Van Cleef & Arpels Zip necklace with extension, Paris, ca. 1955, in gold, rubies and diamonds, shown in both necklace and bracelet form, courtesy of a California collection, in “Set in Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels” at the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum
Versace may have whipped today’s fashionistas into a fever for silver zippers -- but Van Cleef & Arpels beat the designer to the punch more than 50 years ago, even ratcheting up the metal meshing motif with precious metals and gems. The 104-year-old Paris-based jewelry firm’s ingenious “Zip” necklace from ca. 1955 is but one highlight ofÂ “Set in Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels,” Feb. 18-June 5, 2011, at the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum up on East 91st Street and Fifth Avenue.