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The Verdura Whitney Tiara Shines at the Met Gala

Verdura’s exceptional vintage “Feather Headdress” tiara shined at the 2022 MET Gala, the first time it has been worn since its debut in front of Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace in 1957. An original commission for Mrs. John Hay (Betsey) Whitney, the tiara was worn by Hamish Bowles, Global Editor at Large, Vogue and Editor-in-Chief of The World of Interiors as he co-hosted the live coverage of the red-carpet arrivals.

  • Hamish Bowles in Verdura Tiara
  • Hamish Bowles in Verdura Whitney Tiara

Part of Verdura's Museum Collection, the yellow gold and platinum tiara designed by Fulco di Verdura as a feather headdress is composed of 36 leaves, set with 1,223 diamonds weighing 28.32 carats.

In 1957, American socialite and philanthropist Betsey Cushing Whitney commissioned Verdura to design a tiara for her to wear at the presentation of her husband, Ambassador John Hay Whitney, at the Court of St. James.

The Met Ball marks the first time the tiara has been worn since its 1957 debut for Queen Elizabeth II.

In lieu of the customary practice of renting a tiara in London it was important to Mrs. Whitney to represent American design and craftsmanship. The tiara, designed by Fulco di Verdura, was made in New York City workshops.

Tiara inspiration: "The Indian Headdress design had become an American symbol of freedom, made iconic by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the sculptor who designed the $10 gold coin in 1907 featuring the head of Lady Liberty wearing a war bonnet."

The tiara has previously been shown at museums around the world including: "Jewels, Gems, and Treasures: Ancient to Modern," Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, July 19, 2011 - June 1, 2014, "The Power of Style: Verdura at 75," Verdura Flagship, October 14 - December 23, 2014, and "Allegories of America," The New York Historical Society, April 29 - November 13, 2017.

Verdura's Whitney Tiara

The Costume Institute’s 2022 spring exhibition, In America: An Anthology of Fashion—the second of a two-part presentation—will explore the foundations of American fashion through a series of sartorial displays featuring individual designers and dressmakers who worked in the United States from the 19th to the mid-late 20th century.

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  • Tiara Feather Bracelet

    Inspired by Verdura’s 1957 tiara design for Betsey Whitney, the Tiara Feather Bracelet is made in the same workshop, from the same molds, as the original tiara. It’s adapted into a more wearable but equally impressive piece.

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  • figurine brooch
  • Vintage Figurine Brooch

    18k gold and platinum brooch set with one baroque pearl, two pyramid sapphires, nine cabochon rubies and 96 round diamonds. Made in 1971 to replace the client’s brooch from 1951. Originally from the collection of Margaret Kahn Ryan, also known as “Nin,” a close friend of Duke Fulco di Verdura.

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  • Verdura-Jewelry-Feather-Cuff-Earclips-Gold
  • Feather Earcuffs

    Verdura’s 1950s design looks refreshingly bold and modern today.

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  • verdura ten buck pendant necklace
  • “Ten Buck” Pendant Necklace

    Verdura loved the bold design and Native American iconography of Theodore Roosevelt’s “Indian Head” coins.  This necklace represents Verdura’s whimsical tribute to his adopted country.

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