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Suzy Menkes

Vogue International Editor Suzy Menkes is the best-known fashion journalist in the world. After 25 years commenting on fashion for the International Herald Tribune (rebranded recently as The International New York Times), Suzy Menkes now writes exclusively for Vogue online, covering fashion worldwide.

#CNILux Stephen Webster: Goldstruck

22 Апреля 2016

The gilded cover of Stephen’s biography
The gilded cover of Stephen’s biography

Mount street is one of the fanciest areas in London, home to the classy Connaught Hotel and luxury boutiques from Céline, Dior and Lanvin to Marc Jacobs, high-end leather goods Moynat, Oscar de la Renta and shoemaker Nicholas Kirkwood.

But where is Stephen Webster? The most flamboyant of British jewellers is nowhere to be found, although his colourful stones and equally colourful stories made a bestseller of his autobiography, "Goldstruck: A Life Shaped by Jewellery" (published by Salma Editions).

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Inside Stephen Webster’s showroom, which features an Alexander McQueen rug and

Inside Stephen Webster’s showroom, which features an Alexander McQueen rug and "crumpled paper" chandelier by Fredrikson Stallard

Inside Webster’s Mayfair showroom, where a gilded guitar by Marlow, made in honour of his autobiography, has pride of place

Inside Webster’s Mayfair showroom, where a gilded guitar by Marlow, made in honour of his autobiography, has pride of place


The entrance to his showroom is discreet. After trawling Mount Street, I finally spotted it, with his name in gilded letters on the door. Up two floors and I finally struck gold — along with diamonds, opals, and the entire spectrum of stones the jeweller could muster. Among the art objects furnishing the two display areas there was also jewellery by his artist friend, Tracey Emin, who also wrote the foreword to his book.

But why the hide-and-seek discretion for such a flamboyant designer? "Under-the-radar jewellery shopping seems to have become the preferred experience amongst our clients for some time," Webster explained.

"In our original Mount Street boutique, clients always sat in the VIP area at the back, even when they came as a group," he continued. "And in Beverly Hills, more shopping is done in the upstairs 'No Regrets' lounge than in the store. In response to this, we have removed the potential intrusion of a door on the street." Once inside the showroom, which is attached to the working studio, clients have a full-on vision of Webster's taste. Devised by architect Guy Holloway, the live-and-relax room has a Fredrikson Stallard "crumpled paper" golden chandelier, a pony skin-patterned rug by Alexander McQueen, and a gilded guitar made in honour of "Goldstruck" from Marlow Guitars.

Stephen and Assia Webster at the
Stephen and Assia Webster at the "Goldstruck" book launch in his London showroom

I asked Stephen if this modern hideaway was made in response to social media's interference in what should be his celebrity clients' private world.

"I'm not so sure social media has become a problem for our shoppers," Stephen said. "I know they use it themselves while shopping in private, so maybe the salon works in reverse: more privacy, more self-generated social media."

Apart from the dramatic paintings, the interior design includes a stuffed swan from taxidermist David Wildart and thought-provoking Tracey Emin jewellery based on her artworks, including "Angry Owl", "Bird and Fix", "Squirrel and Hare" and others.

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Webster’s couture Stargazer earrings in 18k white gold with tanzanite

Webster’s couture Stargazer earrings in 18k white gold with tanzanite

The Couture Stargazer Collar set in 18k white gold with white diamonds

The Couture Stargazer Collar set in 18k white gold with white diamonds


"For many years I thought the emotion and sometimes subjects Tracey shows in her work could translate beautifully into my world as a jeweller," explains Webster, who comes from Kent, the same area of England as Tracey Emin. "It all started when she made the neon, 'I Promise To Love You' for my LA store," he continued. "She said it should be in a place where people buy and give tokens of love. After that our collaboration had to be."

"The new area is artistic, it's a reflection of my studio — where people love to come — and my home," Stephen said. "In both places I have artwork by many other people. I have built this up over time. I deliberately decorated the new space in a way that I can add to it as I feel fit. This way the evolution will be more authentic and in a way homely — and everyone likes to feel at home."

Tracey Emin’s collection for Stephen Webster
Tracey Emin’s collection for Stephen Webster

It struck me as quite a contrast that Stephen, who has been through many adventures with his Russian wife Anastasia (known as Assia) and has had half of Hollywood in his LA boutique, should try the discreet approach in his other boutiques.

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The I Promise To Love You Pendant set in 18k yellow gold

The I Promise To Love You Pendant set in 18k yellow gold

Sienna Miller wearing a Stephen Webster ring at the London premiere of Burnt, in October 2015

Sienna Miller wearing a Stephen Webster ring at the London premiere of Burnt, in October 2015

Kate Winslet wearing Stephen Webster earrings at the Moet Awards in 2015

Kate Winslet wearing Stephen Webster earrings at the Moet Awards in 2015


"The London showroom is definitely a template for further such spaces in other markets and hopefully Seoul will be one of those," said Webster, who will talk about his "Goldstruck" life at the CNI Luxury conference in South Korea this week.

The I Promise To Love You Love Ring set in 18k yellow gold
The I Promise To Love You Love Ring set in 18k yellow gold

Compared to the heady days of opening showrooms by the dozen in Russia, which he vividly describes in his book, the new softly, softly approach seems a welcome change of pace. 

The Second Condé Nast International Luxury Conference runs from the 20th-21st April at The Shilla, Seoul. Visit www.cniluxury.com for more details; follow the Conference on Twitter and Instagram: @CNILuxury; and search #CNILux

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Sienna Miller wearing a Stephen Webster ring at the London premiere of Burnt, in October 2015

Sienna Miller wearing a Stephen Webster ring at the London premiere of Burnt, in October 2015

Kate Winslet wearing Stephen Webster earrings at the Moet Awards in 2015

Kate Winslet wearing Stephen Webster earrings at the Moet Awards in 2015


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