants and necklaces that reach well into six figures.

From our perspective though, the branding seemed a bit confusing because the ballroom stage was spotlighted with three empty birdcages. Surely, no one is silly enough to keep butterflies in a birdcage? It turns out the cages were to represent another collection unveiled earlier in the year called Oiseaux de Paradis (bird of paradise) from which display models also wore selections from. Ah, that would explain the room's walls decorated to resemble an art deco rainforest.

'There's always a nature theme,' a Van Cleef & Arpels rep said of their jewellery. Alrighty. I decided to keep to myself the thought that birds of paradise don't really belong in cages either. Actually, the cages on stage bring to mind an old Dustin Hoffman/Steve McQueen movie where they play prisoners trying to escape from a cruel French colony jail. That film was also called Papillon.

Oh mon dieu. That's probably not the image the Van Cleef & Arpels executives in Paris had in mind for their bling. Fortunately, the company's French chief executive who was supposed to fly in for the reception didn't make it due to the flight cancellations in Europe.