THE DUKE OF VERDURA

Posted on November 3, 2014 by Editorial Staff

Fulco di Santostefano della Cerda, Duke of Verdura, was a man destined to be a legend. Born in Sicily in 1899, he moved to France in 1927. While in Paris, he met Coco Chanel and designed for her fashion house a line of jewelry in precious stones. He became Chanel’s favorite. In 1937, he was in New York and designed jewelry for Hollywood stars: Greta Garbo, Katherine Hepburn, Joan Crawford. Not until 1937, he opened his first boutique in New York. Ten years later, his European atelier in Paris. In those years he met Salvador Dali, who encouraged him to design a surreal collection. Fulco’s creations were normally based on nature motifs. In the 1950s he created a series of seashells encrusted with gems. Gloria Swanson, Barbara Hutton, Diana Vreeland, Jackie Kennedy, Princess Grace of Monaco and the Duchess of Windsor were just a few of his more famous clients. His designs often featured in Vogue and other magazines. Despite such fame, he rarely sought publicity. Di Verdura was an exceptional visual artist. He never married. He died in London in 1978. He was survived by his family and his legacy: the tradition of a unique artisan.