Fashion Facets

TO CARVE A JEWEL

An exhibit of jewelry by renowned Italian artist Gio Pomodoro will be at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, N.Y., though April 26.

Pomodoro has returned to jewelry after 20 years as a sculptor. His jewelry evokes a vague, unidentifiable feeling of archaeology, yet he considers his pieces to be art for everyone. The artist combines materials such as gold and bone fragments, according to a model of cultural democracy that relies more on the concepts of beauty than rarity and wealth.

Some pieces in the exhibit are one-of-a-kind, others are available commercially.

The exhibit is underwritten by Uno a Erre. For details, call the institute at (212) 760-7700.

FASHION DESIGNER FEATURES PEARL LINE

Fashion designer Oscar de la Renta not only does it with style, he does it with real style. To accent his spring collection of chiffon, velvet and coat-and-dress combinations, he commissioned Salvador Assael of Assael International, New York, N.Y., to design a full line of South Sea pearl chokers, ropes and matinee length strands and earrings.

The jewelry includes Australian white cultured pearls, Tahitian black pearls and Indonesian golden pearls. Necklaces will be $150,000 to $3 million retail, earrings will be $15,000 to $200,000, reports Women’s Wear Daily.

Oscar de la Renta, 550 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10018; (212) 354-6777, fax (212) 768-9110.

LIGHT MY FIRE

With ceremony and home entertaining back in style, candleholders are the perfect accent for a well-dressed table.

Today’s homemakers have found that flickering candles are one of the quickest and easiest ways to add atmosphere to a party or private dinner a deux. In fact, candle sales are estimated at about $1 billion annually, according to House & Garden magazine. The good news for jewelers is that all those candles need candleholders. Silver, crystal or fine ceramic candleholders, candle snuffers or candle trays are an excellent opportunity for gift sales.

For the artisticly minded, an exhibit of functional and sculptural art candlesticks from 28 artisan members of the Society of American Silversmiths is on display through May 25 at the Indiana University Museum of Art in Bloomington, Ind. For information, call the museum at (812) 855-5445.

MOSS GROWN FOND OF STONES

In a recent issue of British Vogue, three top models were asked to pose in their own clothes, depicting their own styles. They were allowed no stylists, no designers, nothing but their own taste.

Kate Moss chose to wear nothing but a pair of 18th century Spanish emerald and gold earrings.

Gotta love her! The “überwaif” (whose appearance regularly gets blamed for anorexia, heroin use and declining shampoo sales) has more clothes than most of us will ever see, but she said none were things she wanted remembered as her style. “Clothes go in and out of fashion, but style has to be classic,” she told Vogue. “Jewelry is eternal. It never goes out of fashion. It’ll always be there. My mum has always said to me that when she dies, I’ll be all right because I’ll get the jewelry.”

Some of Moss’s favorite pieces include a pair of 19th century diamond flowerpot earrings and an Art Deco diamond eternity ring, a gift from her boyfriend. It was, in fact, the ring that got her hooked on gems.

Like many consumers today, Moss is trying to wean herself from buying things that are “in” and instead spend money on items she considers investments, such as houses, vintage couture and jewelry.

Despite all the clothes a girl could wish for, Moss says the main ingredient of her style is “jewelry, jewelry and more jewelry.” But to avoid exposure to the elements, she usually adds a pair of jeans and a turtleneck.

On a separate note of interest, supermodel and Chanel face-of-the-moment Stella Tennant also posed for the layout. She chose a pair of corduroy jeans, a push-up bra and a bezel-set diamond solitaire necklace.

DON’T CRY FOR ME

Fashion experts are predicting the movie Evita will have a significant impact on style this spring and fall. Indeed, it’s already affecting jewelry design.

Erwin Pearl, le grand joaillier faux, has just introduced an Evita-inspired collection of Austrian crystal and European glass pearl jewelry. Pearl says his collection is not a line-for-line reproduction of Señora Peron’s jewelry. It’s inspired by her collection but created in more wearable forms. Available at Erwin Pearl boutiques and Neiman Marcus.

