24 comments / Posted on by Mamie Colfox

 

Vibrant, glamorous and bold are the first three words that come to mind when I think of Butler & Wilson’s extraordinary costume jewellery. Simon Wilson started his now buzzing business in 1968 at a market stall on the King’s Road, culminating in its very own store on the Fulham Road in 1972. Along with a shop on South Molton Street, they both still exist today and- unsurprisingly given the designer’s ongoing success- on much larger scales.

Thanks to Grace Coddington photographing Butler & Wilson’s pieces for a shoot with Ingrid Boulting in 1972, Wilson’s business began to rise to fame. “Three months later, we were featured over five pages [of British Vogue] and were inundated with customers”, says Wilson.

 

(Butler & Wilson 40th Anniversary, £75)

 Fast-forward ten years and huge billboards were covered in famous actresses and models wearing Butler & Wilson jewellery, including Jerry Hall, Faye Dunaway, Catherine Deneuve and   Bianca Jagger.

 These big names were very happy to pose for photographers like David Bailey, Terence Donovan and John Swannell in exchange for pieces of jewellery. Wilson’s designs have since been regular features in fashion magazines, from pieces such as large diamante chokers to Art-Deco inspired drop earrings.

To celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2009, a 200 full-page image book featured its most iconic shoots and pieces, with £10 from each sale donated to Breast Cancer Care.

The book has an astounding Willy Wonka-esque golden double-page, undoubtedly to continue, in Wilson’s own words, that “even at the beginning, we never did subtle”.

September 2019 marked their 50th anniversary, with the celebratory collection rejuvenating the crystal earrings and brooches that balanced out the 1980s power shoulders and wide lapels. The collection’s tailored wool coats, gold buttons and shiny cocktail frocks were the perfect accompaniments to its alluring crystal diamonds.

Butler & Wilson’s track record has continued to impress over the years, from providing glamorous sparkles to the likes of Strictly Come Dancing, Britain’s Next Top Model and The X Factor, to pop stars including Madonna, Kylie Minogue and Girls Aloud. Rihanna, Rita Ora and even the Duchess of Cambridge are its most current fans, with the Duchess spotted wearing one of its Swarovski diamond-encrusted daisy bracelets.

(Suzanne Syz: Art Jewels, £75)

Suzanne Syz's jewellery is equally as jaw-dropping but in an  entirely different way. After being educated in Paris, the  Swiss artist and designer moved to New York in the 1980s. She began moving in the same circles as Andy Warhol, Jean  Michel Basquiat, Francesco Clemente and Jeff Koons, all reflected in her brilliant colours, daring compositions and unpredictable materials, now trademarks of her work.

She began making jewellery when she couldn’t find any designs she liked herself: “I was questioning myself a lot, but I wore my jewellery and people were constantly asking about it”. Pricing ranges from 8,000-10,000

Swiss Francs and is distinguished by uniqueness, finish and attention to detail, with every piece made to order and no two items the same.

Her showroom in Geneva is decorated with violet (her signature colour), 1950’s- 1960s décor and pieces of her art collections, all coming together to give an oozing sense of luxuriousness. Materials range from traditional gems such as sapphires, diamonds and emeralds, to fine stones including spinels and tourmaline, combined with titanium, gold and enamel.

Her current dangling earrings, made from titanium and ceramic, were inspired by Andy Warhol’s famous “Campbell’s Soup Cans, with the iconic mini red and blue soup cans contrasting to the glamour of the earrings.

Elizabeth Taylor, Princess Gloria von Thurn and the Archduchess Francesca von Hapsburg-Thyssen are all fans of her work.

 

Vibrant, glamorous and bold are the first three words that come to mind when I think of Butler & Wilson’s extraordinary costume jewellery. Simon Wilson started his now buzzing business in 1968 at a market stall on the King’s Road, culminating in its very own store on the Fulham Road in 1972. Along with a shop on South Molton Street, they both still exist today and- unsurprisingly given the designer’s ongoing success- on much larger scales.

Thanks to Grace Coddington photographing Butler & Wilson’s pieces for a shoot with Ingrid Boulting in 1972, Wilson’s business began to rise to fame. “Three months later, we were featured over five pages [of British Vogue] and were inundated with customers”, says Wilson.

 

(Butler & Wilson 40th Anniversary, £75)

 Fast-forward ten years and huge billboards were covered in famous actresses and models wearing Butler & Wilson jewellery, including Jerry Hall, Faye Dunaway, Catherine Deneuve and   Bianca Jagger.

 These big names were very happy to pose for photographers like David Bailey, Terence Donovan and John Swannell in exchange for pieces of jewellery. Wilson’s designs have since been regular features in fashion magazines, from pieces such as large diamante chokers to Art-Deco inspired drop earrings.

To celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2009, a 200 full-page image book featured its most iconic shoots and pieces, with £10 from each sale donated to Breast Cancer Care.

The book has an astounding Willy Wonka-esque golden double-page, undoubtedly to continue, in Wilson’s own words, that “even at the beginning, we never did subtle”.

September 2019 marked their 50th anniversary, with the celebratory collection rejuvenating the crystal earrings and brooches that balanced out the 1980s power shoulders and wide lapels. The collection’s tailored wool coats, gold buttons and shiny cocktail frocks were the perfect accompaniments to its alluring crystal diamonds.

Butler & Wilson’s track record has continued to impress over the years, from providing glamorous sparkles to the likes of Strictly Come Dancing, Britain’s Next Top Model and The X Factor, to pop stars including Madonna, Kylie Minogue and Girls Aloud. Rihanna, Rita Ora and even the Duchess of Cambridge are its most current fans, with the Duchess spotted wearing one of its Swarovski diamond-encrusted daisy bracelets.

(Suzanne Syz: Art Jewels, £75)

Suzanne Syz's jewellery is equally as jaw-dropping but in an  entirely different way. After being educated in Paris, the  Swiss artist and designer moved to New York in the 1980s. She began moving in the same circles as Andy Warhol, Jean  Michel Basquiat, Francesco Clemente and Jeff Koons, all reflected in her brilliant colours, daring compositions and unpredictable materials, now trademarks of her work.

She began making jewellery when she couldn’t find any designs she liked herself: “I was questioning myself a lot, but I wore my jewellery and people were constantly asking about it”. Pricing ranges from 8,000-10,000

Swiss Francs and is distinguished by uniqueness, finish and attention to detail, with every piece made to order and no two items the same.

Her showroom in Geneva is decorated with violet (her signature colour), 1950’s- 1960s décor and pieces of her art collections, all coming together to give an oozing sense of luxuriousness. Materials range from traditional gems such as sapphires, diamonds and emeralds, to fine stones including spinels and tourmaline, combined with titanium, gold and enamel.

Her current dangling earrings, made from titanium and ceramic, were inspired by Andy Warhol’s famous “Campbell’s Soup Cans, with the iconic mini red and blue soup cans contrasting to the glamour of the earrings.

Elizabeth Taylor, Princess Gloria von Thurn and the Archduchess Francesca von Hapsburg-Thyssen are all fans of her work.

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