Paloma Picasso is the youngest daughter of 20th-century artist, Pablo Picasso and painter/writer Françoise Gilot. Her own artistic career began in 1968 when she became a costume designer in Paris. After her rhinestone necklace designs, crafted out of inexpensive flea market finds, gained recognition and admiration from critics, she enlisted in jewelry classes to hone her skills. Soon Yves Saint Laurent tapped her to design accessories for his collection. By 1971 Paloma was working for the Greek jewelry company Zolotas.
John Loring, senior vice-president of Tiffany & Company, noticed Paloma’s talent for lavish, bold pieces, and asked her to create a line for the company. Paloma had always wanted to design for the American firm and quickly accepted, eager to have a venue that appealed to a wider audience. Paloma told the New York Times, “I went into all the great jewelry shops of Paris. They are so grand, the salespeople seem to look down on you. As a customer you feel threatened. Tiffany is a great place because all kinds of people come in, just like Woolworth's.” Her pieces for Tiffany & Co. priced from just over $100 to $500,000 were meant to appeal to a variety of shoppers. Her designs mixed color and varying gemstones incorporated into bold designs. The dove symbol, and the color red have become Picasso’s signature look. Loring said of her designs “Paloma has taken the gaudiness out of jewelry but kept the glitter.” Tiffany & Co.’s President, Henry B. Platt, noted the legendary aspect of the Picasso name, “for the first time, people can hold a Picasso in their hands and try it on.”
Paloma strives to create jewelry with longevity and timelessness more permanent than the quickly changing “superficial” trends of fashion. Her own sense of personal style, flare for glamour, and unabashedly lavish scale gained her instant recognition as jewelry’s newest star. Picasso’s early collections spotlighted her love of vibrant colors and bold design, using fiery orange opals and pink tourmalines as well as “Scribbles,” “Graffiti,” and “X’s” in her designs.
On January 12, 2010 Palmoma Picasso and Tiffany & Co. marked their 30 year collaboration with three new collections. The new lines played on her earlier uses of graffiti and scribbles, and incorporated Moroccan grid patterns to create what she called the “Marrakesh” collection. She also revisited and updated popular designs from her past collections, including an airier hammered gold and silver take on her “paper chain” designs, and has continued to use bold strokes of color and her signature red. Paloma Picasso’s designs continue the Tiffany & Co. tradition of fine craftsmanship and design paired with eye catching statement jewels.
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