Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Breaking Up with Earrings

In a recent New York Times Thursday Style section, there was an article about breaking up with clothing brands.  Some of the people cited in the article stopped wearing a certain brand because their lifestyles outgrew it or the brand changed its image or the brand just didn’t suit their bodies anymore.  I read the piece and instantly identified with the sentiment, as I’m sure most women could at some point in their life.

My experience with this has been more about a perceived quality level as opposed to a specific brand or store.  I’ve never been a short/tight/low-cut kind of gal so I haven’t had to worry about maturing out of a type of clothing.  But after I got to a certain point in my career, it felt unseemly to be walking around in inexpensive synthetics or poorly made brands.  My company gave me a title and salary so I needed to look like I could command respect (even if I couldn't really).

I’ve had more of a “maturing out of” experience with jewelry – specifically earrings.  I used to love big, long, dangling earrings, and the bigger the better.   I’ve always had longish hair and I loved the look of the earrings dancing the can-can while my hair served as the velvet curtains behind them.  I always thought such earrings were a bit coquette-ish, a subtle come hither, if you will.   In hindsight, I think its safe to say that scant few straight men have ever noticed a women’s earrings, let alone attributed any message to them.  I may have perceived long earrings to be the jewelry equivalent of footwear's “FMPs” (F*#k Me Pumps), but I’m probably alone there. 

I will still go as long as 2 or so inches, but only if they are exquisitely crafted with a sleek refined look.  My two current favs from Fotini Jewelry Designs:
Long, but sleek and refined.
Longish but not overpowering and goes with everything.

Still, even if it is only in my head, here are some of the beautiful earrings I no longer feel comfortable wearing.  I love the look of these babies below, but to me they are like stilettos for the ears – best saved for a woman interested in the attention they attract and the statement they make. (This first gorgeous pair below is, no joke, over 3" long!!)
Gorgeous, but like a stilleto for the ear.
Also, lovely but very very busy.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Behind the curtain.

This is a quick peek at my work space. In the middle/end of prepping for a 3 day even next week. And samples for the Atlanta gift show with a new partner the Bloom Showroom.

So this pic is how i work now. I used to work on a peice of bounty. Bc i liked the white background to best color match stones. It made for good clean up of scraps and the junk that piles up while making jewelry. Also is why i never liked any of those beading trays. Or those utility trays with the black or grey velvet pads. It was also an easy way to jot notes on the project im working on.

But the things rolled off the paper towel, and difficult to keep a project that was incomplete and step away. More so now that i have my son around, i have to be able to leave a project in the middle for snack/diaper/water/attention needing/mommy&meclass breaks. Jotting down notes is the only way i can remember where to pick up.

Now i work on a white paper plate. For the same reasons as the paper towel. But with the plates i can separate projects and stack them up. Make room on my work space and shuffle trough projects when i have 10 minutes in between baby needs or a 2 hr nap ahead of me.
Usually there are pliers and flush cutters and a tape measure on hand. And of course notes....

Monday, May 21, 2012

Grunge Redux.....Really?

Remember this look:

8 hole lace up Doc Martins that you wear until the sole literally cracked and maybe a little after that. Toast of NY lipstick by Revlon.<-- Who knew they still make that color. Blue nail polish when Urban Decay was the only brand that made non "normal" colors. Yeah I'm talking about 1992 (maybe one day i'll post what i looked like then, not today kiddos). Marc Jacobs was the then fledgling designer that made this look high fashiony and expensive. I could never afford that to die for shrunken cashmere sweater for $1,200. I did buy the $60 J.Crew version and wear the sh*t out of it. although never got into the crochet beanies.

NO I'm not going through some weird nostalgia thing, although I do long for the days when 92.3 on the radio dial in NY was Krock and the sound of Jeremy was fresh and new.

