20th Anniversary ExhibitionCostume Jewelry Pioneers of Style   Chanel, Schiaparelli and Dior From the Chisako Kotaki CollectionClosed

Costume Jewelry Pioneers of Style   Chanel, Schiaparelli and Dior From the Chisako Kotaki Collection

Exhibition overview

A Glittering Symbol of Freedom

Costume jewelry may not incorporate gems and precious metals, but its striking designs, carefully coordinated with specific outfits, have captivated fashionistas for generations. Pioneered by Paul Poiret in the early 20th century and popularized by Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, these accessories became an essential component of the Parisian fashion scene before spreading across the Atlantic to the United States. This exhibition is the first in Japan to present a comprehensive history of costume jewelry, showcasing collection pieces from Dior and Schiaparelli and exquisite necklaces and brooches produced by preeminent jewelry houses on commission from such haute couture brands. Also on display are inventive pieces from European designers such as Line Vautrin and Coppola e Toppo and American-style costume jewelry from Miriam Haskell and Trifari, who popularized the style among people of all social classes. With over 400 pieces from the best collections in Japan, this exhibition explores how the artisans’ skillful manipulation of their materials produced works of stunning beauty.

October 7 Saturday - December 17 Sunday, 2023
10 a.m. - 6 p.m. (Open until 8 p.m. on Nov. 10, Dec. 1, Dec. 15, and Dec.16.)
Admittance until 30 minutes before closing time.
Wednesdays (Except for Dec. 13)
Adults: ¥1,200
Visitors aged 65 or over with valid documentation: ¥1,100
Students (High school and college): ¥700
Admission is free for children in middle school or younger. Admission is free for disability passbook holders and up to one accompanying adult. Click here to access the discount voucher page.
Panasonic Shiodome Museum of Art, Mainichi Shimbun
Chisako Kotaki
Special Adviser
William Wain (Costume jewelry researcher in London)
Academic Adviser
Deanna Farneti Cera (Costume jewelry researcher in Milan)
chisa、Sekai Bunka Publishing Inc.
Planning support
Curators Inc.
Ambassade de France / Institut Français du Japon, Minato City Board of Education

Exhibition Highlights

1.Collaborations between European couturiers and craftsmen

Bold or delicate, extravagant or dainty, modern or classic—every look dreamed up by an haute couture designer of costume jewelry was given shape by a gifted craftsman or artisan. Without these collaborations, European costume jewelry would never have achieved the exquisite beauty for which it is known.

2.Original, innovative costume jewelry elevated into works of art

This exhibition showcases a great number of accessories of unparalleled beauty, created by designers gifted with mastery over their materials and the skill to craft innovative forms. Highlights include works by Lyda Coppola, who favored the use of Venetian glass beads from her native Italy, and Line Vautrin of France, who began casting and sculpting metal in her studio at an early age. Each piece is nothing less than a wearable work of art.

3.Costume jewelry from the United States—more accessible, but just as beautiful

Across the Atlantic, it was the film industry that helped popularize costume jewelry, inspiring women around the United States to seek out accessories like those worn by their favorite Hollywood actresses. Among the most noteworthy US designers were Miriam Haskell, who used Venetian beads and imitation Japanese pearls in her elegant, refined necklaces, and Trifari, a company with Italian roots where Alfred Philippe, who had previously worked for a prominent Parisian jeweler, created elegantly designed and delicately crafted brooches and clips.

I. Trendsetters of Beauty: Costume Jewelry in Haute Couture

Costume jewelry refers to accessories made not from expensive materials such as precious metals and gems but from more affordable glass and metal, as well as the occasional semi-precious stone. These accessories—seen as a complement to and an essential element of a fashionable outfit rather than a symbol of wealth or status—were created by designers who used advanced techniques and carefully selected materials to achieve the pinnacle in design and wearability. This section introduces the role of costume jewelry in the world of European haute couture with an emphasis on 20th-century Paris and examines how each brand developed their own style of costume jewelry.

Paul Poiret, Mask and bracelets "Fond de la mer (The bottom of the sea)" produced by Madeleine Panizon,1919, glass beads and crystal glass on metallic tulle
The collection of Chisako Kotaki

II. A Movement Takes Root: Costume Jewelry in Europe

Greater numbers of haute couture houses began to deal in costume jewelry in the 1930s, with production increasing dramatically after World War II due to growing demand from the United States. Brands formed partnerships with artisan workshops, commissioning them to produce exclusive pieces. In this section, the exhibition introduces ateliers such as Coppola e Toppo and Roger Jean-Pierre, whose singular, refined talents produced many works of enduring appeal. Also presented are the poetic and entertaining works of Line Vautrin, who crafted each and every piece to be a miniature sculpture.

Coppola e Toppo, Choker ”Fire Works” designed by Lyda Coppola, 1968, crystal glass, glass beads, wire, metal
The collection of Chisako Kotaki

III. Mass Production in the New World: Costume Jewelry in the United States

Not long after Coco Chanel popularized costume jewelry among European women, their American counterparts began to take note. Parisian fashion introduced these accessories to the United States in the 1920s and ’30s, but thy soared in popularity and prevalence in the 1940s due to the influence of the Hollywood actresses who wore it. Also contributing to the ascent of this art form were the many talented jewelers of Jewish descent who emigrated to the United States around this time.

Miriam Haskell, Necklace designed by Frank Hess ,1950s, imitation pearls, citrine, glass paste, metal
The collection of Chisako Kotaki

Venetian Beads in Costume Jewelry

Costume jewelry often incorporates various forms of glass as decoration, and there is no more delicate and versatile glass in jewelry making than Venetian glass beads. Boasting a rich color palette of as many as 20,000 unique shades, Venetian beads can be used to create vibrant color combinations and dazzling gradients. Some Venetian beads, known as conterie, are as small as a poppy seed. The necklace and bracelet shown in this photograph are made of exceptionally beautiful Venetian beads. The eye is initially caught by the skillfully crafted color gradation, while a closer look reveals how the artist arranged the conterie beads to great effect.