Royal Adornments: A Gala from Harry WinstonDate: 08/18/2023
Here’s a sneak peak of Harry Winston’s latest jewelry designs, straight from Hotel Bel-Air’s presidential suite.
If you follow the world of jewelry, you likely already know that Harry Winston doesn’t shy away from creating luxurious jewelry suited for kings, queens, and famous celebrities across the world. The King of Diamonds (as he was known), and the jewelry house with that name, have certainly always been known as the place to get the finest precious gems and stones. That’s why I’m overjoyed to have witnessed first-hand what the Winston name still means ‘highest quality’ in the world of jewelry thanks to their latest release, a collection called “Royal Adornments”. And since I couldn’t find anyone else writing about this collection yet online, I just had to relay to you my incredible experience at HW’s latest jewelry gala in Los Angeles. May you be as captured as I was by these “Royal Adornments”, a truly spectacular vision of opulence for the 21st century!
Did You Know? Harry Winston has always had a nose for precious gems. For instance, when he was just 12 years old he found a two-karat emerald at a pawn shop and managed to buy it from the unknowing owner for just 25 cents. Soon enough, Winston sold his emerald for $800! Flash forward to 1952, and Winston was known to have the second-largest collection of precious jewels and gems, only surpassed by the British Monarchy themselves.
In 2022, I had the pleasure of enjoying a two-day event from Harry Winston celebrating their collection called “Majestic Escapes” at California’s famous Rosewood Hotel (which, as you can read here, was completely stunning in both presentation and product).
I’m sure you can then imagine how quickly I was tripping over myself to send off the RSVP when I received an invitation to attend their most recent event in June 2023! With the invite details including a call for formal attire, it was time to start breaking out my fanciest dresses for the jewelry exhibition, hosted at Hotel Bel-Air’s presidential suite, followed by a royal gala the next evening at the Getty Villa!
That’s right, Harry Winston’s people first booked Hotel Bel-Air’s most renowned suite to present a modern take on their “Adornments” series, a line which started with the Ultimate Adornments designs in 2012. Titled Royal Adornments, I feel this collection found the perfect backdrop against the wealth and prestige of not just California’s most historic hotel, but the most sought-after room in all of the state, complete with Spanish-style courtyard and infinity pool, high-vaulted ceilings with stunning light fixtures, and a grand piano.
I couldn’t believe I was standing where all kinds of famous guests have stayed, starting with Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, and Audrey Hepburn in the 1950s. The room has even been featured on album covers, for goodness sake! I have to say, this was really an outstanding part of the experience, knowing I was walking where they (and many other famous icons from this century) have walked, and danced, and fraternized. You can tell the whole place has its own abundant energy–as if everything is possible for those who step inside. It’s as if every royal, celebrity, and artist somehow left their own special mark on the room’s atmosphere, yet also somehow feels like walking into a warm and welcoming home. Just look at what King Charles said about it during his stay:
“I slept better in the Presidential suite of the Bel-Air than in any other hotel in the world!”
– King Charles III
For sure, I wanted to look as stunning and glamorous as Hepburn, Kelly, and Monroe did in their primes – which is why for the day-time showcase I ended up wearing gorgeous flower dress with feather red heels. Even all dressed up though, I couldn’t help but acting a bit like a kid in a candy store. I tried on everything Harry Winston’s team brought to share, feeling almost like royalty myself bejeweled in diamonds and precious gems fit for a queen–and perhaps worn by one, too! I loved how the attendants and security team shared in my excitement as I admired each piece up close, alongside other guests who were equally as excited! As I made small talk with others around the room – friends, acquaintances, and strangers alike – it seemed we could all agree that no other jeweler can combine elements of subtlety and extravagance into one incredible, cohesive piece of art. Just see for yourself:
As you can see from the photos above, each of the pieces in this collection represent the same styles as famous jewels worn by iconic monarchs across the globe. For example, the collection features a simple, yet refined yellow-diamond necklace to pay homage to the Duchess of Windsor, who was especially passionate about that color of diamond. It also showcases a sapphire neckpiece called the Princess Suite, which references an early design for a young royal princess Hary designed in 1977, while a set of rare pink and salmon conch pearls is reminiscent of Dame Elizabeth Taylor who wore the first iteration of this now-timeless design during her height of fame.
The most stunning thing about this collection, I think, is the way it highlights the spirit of refinement that has stayed with Harry Winston’s name for over 90 years—as well as the way it represents his relationship with members of the world’s leading royal dynasties. He did, after all, create adornments that are still prized by the legacies for which they were first made. In this way, the Royal Adornments collection “celebrates royal jewels of the past with sophisticated pieces for the present.” And truly, wearing each piece felt as if the jewelry in that moment became a part of me, and that I became royalty myself…which is I think exactly what Harry Winston would have wanted!
“If I could, I would attach the diamonds directly onto a woman’s skin.”
