Aldo Cipullo Hits The Nail On The Head: From Cult Designer To Cartier’s Cash Cow
Jewelry for men is often a hot discussion point: what to wear and what not to wear? That’s always the question.
And I do often wonder why men these days don’t seem to be able to wear anything other than leather laces embellished with strings of beads.
So let’s take a look at one of the coolest jewelry designers of 1960s’ New York: Aldo Cipullo.
Cipullo was an artist often surrounded by New York’s Studio 54 “in” crowd. The designer, who had his own clientele and his own collection, always dared to draw inspiration from everyday items such as a horseshoe or tank tracks, transforming them into jeweled marvels.
For some time he also worked in Cartier’s New York workshops; it was 1969 when he created the now so famous unisex Love bracelet. But fame did not come on day one: the sturdy bracelet, which first launched in yellow gold, could only be opened with a little screwdriver. Despite this, it revolutionized stylistic tendencies, first and foremost through its oval shape, which represented a complete break from an era that preferred chains over solid bands.
It took some time, but as soon as Elizabeth Taylor and her husband Richard Burton decided to purchase a Cartier Love bracelet in 1975 on the occasion of their second marriage, it became very popular: first in the USA and then Europe, though the latter took another 15 years.
Today, the Love is probably the most popular bracelet in Cartier’s collection and not only among couples. There is also a matching ring, which comes in two widths and is sometimes used as a wedding ring. French soccer player Zinedine Zidane is often seen wearing the thinner version in white gold.
Unfortunately, the yellow gold Love cufflinks are not available anymore, so if you’re enamored of these links your best bet is eBay.
“Just a Nail”
Cipullo’s second design for Cartier was a lot wilder: the Juste un Clou bracelet he presented to Cartier in 1977. However, Cartier kept the design under wraps, only launching it internationally in 2012 during an amazing party at the New York Cartier mansion, where famous recording artists including Lou Reed were present in addition to Aldo Cipullo’s father.
Meanwhile, you may have seen this kinky “nail” curving around some wrists. And a quick look at social media reveals many men’s wrists showing off their Rolexes and Audemars Piguets in combination with a Juste un Clou bracelet.
The mechanism of the Juste un Clou is a lot easier and faster to open and close than that of the Love bracelet; no screwdriver is needed, just a firm press.
It has a nice, naughty look when combined with a suit and shirt. Like the Love bracelet, this is one of those items that is seldom taken off. A ring and yellow gold cufflinks are available as well, and especially the cufflinks, which go around the cuff, are almost impossible to lose and look absolutely great with a white shirt!
These are cufflinks that make an everyday suit and shirt just a little bit more daring.
Really masculine style
If you’re of the impression that these two extraordinary Cipullo designs from the 1960s came completely out of the blue, you’d be wrong. Cartier is really good at managing its rich heritage and is a specialist in inspiring the designers it works with.
Unfortunately, we will never know for sure how Love and Juste un Clou came to life on the drawing board. But one thing is for sure: Cipullo, who was a great admirer of Cartier, must have been briefed well since the concept of his bracelets was already set out in a design by Louis Cartier himself when he presented his Menotte bracelet and ring in 1937.
The Menotte was designed like a handcuff (“menotte” is French for handcuff): it opened and closed with one screw and even came with a screwdriver, just like the Love bracelet. Currently, the Menotte is not in the Cartier collection; it was last released in a very small batch in 2003.
So, guys, if you’re searching for a bit more masculine style than today’s ubiquitous leather laces and strings with beads, check out how a Juste un Clou bracelet fits your wrist and complements your Audemars Piguet, Rolex, or Patek Philippe. The bracelet is often worn together with a watch on the left wrist, though I prefer to wear mine on the other wrist.
No matter your preference, keep one thing in mind: any of these three bracelets should be worn pretty tightly around the wrist; to be really comfortable they should not move too much and they should not be able to turn around.
Cipullo designed them to not only look good, but also to be worn comfortably on a daily basis.
The Love bracelet and rings are available from Cartier boutiques in yellow, pink, or white gold and in platinum. Pricing for the bracelets starts at $6,300.
The Juste un Clou bracelet and rings are available in the three colors of gold, while the Juste un Clou cufflinks are only available in yellow gold and are fairly hard to find at the boutiques, but can be ordered online for around $4,000 at www.cartier.com/en-us/juste+un+clou.
For more information about Aldo Cipullo, please see www.beladora.com/2013/07/all-about-aldo-the-great-cartier-designer-aldo-cipullo.
George Cramer, an extraordinary enthusiast of Cartier, travels the world with his camera and love of design and watchmaking in tow. Read more of his work at www.georgecramer.com.