a monthly look at the faces that have made history

Elsa Peretti

"I hate that impeccable, perfectly perfect look, all matched and prearranged," Elsa Peretti said. "Style is to be simple." That's why you'd often find the Italian model-turned-jewelry-designer in a plain T-shirt and pants or a man's tailored suit, and also why her fluid and seamless sterling silver creations for Tiffany & Co.—apples, beans, bones, hearts, scorpions, shells, snakes, and teardrops—have remained among the house's best sellers since she began designing them 30 years ago. Peretti was inspired by nature, and with a 5-foot-9-inch frame, striking khaki eyes, and signature cropped locks (she claimed she used Champagne to keep them shiny), she was her own best advertisement. Nights out at Studio 54, she accessorized her pal Halston's dresses with her horse-bit belt or with a rope of her Diamonds by the Yard flung around her neck. When her old dancing partner, designer Stephen Burrows, put on his recent spring show, he turned to Peretti for jewelry. "What Elsa did wasn't fussy," Burrows said. "And it's as modern today as it was when she made it."

—Nicole Phelps

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