WWD recently reported, you guessed it, the look is getting an Act II this fall. For Some reason I cant picture this generation of tweens buying v-neck Hanes t-shirts to layer under flannels. Or the oddly paired flower print rayon dress with combat boots (yeah i rocked that look too).  Considering back then this was the collection that simultaneously catapulted Marc Jacobs and got him fired. It will be interesting to see if in these hyper-stylized label conscious times the slumpy cardigans and the flannel shirts will take off. But when you think about it grunge grew in response to the glitsy glamy 80's. Maybe these designers are on to something ;). Get ready fall shoppers

although the me from 1993 would really want these:


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Colored Wedding dresses...bridal jewelry turned upsidedown

Ever since the reigning queen of wedding gown design announced and then showed her 2013 line of gowns injected with a shock of color. The bridal world is all a buzz.

On the one hand a wedding dress is the one time most most women will splurge on a dress costing in the multiple hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars. When most of us will in our normal lives maybe only spend a couple of hundred on a dress for an occasion. THIS is the one time everyday ladies can feel like they are walking a runway, or red carpet. So why not have it be a beautiful shade of whatever color looks best you...because lets face it ladies, no matter what those lovely ladies in the salons say some skin tones dont look good with white, ivory, creme, eggshell or whatever name they give the non-color. If anyone is going to make it OK, it will be Vera Wang!

But will women respond? Buck tradition so extremely and don a red dress

or gasp an all black dress (fall 2012)? (because who doesnt look fab in black).

If this does take off even in a small way this blows the roof off of bridal jewelry designers. Which are usually confined to diamond, white topaz, white rhinestone & pearls. How stunning would a set with juicy red garnets, or cornflower blue sapphires!

In 2007 i thought i was soo cutting edge by wearing a tea length dress with a teal sash:

If you look just above the sash on my back, there is a single blue briolette & little topaz rondelles, just peaking out the end of my hair line.

And I wore London Blue Topaz jewelry and with 18kt yellow.

If a simple sash can inspire this, can you imagine what a whole dress will do to bridal jewelry!!!

Xo Fo

* wedding pics by the fabulous Jonathan Thrasher

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Make it Your Own
One of my earliest memories of my mother’s jewelry is excavating a silver flower-shaped pin from her jewelry box. Back in the 50’s and 60’s, women always wore a pin on the lapel of their coats (see Mad Men for confirmation).

When I was about 3 or 4 years old this pin was one of the most fascinating things in my mother’s wardrobe. The flower was designed like a wheel with spokes and at the end of each “spoke” was a different colored stone. There were layers of these spokes in different lengths overlapping each other in 3D. I remember holding the pin in my hand and feeling all the stones and the metal.
One layer of spokes did not have any stones on it. As I looked at it, I remember thinking that I didn’t like those spokes since they had no color. So, I tried pulling off one of those spokes. To my surprise, it came of easily, in a nice, clean crisp way. I continued around the pin, removing all the spokes without stones.  You couldn’t really see where the spoke had come off because the next layer of spokes hid the stub. My little fingers were able to get in to the center very nimbly. Around the outside were some other adornments in silver. I started snapping those off one by one as well. When I was done, I had a mound of spare parts and a smaller more compact pin bursting with color. My mother came by just then and saw what I was doing. When I noticed her looking at the pin, it only then occurred to me that what I was doing might not be okay.  I saw the look of shock on her face as her eyes moved from the pin, to the spare parts, and then to me. I thought I was done for and began to cry. To my great surprise and disbelief, she smiled and looked at the pin and said, "You know, I like it better that way."  She pinned it to one of her coats and wore it proudly for years.
I give my mother a lot of credit for that moment. I never did anything like that again, but I grew ever more comfortable studying and imagining new possibilities as I looked through her jewelry. I solidified my lifelong love of and interest in jewelry. And it confirmed for me that even if I didn’t know how to make jewelry, I could make any piece better.  I often pull out old pieces that I’m tired of and switch around the stones or turn earrings into pendants, etc.   Look out jewelry designers. I own a pair of needle nose pliers and I’m not afraid to use them!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Fashion trends & jewelry.. they're buddies

