At lunch one day about five years ago at Trump Tower, I saw the mold of a bracelet that literally blew my mind. I turned to Ward Kelvin, then still a designer at David Yurman, and predicted: "Ward you are going to be famous one day!"
And if not exactly famous yet, he's certainly on the 18kt brick road to eponymous success; late last week his fine jewelry collection debuted at Bergdorf Goodman, and yes, even in this economy, someone snapped up one of his major piece$. Considered (for now) an "unknown" designer, for more than a decade Ward has actually been creating designs that have brought unparalleled recognition to others: 100 jeweled compacts for Estee Lauder, including the ever so fab and coveted "Golden Compact" collections; the iconic Atlas collection for Tiffany & Co.; and very close collaboration with David Yurman and his wife Sybil on many of the their brilliant luxury jewelry designs.
"My talent, I suppose, is my ability to design comprehensive collections," acknowledges Ward. "I had a few basic criteria for myself. I knew that I wanted to come up with a concept that had a sense of the familiar. Something classic and feminine that would resonate with a discerning woman. I knew that due to the fact that I'm self-funding this venture on a shoe string, I needed to distinguish myself based on the ingenuity, cleverness and beauty of the design...as opposed to an emphasis on gemstones and store-bought components. l also realized that, for me, it would be tough to enter and compete in the world of bohemian "cool downtown" looking jewelry and, for that matter, mass jewelry."
By creating "big" editorial pieces first, Ward was able to really put his (limited) money where his mouth was. The first piece he designed was the Butterfly Cuff (the mold of which I previewed), followed by about a dozen more. Collection in hand, he sufficiently impressed Bergdorf Goodman - a store that is truly special in being able to recognize unique collections & emerging talent - and a short time later, the Ward Kelvin collection debuted.
"I decided that the collection was going to be an updated reference to 1930's Hollywood Regency and the playful Chinoiserie interiors of the era," he continues. "I also grew up in house in Great Neck, Long Island that had a very 1970's modern chinoiserie aesthetic. The signature features of the collection are 18k bamboo free-form lattice designs. I want to create big looks that have an openness and lightness to them." Clearly its his understanding of materials coupled with taste, plus knowing what end users expect, want and desire that will differentiate Ward Kelvin from the scores of other aspiring jewelers.Available at Bergdorf Goodman NYC. For more info, visit WardKelvin.com.
- Michelyn Camen
Fashiontribes Editor-at-Large Michelyn Camen is a New York City based writer and consultant who is a former Brandweek Marketer of the Year and Ad Age 100 recipient. She slipped off her power suit to pursue her passion for beauty and fragrance. Camen is a fragrance specialist and the owner of FifthSense N.Y.C., where she consults for niche luxury, fashion, beauty and fragrance companies. She is an Editor for Fragrantica.com, the Fragrance Editor for UptownSocial.net, the former Senior Contributing Writer for Sniffapalooza Magazine, the former New in Niche Columnist for Basenotes and was the Editorial Director for Beauty News NYC & LA. Email her at email@example.com or Michelyn AT Fashiontribes DOT com.
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