There was something special about veteran wedding dress designer Ines Di Santo’s runway show last Friday: Held during of New York City’s twice-yearly Bridal Market (also known as New York Bridal Fashion Week), the 27 gowns were all accessorized with fashion jewelry created by the Toronto-based designer herself in partnership with New York City costume jeweler Ciner.
“They were a wonderful fit because of their talent and experience and many years in the industry,” says Di Santo of the fourth-generation designer and manufacture, whom she partnered with on the suggestion of her assistant designer. “We had just one meeting with them, and everything came together. They understood my vision.”
Ciner and Di Santo were so in sync that it took just six months to produce the jewels, from concept to completion.
It helped that Di Santo had a strong inspiration point: the theme of her fall 2019 wedding gown collection—a modern interpretation of the iconic Norse fairy tale “East of the Sun West of the Moon” expressed in icicle-like beading, cascading snowdrop florals, and mountains of ethereal lace.
From the motifs—ornate birdcages, sculptural flowers, feathers, and bows—to the colors and abundant sparkle, the jewelry does have a fairy tale vibe. It’s not haute joaillerie, but it has a couture sensibility in keeping with Di Santo’s standing in the bridal fashion world; she is considered one of its top practitioners of luxurious and lavishly detailed dresses, whether it’s a matelassé ball gown paired with an organza opera coat or a plunging V-neck trumpet sheath done in French lace with dramatic beading and a detachable cape.
An aviary of birds and birdcages help convey the fragility and the beauty of the natural world. Di Santo says birds represent freedom to her. “Rules are not for me, I do not like rules,” she says, noting that all of the birds in the jewelry collection are freed from their cages.
Cocktail rings dangle miniature egg-shaped minaudières, just big enough for a tube of lipstick, a love note, or a special photo. Pops of color flit across the pieces in shades of red, soft blues, and a spectrum of pink, peach, and rose-gold hues. “The beautiful blue color echoes the sky, and I believe the color pink is good luck,” says Di Santo.
Handmade in 18k gold plate and rhodium, the jewelry is detailed with pavé stones, antique glass flowers, and enamel; prices start at $300.
Top: A single earring highlights the cold-shoulder sleeves of this Ines Di Santo look from the designer’s fall 2019 bridal runway (photo courtesy of Firstview).