homemade luxe goes deluxe...clockwise starting at top left: Yarborough cashmere and wool bangles; Lizzie Fortunato Jewels necklace made from brass, vintage ribbon, buttons and beads; gold-plated metal and enamel necklace by Tuleste Market; top right - vintage pearl, Austrian crystal, brass rings, stone bead, and Austrian crystal necklace by Subversive Jewelry; bottom group - Made Her Think resin & silk brooch; AND_i Swarovski pearl and acrylic necklace; aluminum, Perspex, crystal and plastic pearl necklaces by Florian Jewelry; Lia Sophia's enamel and crystal cuffs (bottom group). Styling by Shoshanna Fischhoff & photos by Thomas Iannaccone via WWD
Who hasn’t fallen in love with the fabulously craftsy, non-precious statement jewelry featured on so many runways and fashion spreads – with its charming handmade-to-rough-hewn look…but then noticed the decidedly non-charming prices, and thought: I could do that?! As easy as designers like Dries Van Noten make it look, there is actually evidence that you get what you pay for as this A-for-Effort-but... DIY necklace project proves:
In some cases, it may even cost the same as traditional bling – more than $20,000 for some one-of-a-kind runway pieces by Subversive Jewelry crafted from silk, cotton, quartz, glass pearls, Lucite beads and chunky turquoise – the less serious, often whimsical aesthetic is a large part of the appeal. "A 2-carat diamond on a white gold ring is a very clear statement, and a double wooden necklace from me does not say the same thing," explains furniture designer and video artist Florian Ladstätter in a recent piece in WWD, whose Florian Jewelry line incorporates glass, plastic, and crystal beading – and retails for between $200 to $2000 (for one-of-a-kind). "It's a different buyer, someone interested in art and the crafts of things. These kinds of pieces need a personality from the wearer that is more curious for something fresh, not too serious, but still chic."
Many of the craftsy jewelry designers rely on found materials and other relatively affordable components – such as wool, wood, spools of thread, feathers, lace, chiffon, leather, brass, glass, ribbons, buttons – and often retool vintage accessories into something wearably modern. “The concept of the design is more valuable than the sum of the materials," explains Subversive designer and former painter Justin Giunta, who most recently collaborated with Target. "And by lending my aesthetic to something like Target, I can maintain the integrity of my own line. I think what this type of jewelry is doing is challenging the established institutions, the preconceptions of what is beautiful. It doesn't have to be all about precious materials."
Other craftsy-chic designers to check out:
Made her Think An Old Navy alum, designer Meredith Kahn’s line has been seen on Angelina Jolie, David Beckham and Kate Hudson. "There's so much fun to be had, because you can do so much more in terms of exploring a piece when you don't have to worry about diamonds and gold. You can be more playful, more tongue-in-cheek with these pieces.” Prices range from $50 - $600
Tuleste Market Known for beefy brass and copper bracelets and necklaces plated in rose gold and gold, with hammered metal pendants. "We had an eye for a collection that someone who doesn't have a ton of money can buy,” notes co-founder Celeste Greenberg, “but someone who does have money will want because it looks so chic.” Prices start at $100.
Tom Binns A longtime fashion-insider fave whose
shabby-chic rhinestone and chain necklaces are sold at steep, non-shabby prices, his recent neon No Time watches have sparked quite the buzz in the fashion blogosphere, with everyone trying to figure out how to DIY the DIY-look...but without the end resulting looking too DIY.
Yarborough Jewelry This Gen Art Fresh Faces in Fashion 2007 winner crafts fun but fabulous necklaces from spools of thread, decoratively tied ribbons, and makes fun cocktail rings sporting the shrunken contents of a rotating diner dessert case: kiwi-topped tarts, ice-cream sundaes, cherry pies, chocolate layer cakes, and fluffy lemon merengue pies with a slice missing. "In the same way that clothes should be comfortable and let you move around, jewelry should also be casual and fun," explains Elizabeth Yarborough who, not surprisingly, admits to being the kind of child that repurposed Christmas ornaments into earrings. "I want my pieces to engage with the wearer, really get incorporated into daily life." Price range: $50- $600
Lizzie Fortunato Jewels Headbands with beading, collar necklaces, and even pieces with vintage poker chips made from whalebone (sourced in Uruguay), twin sisters Lizzie and Kathryn recently had their designs featured at a swanky Soho loft party attended by “it” types including Annabelle Dexter-Jones and Alexandra Richards. "It's about feminizing a masculine look," Fortunato says Lizzie Fortunato, "but also creating statement pieces that someone can wear to a big event and feel just as elegant as if they were wearing fancy stones." Prices range from $60 - $600 (photo via Daily Candy)
AND_i by Viennese goldsmith Andreas Eberharter who approaches his unconventional designs with a sculptor’s eye, crafting eyepoppingly large necklaces, masks, and neckpieces from aluminium, acrylic, and glass. Price range: $100 - $600
Gemma Redux While studying for the New York Bar exam, Rachel Dooley discovered a talent for combining industrial metals and vintage materials into eyecatching tangles of stainless steel and silver chains studded with “reconstructed” pinpong ball-like spheres of pale green turquoise; bib necklaces made from draped gunmetal chains accented with small beads of lemon jade; and tangled drapey chain earrings with a hanging line of green chrysophrase beads resembling the contents of a peapod. “The pieces are designed to appear organic and free-form when worn,” explains the former industrial designer about the handcrafted, one-of-a-kind pieces. Prices range from $150-$300
- Lesley Scott
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