Bold Color and Drama Expected for Met Gala Jewelry

Met Ball Preview - David Webb  - Publicity-H 2019
Courtesy of Subject

Boutiques and jewelry suites have been welcoming stylists to coordinate over-the-top gems for Monday night.

“We’re booked every 45 minutes,” says Ginnina D’Orazio of an appointment schedule that kicked off last Thursday and shows no signs of slowing before Monday afternoon.

As president of D’Orazio & Associates, the New York-based public relations firm that works with a variety of red carpet-friendly jewelry designers, D’Orazio is no stranger to pairing pricey gems with high-wattage stars. Ariana Grande wore diamond studs by Los Angeles-based Harry Kotlar, a D’Orazio client, at the 2018 Met Gala, while Rihanna and Lady Gaga likewise have been seen in the brand’s Classico 7-carat, round, brilliant diamond studs. While simple in design, the quality of the stones push their price tag into the stratosphere: they’re valued at more than $117,000.

“Simple,” however, is not a word that’s been heard often in conversations this past week between jewelers and stylists as preparations for Monday night’s Met Gala shifted into high gear. “Stylists have definitely been calling in more exclusive and archival pieces, and our clients also have been making more custom designs,” D’Orazio says. “This is the first year I’ve seen requests for larger, over-the-top pieces, definitely more so than past Met Galas.”

With a client list that’s decidedly global — aside from Kotlar, her roster ranges from London-based Anabela Chan and Brazilian designer Fadua Hueb to Hanut Singh and Jaipur Gems, both based in India — D’Orazio typically shows these and other jewelers in her Midtown Manhattan offices, but this year decided to create a dedicated suite above Hueb’s flagship boutique on New York’s Upper East Side.

“We wanted to make it easier for stylists to see what we had to offer,” D’Orazio explains. “Getting ready for the Met Gala has become so focused on The Mark Hotel, so being in that neighborhood seemed like a good idea.”

Just five short blocks from the Metropolitan Museum’s iconic steps,The Mark Hotel on East 77th Street has long been considered the hotspot chosen by stars and stylists to get ready for the gala; just around the corner on Madison, the Carlyle likewise is expected to host attendees as they get dressed for what’s roundly agreed to be among the most-anticipated Met Galas in recent memory.

Inspired by the museum’s spring exhibition theme of “Camp: Notes on Fashion,” anticipation is running high that designers will craft supremely dramatic custom ensembles for stars that this year includes co-chairs Lady Gaga, Serena Williams and Harry Styles (who likely will wear a look by Alessandro Michele, creative director for Gucci, the exhibition’s primary sponsor), as well as attendees such as Blake Lively, Katie Holmes, Jennifer Lopez, Billy Porter and Tracee Ellis Ross.

Boutiques in the surrounding neighborhood also have been busy as they welcome a non-stop parade of stylists. David Webb, the company named for the jeweler known for statement pieces worn by Elizabeth Taylor and Jacqueline Kennedy, curated a special selection of its boldest pieces for stylists to peruse in its Madison Avenue boutique. “We’re seeing a lot of requests for color and large-scale stones, in necklaces, earrings and rings,” notes Mark Emanuel, co-owner of David Webb. “Earrings always seem the main focal point for any red-carpet event, but we’re noticing an increase in requests for necklaces as well.”

D’Orazio agrees with that jewelry strategy, adding that stylists have been asking for “very long, flowing earrings that reach to the collarbone,” as well as waterfall earrings, bold diamond chokers, and cocktail rings intended to be worn on multiple fingers. Not far from Hueb, de Grisogono’s Madison Avenue boutique also has become a hub of activity.

“Almost every stylist we are working with has pulled pieces from the Maison’s Ventaglio collection, distinctive fan-shaped jewelry in a kaleidoscope of colors,” says Céline Assimon, CEO of de Grisogono. “Without question, I think colored stones will be a significant moment on the red carpet Monday evening.”

Indeed, with a few exceptions, jewelry often has taken a back seat to dramatic custom gowns and ensembles on the Met Gala red carpet. But might the variety of Camp interpretations expected to turn up on Monday evening also result in a spotlight on brilliantly hued gemstones and other statement baubles?

“We’ve attended many fittings over the past few days, and I can tell you color is everywhere,” Assimon says. “From the jewelry to the dresses, shoes and accessories, this undoubtedly will be a very vibrant Met Gala.”