Elsa Peretti is a jewelry designer and philanthropist as well as a former fashion model. Her jewelry and design pieces for Tiffany & Co., are included in the 20th century collection of the British Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. She is largely responsible for the restoration of the village of Sant Martí Vell in Catalonia, Spain. Through her foundations, she supports a wide variety of cultural, social, and artistic causes.
|Born||May 1, 1940|
|Education||Volpicelli School, Rome, Italy|
|Occupation||Jewelry designer, philanthropist, former fashion model|
Peretti was born in Florence, Italy on May 1, 1940, as the youngest daughter of Ferdinando Peretti (1896–1977) and Maria Luisa Pighini. Ferdinando Peretti founded Anonima Petroli Italiana (API), a large Italian oil company, in 1933. She was estranged from her conservative family for much of her life.
Elsa Peretti was educated in Rome and Switzerland. She initially made her living teaching Italian and working as a ski instructor in the German speaking Swiss mountain village of Gstaad. In 1963, she moved to Milan, Italy to pursue a degree in interior design and to work for the architect Dado Torrigiani.
In 1964, Peretti became a fashion model, working in Barcelona, Spain. In 1968 she moved to New York City on the advice of Wilhelmina Modeling Agency. During the 1970s Peretti was a frequent regular of Studio 54, along with designer Roy Halston Frowick, Andy Warhol and Liza Minnelli. According to Halston, "Elsa had style: she made the dress she was modeling her own." Helmut Newton's photograph ‘Elsa Peretti in Bunny Costume’ is considered a lasting image of the 1970s.
In 1969, Peretti began creating new jewelry styles for a handful of fashion designers in Manhattan. Her first design was a two-inch bud vase made of sterling-silver, worn on a leather thong, that was inspired by a find at a flea market. Worn by one of Giorgio di Sant' Angelo's models, it was a hit. By 1971, she was designing jewelry for Halston. She continued to use silver, which went from being "common" to being a popular choice for Liza Minnelli and others.  Pieces like Bone Cuff are seen as incorporating organic forms with appreciation of the human body, and as bridging a gap between costume and serious jewelry.
By the time Peretti joined Tiffany & Co. as an independent designer, she had received the 1971 Coty Award, and had her first appearance in Vogue magazine. In 1972 Bloomingdale's, one of New York's landmark shopping stores, opened a dedicated Peretti boutique. In 1974, Peretti signed a contract with Tiffany & Co to design silver jewelry and by 1979, she was the firm's leading designer. Her silver pieces were seen as "fun" and attracted a younger clientele. Peretti also designed silverware for Tiffany, but only after she had established a solid following with her jewelry.
Peretti has designed over thirty collections for Tiffany. In the process, she has traveled to Japan, China, and Europe, drawing on the work of craftsmen there in the creation of classic collections such as Bean, Open Heart, Mesh, Bone, and Zodiac. In addition to sterling silver, part of her signature is the use of materials such as jade, lacquer, and rattan. In 2012,Tiffany and Peretti extended their partnership for another 20 years.  In 2015, her trademarked Elsa Peretti designs represented eight percent of Tiffany's net sales. Her works have been described as "revolutionary", "timeless, distinct and modern".
In 1968, Peretti bought a house in the largely decrepit village of Sant Martí Vell in Catalonia, Spain. Over the next ten years she had the house restored, often living in rough conditions during the process. By the 1980s, the mustard-yellow house was her refuge and her preferred home. Pieces such as her scorpion necklace, now in the British Museum, were inspired by the flora and fauna of Sant Martí Vell.
Since then Peretti has worked to restore parts of the surrounding village, purchasing additional buildings and having them renovated. As of 2017, about half the village had been rebuilt. Her projects have included the renovation of the interior of Església de Sant Martí Vell, the parochial church of Sant Martí Vell in 2012-2013. The site has a long history, encompassing a Roman settlement in the second century AD, a medieval enclosure, a Romanic Temple in the 11th–12th century and the construction of a late Gothic style edifice in the late 1500s. The work done has included the excavation of archaeological remains dating to a Roman settlement and the refinishing of a sepulchral tomb, as well as the restoration of existing elements and the provision of new ones.  Peretti has also supported the management of the sixteenth-century historical documents of the town, the conservation of the photographic archive of Oriol Maspons and the conservation of the Roman city of Empúries.
