In the Market Report

A Cross To Bear

Vintage Chanel gripoix glass cross pendant

I must confess: I have an affinity for crosses that borders on the obsessive, going back as long as I can remember. And while I recognize and appreciate their obvious religious symbolism, since I am Jewish, it is about spirituality rather than religion; their iconography; and of course aesthetics — namely, their classic lines and innate symmetry. I personally gravitate towards Maltese and Byzantine crosses: specifically, hard to find vintage Chanel gripoix glass cross pendants, and anything from Verdura ( The storied house was established in 1939 by Fulco di Verdura, a Sicilian duke who began his career as Coco Chanel’s head jewelry designer. Verdura’s Byzantine cuffs were sartorial signatures of both Coco Chanel and Diana Vreeland, both of whom literally armored them to their wrists, and they are at the top of my bucket list.

Diana Vreeland wearing her Verdura Byzantine cuffs, photographed by Horst
P. Horst, 1979

In addition to iconic vintage pieces, I must make note of two notable collections, which specialize in bold, unique, statement making cross pendants, and they appeal to me for different reasons. Darren Manes, a talented, painter/artist who has a graduate degree in architecture, creates one of a kind Byzantine and Maltese cross pendants which are punctuated with large stones and are hand crafted from vintage component pieces. They range in price from about $575 to $650 and have the ancient look of something one might unearth during the course of an archaeological dig. They are only available through Sheri Weiss, Sheri’s Vintage Collections, Showplace, 40 West 25th Street, N.Y. 10010, Gallery 30 (; email:

Verdura Maltese cross hinged stone cuffs

In a very different vein is the clean, minimal modern, feminine simplicity of Lisa Jackson’s LJ Cross (, which launched this past February at a cocktail party held at Phoenix Rose, 944 Madison Avenue, where they are sold exclusively. It was hosted by Marcia Mishaan, Patrick McMullan, Marisa Noel Brown, Helen Shifter, and Dayssi Olarte, and among the guests were designers Tory Burch, Nicole Miller, Dennis Basso, and Vera Wang. FYI, Vera and Lisa, who share the same “modern design aesthetic”, have been best friends for over 20 years (she was actually Vera’s interior designer), and Vera is one of Lisa’s biggest fans and supporters.

Darren Manes cross pendants

Lisa, who had her own successful design company where she designed furniture, was inspired to do crosses because of her late brother Stephen who “had the chicest style and always wore multiple crosses” and she sees the cross symbol as being “less about religion and more about a peaceful harmony she hopes will unite people”. Fashion forward and innovative, her crosses (which can be described as both girlie and cool) are comprised of 18K white, yellow and rose gold (she especially love diamonds) with prices ranging from $1,200 to $50,000 (depending on the material used and the scale). For more information, contact Tony Lucinacci, Sales Director,, 212 433 1905.

Lisa Jackson attends the Parrish Art Museum
summer gala 2014

In the meantime, Lisa proved that she is in fact, her own best advertisement. She attended the Parrish Art Museum Summer Party in Southampton a few weeks ago and clad in her signature New York minimalistic all black style, her only accessory was her XL Silver Quartz Cross at the Parish necklace (the retail price is $15,000), and it truly stood out. There is no more effective way to show off a great piece than to wear black. Speaking of which, while wearing a beloved accessory should theoretically bring one great pleasure, it’s hard NOT to associate black and crosses, with death and mourning.

“Death Becomes Her A Century of Mourning Attire”
(Courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art)

And coincidentally, that is precisely the subject of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s upcoming Costume Institute Exhibition (their first fall installation in 7 years). “Death Becomes Her, A Century of Mourning Attire” October 21, 2014 – February 1, 2015, “will explore the aesthetic development and cultural implications of mourning fashions of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries”. Organized chronologically from 1815 to 1915, approximately thirty ensembles (including mourning gowns worn by Queen Victoria and Queen Alexandra, many of which are being exhibited for the first time), will reveal the impact of high-fashion standards on the sartorial dictates of bereavement rituals as they evolved over a century.

Given fashion’s ongoing obsession with black and Victoriana, I predict exhibition will be a big hit: let’s face it, many fashion followers who only wear black look as though they are in perpetual mourning.

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Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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