DESIGN FIND

Samuel Shaw is inspired by the form, texture, color and relationships of the beach stones of his native Maine. He was fascinated with the stones at an early age and took that fascination with him to college, where he earned a degree in geology, then to work, where he applied his love of art to making jewelry.

Shaw often mixes beach stones with fossils and gems to heighten awareness of their common ancestry. He says the combination of the stones’ visual appeal and an understanding of the forces of nature that create them are what drive his curiosity and excitement when he works.

“Consider that pure geometric forms and smooth shapes can be the result of a brutal and chaotic environment found on an ocean beach … The urge to pick up beautiful, rounded pebbles is almost universal. Many people walk away from the beach with a hard round memory in their pocket. It is my hope that my jewelry evokes such memories.”

Shaw Contemporary Jewelry/Contemporary Furniture, Main St., Northeast Harbor, ME 04662; (207) 276-5000.

DESIGN FIND

Mignon Faget’s heritage is as deep and rich as the jewelry collections that are legendary in her native New Orleans. The maternal side of Faget’s family escaped to New Orleans during the French Revolution; her paternal ancestors were plantation owners in the French West Indies. Mignon herself, descended from five generations of physicians, is steeped in the culture and traditions of her birthplace.

Her formal training in the arts began at Sophie Newcomb College of Tulane University, where she received a bachelor of arts degree with a concentration in sculpture. She furthered her studies at l’Atelier de la Grande Chaumiere in Paris and the Parsons School of Design in New York City. In 1969, she introduced her first ready-to-wear collection in New Orleans; boutiques and specialty stores around the country picked up the collection, as well as subsequent collections.

“I was stimulated to explore what might be the perfect belt, pin or necklace to finish the look and pull it together. Designing and crafting the perfect accessory led to my first jewelry forms. Since then, jewelry has become my all-consuming interest in the field of design,” she explains.

From the beginning of her jewelry career, Faget has worked closely with natural forms, never simply duplicating but always extracting the substance and the essence of a particular shape and refining it to perfection.

“As children, we all saw wonderful shapes and patterns in nature. But once we learned the names of things, the shapes became obscured. In that sense, the process of unlearning is as important to me as learning … When I reduce nature’s forms to the least common denominator, I discover endless design possibilities. A garden snail reveals itself as the way a domed ring might look; a spiny crab claw suggests a pendant, intriguing to the eye and to the touch.”

To sophisticated New Orleanders, Faget’s designs are a status symbol and collector’s item. To date, she has created more than 30 collections of jewelry, each with a certain theme and feeling. In the old European style, Faget’s workshop has been above her retail shop. But this spring, she will move her administrative offices and workshop into a historic bank building. Mignon Faget Ltd., 710 Dublin St., New Orleans, LA 70118; (504) 865-1107.

DESIGN FIND

When Margaret and Douglas Elliott took their honeymoon in Paris just 18 months ago, they spent a lot of time doing what most honeymooning couples do – talking about their hopes, their dreams and the future they will build.

But the jewelry designer and the architectural historian also did what honeymooning couples don’t necessarily do – they went into almost every neighborhood on foot, exploring architectural details, sculptural elements and gardens, as well as scouring every corner of the city from flea markets to the finest jewelry salons.

After Paris, the Elliotts tried to capture the same spirit by walking around New York City, this time accompanied by their chocolate Labrador, Max. Eventually, their romantic collaboration gave birth to a jewelry design firm. Douglas, a diamond dealer, had been creating classic fine jewelry for years, and it was he who stressed that comfort was imperative in fine jewelry. Margaret, with marketing expertise gained from her manufacturer’s representative firm STYLE, recognized a market for contemporary jewelry with timeless design and value. Their jewelry combines a flavor of Medieval romance and practicality and design of today.

Elliott, 225 Fifth Ave., Suite 1201, New York, NY 10010; (212) 262-4191.