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Monday, 12 February 2018

The power of Katharine Graham's jewellery

The power of Katharine Graham's jewellery

In one of the initial scenes of the film “The Post”, Katharine Graham, brilliantly interpreted by Meryl Streep, takes off one of her button earrings and places it on the desk to make an important phone call. According to director Stephen Spielberg, this simple gesture deserved a particularly clever close-up. It was an act that only women can fully understand because the type of button earring like those favoured by Katharine Graham, must absolutely be removed in order to speak comfortably over the phone.

It is one of the few times jewellery captures the attention of the viewer in this film that tells the fascinating story of when the editor of The Washington Post and its director, Bill Bradlee, fought the White House in the early 1970s in order to publish the Pentagon Papers, which revealed American crimes during the Vietnam War.

Nevertheless, this gesture perfectly expresses the dynamics of the entire story: Katharine was a woman in a man's world, also outlined by the scene in which she wore a gold-coloured kaftan with a watch and gold chain round her neck to contrast the monotonous grey suits of the men to whom she gave orders and instructions.

Graham had an important collection of jewellery that she cleverly matched to designer suits with blouses and skirts during the day or with evening dresses, and she really did have a pair of pearl button earrings by Verdura.
Other items in her collection included, for example, that pair of gold hoop earrings she wore on the day in which she came out of the Supreme Court with Bradlee in search of authorization to publish the Pentagon Papers, and a valuable, 1970s Cartier Tank watch and strap.

Her jewellery, typically 1970-style, reflected the times and the immortal simplicity of her character: she loved to wear long necklaces, even several at a time, and for important events, she preferred a multi-string pearl necklace, in line with her feminine, yet authoritative style.

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