FrontRunners: Opening the Vault

As you walk through the grand doors of Bruce Hoeksema’s VBH gallery (212.717.9800) on Madison Avenue in New York City, it becomes readily apparent that this is no ordinary store. The former Valentino executive hired famed architect Peter Marino to transform an austere 10,000-square-foot bank into an ultrachic showcase for Hoeksema’s signature leather goods and jewelry. The main floor exudes a sophisticated residential ambience with its sleek furnishings and eclectic art collection. But the basement retains some of the building’s original spirit in the form of a steel-barred vault, which now houses a cache of fine jewels. Standout pieces include an enticing orchid ring set with pavé ruby petals and an acid green diamond pistil; a sleek foot-long snake necklace pavéed with countless brown diamonds is a true seductress.

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