On Monday, and in true, literal fashion, Rihanna announced her first pregnancy wearing an archival Chanel jacket. The pink puffer coat was left unbuttoned on the bottom half to reveal her stomach, which was adorned with Chanel costume jewelry. Those buttons that she left artfully undone are not just any old buttons, however. They are Gripoix buttons.
The technique used to make the buttons was invented in 1869 by Parisian glassmaker, Augustine Gripoix. Essentially, “Pâte de verre,” a glass paste, is made and poured into molds, creating stunning jewels that resembled rubys, and other precious stones. According to Alice Pfeiffer's 2012 story for The New York Times, aristocrats would request “replicas of their precious jewels,” to wear with their furs and evening looks.
As the style continued to gain popularity with stage performers, the Gripoix family grew their relationships with fashion designers, including Coco Chanel. In that same story, Pfeiffer reports that Coco Chanel originally approached the the brand asking them to replicate Byzantine jewelry for one of her collections. From then on, the relationship grew, and Chanel continued to evolve and elevate costume jewelry in partnership with Gripoix.
Rihanna’s jacket came from the Fall 1996 collection and is shown below modeled by Christina Kruse. (There really is an archival moment happening in the celebrity appearance world, isn’t there)?
An interesting piece about these Gripoix buttons is that they are all made by hand. They are each unique and have a special value because of the craft used to create them. Hand work is such a unique element in clothing, and its certainly not limited to luxury.
Congrats to Rihanna and A$AP Rocky, may your expectant child have an ounce of your fashion sense.