Is the Cuff Link Dead?

by nyljaouadi1
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PARIS — Sitting at a sidewalk table not far from Le Bon Marché, the Paris department store that sells his men’s accessories, Mickaël-François Loir described how he helped start the latest rage in men’s jewelry: lapel pins.

Twelve years ago, while working in finance, Mr. Loir created a mother-of-pearl lapel pin in the shape of a rose — so small, “so discreet I could wear it to work,” he said. Friends wanted one, too.

So Mr. Loir bid au revoir to the world of finance seven years ago, and Le Loir en Papillon was born. Papillon means butterfly in French, and the name of his jewelry and accessory brand honors both the shape of the bow ties that he designs, along with scarves and pocket squares made of Lyon silk, as well as a beloved grandfather who taught him to catch butterflies.

On this autumn day Mr. Loir, 36, had pinned an inch-wide silver bee to the lapel of his natty Berluti jacket. His line includes about 100 designs, all devoted to nature, with birds, bees and butterflies.

“Men really had only a watch and cuff links” to personalize their look, he said. Why not “a jewel for your jacket?”

The fact that Verdura designed the brooch for a woman is beside the point today. The Brazil-based designer Ara Vartanian recently created a diamond and emerald necklace for one of his can’t-name-the-name female clients. But, he said, he was delighted to see that necklace wrapped around the neck of her also-famous musician husband at Grammy events earlier this year. The man has asked Mr. Vartanian to make what the designer called “a kick-ass brooch.”

Before hanging up the phone and returning to playing with his daughter, Mr. Yurman weighed in on the future of another jewelry item: the cuff link. Somehow French cuffs just don’t seem necessary if you’re working from home.

So is the cuff link dead? “It’s not a hot item right now, but it’s not dead,” he said. “It’s just taking a nap.”



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