Inicio Noticias Tiffany jewelry designer Elsa Peretti dies in her sleep aged 80

Tiffany jewelry designer Elsa Peretti dies in her sleep aged 80

Elsa Peretti, who went from Halston model and Studio 54 regular in the 1960s and 70s to one of the world’s most famous jewelry designers with timeless Tiffany & Co. collections, has died aged 80. 

Peretti died in her sleep last Thursday at her home in a small village outside Barcelona, Spain.

Her sculptural cuff bracelets, bean designs and open-heart pendants for Tiffany & Co are among her most recognizable work. 

She lent her classical aesthetic to functional goods, too, including bowls, magnifying glasses, razors and even a pizza cutter done in sterling silver, a metal she favored and helped popularize as a luxury choice. 

‘Elsa was not only a designer but a way of life,’ Tiffany said in a statement following her death. 

‘Elsa explored nature with the acumen of a scientist and the vision of a sculptor.’ 

Elsa Peretti, who went from Halston model and Studio 54 regular in the 1960s and 70s to one of the world's most famous jewelry designers with timeless Tiffany & Co. collections, has died aged 80. She is pictured above with Halston in March 1977

Elsa Peretti, who went from Halston model and Studio 54 regular in the 1960s and 70s to one of the world’s most famous jewelry designers with timeless Tiffany & Co. collections, has died aged 80. She is pictured above with Halston in March 1977

Peretti died in her sleep last Thursday at her home in a small village outside Barcelona, Spain. She was 80 years old

Peretti died in her sleep last Thursday at her home in a small village outside Barcelona, Spain. She was 80 years old

Born in Florence, Italy, to wealthy, conservative parents and educated in Rome and Switzerland, Peretti moved to Barcelona in her 20s and began working as a model.

She was cut off financially by her family, which resulted in her tapping into a community of artists that included Salvador Dali, according to a profile in The Wall Street Journal’s magazine. 

A short time later, she decamped for New York where she started modeling for top designers, including Halston, who went on to become a close friend. 

‘I arrived with a black eye, from my lover, who didn’t want me to go,’ she told Vanity Fair back in 2014. 

‘New York was in the middle of a garbage strike. I moved into the Franconia hotel, on West 72nd Street. I had nothing. I was poor, but in a good way.’ 

Peretti, who said modeling ‘terrified’ her but paid the bills, quickly became a favorite model for designers given her tall and elegant appearance. 

‘Elsa was different from the other models,’ Halston said. ‘The others were clothes racks – you’d make them up, fix their hair, and then they’d put their blue jeans back on. But Elsa had style: she made the dress she was modeling her own.’ 

It was around that time that she began to make jewelry, tapping the designers she worked for to incorporate her pieces in their shows.

It was Halston who ended up introducing her to the highest echelons at Tiffany. 

Born in Italy, Peretti turned to jewelry design after moving to New York in the 1960s to model for top designers, including Halston

Born in Italy, Peretti turned to jewelry design after moving to New York in the 1960s to model for top designers, including Halston

Her Tiffany designs, from about 2009, came to account for about 10 percent of all the company's sales Tiffany gave her an immediate $47.3 million payment in 2012 to license her designs for another 20 years. She is pictured circa 1970

Her Tiffany designs, from about 2009, came to account for about 10 percent of all the company’s sales Tiffany gave her an immediate $47.3 million payment in 2012 to license her designs for another 20 years. She is pictured circa 1970

Her sculptural cuff bracelets, bean designs and open-heart pendants for Tiffany & Co are among her most recognizable work

Her sculptural cuff bracelets, bean designs and open-heart pendants for Tiffany & Co are among her most recognizable work

With her cropped hair and distinctive glasses, Peretti was known for her fiery attitude. Peretti, who said modeling 'terrified' her but paid the bills, quickly became a favorite model for designers after arriving in NYC given her tall and elegant appearance. She is pictured above in 1977

With her cropped hair and distinctive glasses, Peretti was known for her fiery attitude. Peretti, who said modeling ‘terrified’ her but paid the bills, quickly became a favorite model for designers after arriving in NYC given her tall and elegant appearance. She is pictured above in 1977

The outspoken Peretti began designing for Tiffany in 1974 and it was an exclusive collaboration that went on to last throughout her career. 

Peretti and Halston were frequently seen together at Studio 54 in the 70s where their tight posse included the likes of Andy Warhol. 

During that time, she admitted to surviving on mostly caviar, cocaine, vodka and cigarettes. 

With her cropped hair and distinctive glasses, Peretti was known for her fiery attitude. She once had a fight with Halston that saw her throw a fur coat that he had just given her as a gift into an open fire. 