– Harry Winston
As the event wound down, I took a ‘last’ look at some of my top favorites from the event before leaving, and made a few notes about what I love best about these designs. That way, I can keep my eye out for similar styles from previous Winston collections while I wait for Royal Adornments to officially be released. Back at home that evening, I was already deep into my closet, planning my outfit for the next night’s reveal gala. Knowing I needed a good night’s rest, I went to bed early, my thoughts sparkling with diamonds.
The Getty Villa
Still buzzing with the previous day’s extravaganza, I took my time getting ready the next evening knowing the night would be like no other. It’s not often I get the chance to show off some of my more daring pieces, and this would be the perfect event to do so (especially since there were rumors that a well-known celebrity artist would be performing at the event!). It almost goes without mentioning, too, that the Getty Villa has its own story of prestige that accents the luxury of Harry Winston quite well. Surrounded by a collection of over 1400 Greek, Roman, and Etruscan relics (of which there are a total of about 40K in storage or on rotation) dating all the way back to 6,500 BC, guests (myself included) could really get a sense for the timelessness of each of the pieces we’d seen the day before.
Seriously, if you ever have the chance to go, I really recommend making a day of the visit through all four massive gardens, with the Pacific Ocean only 100 yards from the Villa’s front door!
Did You Know: The man who funded the development and build of the Getty Villa Museum never got to visit the museum himself. Nevertheless, when he died the Museum inherited over 600 million from his estate to keep the museum open to the public!
As for what I was wearing…
…you should have seen the look on my husband’s face when I walked out in full regalia, donning a gorgeous, floating pink number straight out of the latest fantasy novel. I am so honored to own this dress, as it was hand-made by the wonderful Le Q’ua Atelier, and is absolutely one of a kind! I also decided to splurge and had my hair and makeup done professionally for the night, thanks to Beauty by Michel Lev. I swear, I was so done up in splendor I barely recognized myself!
Still, the effect was awesome when I walked into the event and saw so many other gorgeous attendees in their own special styles. I could tell everyone had put such special effort into looking their best, and I made sure they knew it, sharing compliments with each other during cocktail hour as we enjoyed the soft sounds of 25 violinists playing all around in the Villa courtyard by the pool. I stopped at one moment, listening to the different sounds of conversation and laughter reflected along the stone columns and pools, and remember feeling – as I always do when life is full of pleasure – just how lucky I am to be able to experience such riches.
Soon enough, all of us were escorted inside to our tables, where our menus awaited embossed with our own names at the top. It was quite the experience to enjoy such fabulous food all done up in my celebrity best, yet it felt like the menu absolutely called for such a fancy occasion and atmosphere.
There was a little gem salad to start and the choice of Pacific halibut with lobster brandade or braised Wagyu beef cheeks with wild mushrooms and pearl onions, all capped off with a themed dessert called “Jewelry Box”, which included everything good about dessert, including chocolate, hazelnut, praline, and cherry! The band played softly as conversation mingled with the clinking of cutlery, and I shared some great exchanges with the other guests at my table, who were just as keen as I was to learn who would be performing as our special guest.
As the dessert course came to an end (I swear, some of the guests were holding back from licking their plates clean, it was so good!), we were happily surprised to find out that the celebrity performer was Gwen Stefani!
I couldn’t believe that it was possible to be even more dizzy, but listening to her sing (while she was wearing my favorite pattern, polka dots, wouldn’t you believe it!) absolutely sent me over the edge. This is a woman I’ve known to challenge every stereotype there is about femininity, who shows with everything she does how it’s possible to be both graceful and edgy, punk and pretty. I assure you my heart was beating so fast in awe at being so close to her; plus it was such a small crowd, it truly felt as if the concert were a gift from her directly to us. If you’re reading Gwen, thank you SO much for sharing your voice and expression! I won’t forget it.
Eventually, after the concert, the evening winding down, my guests and I made our way slowly out past the grand entrance, the pools, the gardens, and back to our cars, waving goodbye until next time. Still floating in my pink dress, I truly feel I know just how Cinderella must have felt leaving the ball she didn’t want to leave…the evening seemed so out of this world, it was like a fairytale come true. It was like being transported to a magical setting where anything is possible, and I didn’t want it to end.
Home Again, Thinking of Harry
Well, all good things must end, and that evening did. Still, it’s been a few weeks since the gala and big reveal, and I am still in a daze remembering that evening. I am also just so so happy I can share my wonderful night with you, too!
In closing, then, I want to acknowledge that it’s truly a privilege that I’m healthy enough to say yes to these events, and RSVP without total fear of relapse due to chronic Lyme. Each and every day I can go out into the world is a blessing, so when days come like those two days as a guest of Harry Winston, I want to hold on and never let go.
With that, here’s hoping we both have many more days of abundance ahead. I want for you all the extravagance you deserve, far beyond the extravagance I experienced in such a short time! So, as I’m still dreaming of Harry Winston’s designs and diamonds, I hope you are dreaming of (and getting your own) diamonds, too!
Sending all my love, until next time,
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