Are you a jewelry designer that doesnt follow fashion  trends. Well if you arent you making a BIG mistake.
This season he trend forecasters are saying these are some of the big items:
Color blocking
Tangerine specifically pantone: Specifically Tangerine Tango
Platform heels
Colorful jeans
Neon anything
Now im not saying to go out and make  collection completely using neon if its not in your wheelhouse.  but if tangerine is the hot color maybe think about all metal designs to off the the juicy tangerine. Wouldnt gold flatter this way better than silver or brass. If you are selling direct to the customer either on a ur own website/etsy/storefront or shows/festivals, you can maybe turn a blind eye to some trends, your customers will usually tell you what they are looking for.
But if you are selling via any other retailer those buyers are aware of what is on the horizon and if your pieces dont fit with their vision on next season they wont order no matter how cute they think your stuff is. Press wont talk about it period if it wont fit their page layout.

Remember that season that all of a sudden womens shirts went from long and floppy arms to 3/4 sleeves. I can bet that jewelry designers were selling tons of bracelets for those all of a sudden naked forearms. For those who were prepared, i bet had a fabulous season.
Or a couple of winters ago when scarves become the go to accessory indoors and out. Of course! nobody was buying necklaces for day because they all had lovely scarves covering up thier necklines!
And keep in mind most people arent as adventerous with their accessories, as much as fashion editors may want you to think that. I see bright day-glo jeans at the gap with that lovely printed top. I bet most are not pairing with that dayglo necklace but probably just an all metal option or  simple earrings .

But designers big or small should be aware of what is out there and try to figure out what thier target audeince will be leaning towards in the upcoming season. No one want to put thier heart and soul into a collection only to have it rejected b/c everyone is just looking for turquiose...or not


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Color of Memory

Growing up, my mother’s jewelry box was always a source of awe and wonder for me. I’m sure many women have the same fascination – if not with their mother’s jewelry maybe their grandmother’s, aunt’s or older sister’s collection. If you’re like me, opening that jewelry box felt like peeking into someone’s diary or reading their memoir. Each piece had a history and told a story. Every necklace was a memento of a special event. The earrings were heady splurges of extra pocket money. The bracelets were gifts from treasured friends and relations. And the rings – the rings were where things really got interesting.   As seen only through their jewelry, the owner was no longer the everyday person you knew who did laundry, cooked meals or plodded through the daily grind.  Anyone’s life could seem mysterious, romantic and magical when told only through their jewelry, no matter how humble the collection. The ordinary wiped away, and only the precious, shining moments remained.

My mother's jewelry box - since 1965!!  Still in pristine condition.
My mother met and married my father in the late 50s and early 60s.  Unless you lived through that time, you might think the world was lived in black and white, literally.  It wasn’t even until the mid-1960’s when television shows were broadcast in color (there was that one year somewhere in the mid-1960s when Gilligan, Jeannie and Samantha all suddenly appeared in color.  That’s when the 60's really started swinging).  Almost all my mom’s wedding photos and any other photos from her years before being a wife and mom were in black and white.  The only exception was one photo from her engagement party.  She and my Dad were standing side by side, he in a grey suit, she in a deep blue dress, with red lipstick, both looking happy and eager to start a new life.  She wore a beautiful gold necklace with round blue and green stones.  The earrings were dangly with the same stones, a petite precursor to today’s chandelier models.

I always looked for that necklace and earrings in her jewelry box but never saw them.  One day I noticed she had some jewelry boxes in the top drawer of her dresser.  There was one flat rectangular shaped box that caught my eye.  It was like an old cigarette case or like a mini piece of hard sided luggage.  I asked my mom to show it to me.  She opened one side and I saw a familiar necklace/earring set she would wear on Sundays sometimes.  Then I noticed that the case had a second latch – a secret compartment!!  The bottom side of the case also opened and there hidden away was the necklace and earrings I’d always seen in the picture – even more beautiful in real life!!  I asked why she never wore it.  She said something about it being too flashy or showy to wear everyday, even though they were just costume.    More likely, I think she kept it squirreled away because she didn’t want to have any other memories associated with it, just that one special perfect day – a day that stood out like Dorothy’s travels through Oz in a world of black and white.  It became our special thing to go to her room and look at her jewelry together, me dreaming of a bejeweled future, she remembering her colorful past.