By then, Peretti was a famed jewelry designer. 

Her Tiffany designs, from about 2009, came to account for about 10 percent of all the company’s sales.

Tiffany gave her an immediate $47.3 million payment in 2012 to license her designs for another 20 years. 

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of her signature wrist-hugging Bone Cuff, Tiffany launched fresh versions, including some with stones of turquoise and jade. 

‘Her inspiration was often drawn from everyday items – a bean, a bone, an apple could be transformed into cufflinks, bracelets, vases or lighters,’ a statement from her family said. 

‘Scorpions and snakes were turned into appealing necklaces and rings, often in silver, which was one of her preferred materials. She herself stated that ‘There is no new design, because good lines and shapes are timeless’.’ 

Of Peretti’s designs, Liza Minnelli told Vanity Fair in 2014: ‘Everything was so sensual, so sexy. I just loved it. It was different from anything I’d ever seen.’ 

The outspoken Peretti began designing for Tiffany in 1974 and it was an exclusive collaboration that went on to last throughout her career. She is pictured in the 70s

The outspoken Peretti began designing for Tiffany in 1974 and it was an exclusive collaboration that went on to last throughout her career. She is pictured in the 70s

Peretti and Halston were frequently seen together at Studio 54 in the 70s where their tight posse included the likes of Andy Warhol. During that time, she admitted to surviving on mostly caviar, cocaine, vodka and cigarettes

Peretti and Halston were frequently seen together at Studio 54 in the 70s where their tight posse included the likes of Andy Warhol. During that time, she admitted to surviving on mostly caviar, cocaine, vodka and cigarettes

With her cropped hair and distinctive glasses, Peretti was known for her fiery attitude. She once had a fight with Halston that saw her throw a fur coat that he had just given her as a gift into an open fire

Peretti was known for her fiery attitude

With her cropped hair and distinctive glasses, Peretti was known for her fiery attitude. She once had a fight with Halston that saw her throw a fur coat that he had just given her as a gift into an open fire

Peretti’s more than three dozen collections for Tiffany established her in luxury, but she also understood the need for budget flexibility among consumers. 

She was behind Tiffany’s Diamonds by the Yard line that began in 1974, based on the idea of spreading out the stones on a simple chain and offering them at a range of price points. 

Today, the line goes for $325 to $75,000. 

‘You need to be able to go out on the street with your jewelry,’ she told the Journal. ‘Women can´t go around wearing $1 million.’

Peretti’s designs are in the permanent collections of the British Museum in London and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, among others. 

In recognition of her work, Tiffany established the Elsa Peretti professorship in jewelry design at the Fashion Institute of Technology, the first endowed professorship in the history of FIT. 

She was also a philanthropist, establishing her foundation in her father’s honor in 2000. It supports a range of projects, from human and civil rights to medical research and wildlife conservation.

The small village of Sant Martí Vell, where she died in Catalonia, was always close to her heart, the family statement said. 

In 1968, she bought a mustard-yellow house there and lovingly restored it over the next 10 years. She went on to have entire swaths of the village restored, acquiring and preserving buildings, including a church. 

She also supported excavation of Roman ruins and the archiving of the village’s history and established a working vineyard that has put out wines under the Eccocivi label since 2008. 

Her Tiffany designs, from about 2009, came to account for about 10 percent of all the company's sales

Her Tiffany designs, from about 2009, came to account for about 10 percent of all the company’s sales

Of Peretti's designs, Liza Minnelli told Vanity Fair in 2014: 'Everything was so sensual, so sexy. I just loved it. It was different from anything I'd ever seen'. Pictured left to right: Elsa Perretti, Jack Haley Jr., Liza Minnelli, Halston and Margaux Hemingway

Of Peretti’s designs, Liza Minnelli told Vanity Fair in 2014: ‘Everything was so sensual, so sexy. I just loved it. It was different from anything I’d ever seen’. Pictured left to right: Elsa Perretti, Jack Haley Jr., Liza Minnelli, Halston and Margaux Hemingway

During the 70s in New York City, she admitted to surviving on mostly caviar, cocaine, vodka and cigarettes. Elsa is pictured above with Bobby Breslau at the Metropolitan Museum's Costume Institute Ball

During the 70s in New York City, she admitted to surviving on mostly caviar, cocaine, vodka and cigarettes. Elsa is pictured above with Bobby Breslau at the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute Ball

She was also a philanthropist, establishing her foundation in her father's honor in 2000. It supports a range of projects, from human and civil rights to medical research and wildlife conservation

She was also a philanthropist, establishing her foundation in her father’s honor in 2000. It supports a range of projects, from human and civil rights to medical research and wildlife conservation

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