Peretti has established a working vineyard in Sant Martí, planting Ca l’Elsa in 2004 and Can Nobas in 2007. The winery itself was completed in 2008, and fine wines are marketed under the Eccocivi label, meaning "Here we are to make wine."
Peretti has also provided a great deal of support to cultural, scientific, humanitarian and educational initiatives and for human rights. Much of this work has been supported through her foundations (see below). She has promoted the visual arts and fostered the consolidation, protection and dissemination of the historical, artistic, cultural, architectural and craft heritage of Catalonia. She has encouraged people such as guitarist Michael Laucke and painter-sculptor Robert Llimós to make use of San Marti Vell.
Elsa Paretti was reconciled with her father shortly before his death in 1977, after he read an article about her and her work in Newsweek. After a four-year court and legal battle with her sister Mila and Mila's husband Aldo Brachetti Peretti, Elsa Peretti received nearly half of her father's considerable fortune.
In 2000, she created a charity in honor of her father with those assets, called the Nando Peretti Foundation (NPF). The foundation is reported to have given approximately 42 million euros to 852 projects world-wide over 15 years. As of 2015, it was renamed the Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation (NaEPF).
Initially the foundation had a dual focus on the environment and wildlife conservation, and on humanitarian programs, particular those that targeted poverty. Over time, the scope of the foundation's work has expanded to support a broad range of projects for "promotion of human and civil rights, with a special emphasis on the right to education, children's rights, and women's rights and dignity." The NPF solicits proposals internationally, and has supported requests from around the world. These include initiatives on behalf of unrepresented people and oppressed minorities, to defend their right to exist and preserve their culture. The NPF supports medical and scientific research projects to promote physical and mental health, as well as specific interventions including the building of hospitals and other sanitary facilities. It has funded public awareness campaigns for wildlife conservation and environmental protection. It also promotes culture and the arts.
En été, Laucke étudie souvent, et prépare son nouveau répertoire dans le calme de la petite village de San Martivell, près de Barcelone … grâce à la généreuse hospitalité de son amie Elsa Peretti. ("In the summer, Laucke often studies and prepares new repertoire in the calm of the small town of San Marti Vell, near Barcelona ...thanks to the generous hospitality of his friend Elsa Peretti." (English translation))
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Achille Peretti (artist) (1857–1923), Italian painter, sculptor and anarchist
Achille Peretti (1911–1983), French politician
Aldo Maria Brachetti Peretti (born 1932), chairman of the Italian company API Group
Alessandro Peretti di Montalto (1571–1623), Italian Catholic Cardinal
Carlo Peretti (born 1930), Italian water polo player
Chelsea Peretti, American writer and comedian
Cynthia Peretti (1948−2009), American professional wrestler and trainer, better known as "Princess Jasmine"
Diego Peretti (born 1963), Argentine actor and former psychiatrist
Elsa Peretti (born 1940), Italian jewelry designer
Felice Peretti (1521–1590), pope as Pope Sixtus V
Ferdinando Brachetti Peretti (born 1960), chairman and CEO of the Italian company API Group
Francesco Peretti di Montalto (1597–1655), Italian Catholic Cardinal
Frank E. Peretti (born 1951), American novelist
Giovanni Pietro Perti or Peretti (1648–1714), Italian Baroque sculptor and architect
Hugo Peretti (1916–1986), American songwriter and record producer
Jacques Peretti (born 1967), investigative reporter, broadcaster and filmmaker based in London
Jean-Marie Peretti, French teacher-researcher in human resources management
Jonah Peretti (born 1974), American Internet entrepreneur
Lucia Peretti (born 1990), Italian short-track speed-skater
Marianne Peretti (born 1927), Franco-Brazilian artist
Osvaldo Peretti (born 1921), retired Argentine professional football player
Steven Peretti (born 1956) American author,cartoonist
Ugo Brachetti Peretti (born 1965), Italian oil executive
Vanessa Peretti (born 1986), model and Miss Venezuela International 2006Ralph Rucci
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