JCKonline Exclusive: A Wardrobe For Warriors

When
Katey Brunini launched a 23-piece collection of survival-gear-inspired
body armor (yes, think Xena) at Roseark in West Hollywood last December,
the affair was like a kooky belated Halloween party complete with
costumed guests, a steel drum band, and a modern-day female shaman who
blessed the line. Brunini knew the collection was eye-catching—“ All of
my pieces are meant to be conversational,” she told JCK in a
phone interview—and that the concept was as unconventional as one can be
(sterling falconer’s gauntlet, anyone?), but little did she know just
how much demand could exist for people looking to channel their inner
warriors.

So
that night, after selling out of earrings (ranging in price from
$1,200–2,400), and selling a $13,500 18k gold neck with a carved
moose-antler motif, Brunini expanded the line for Jewelry Week in Las
Vegas, upping the number of SKUs to 62 total.

No stranger to bold design, Brunini’s Body Armor collection marks the
final chapter in her Shapes of Strength series, which also includes
Vertebrae and Spirit Animals. The goal of Body Armor is to strengthen
and inspire women with virile images like horns that are found in
nature. Some non-natural symbols—sundials, shin guards, gauntlets, and a
breastplate (in the works)—offer a more literal interpretation of her
theme. The story line behind the designs is inspired by a fictional tale
from Brunini’s vivid imagination: a sailoress from New Zealand and her
travels, including encounters with Maori symbols like the fish hook.
Ebony wood, buffalo horn, fire-blasted sterling silver (to give items a
red, purplish-blue hue), 18k gold, and sprinklings of sapphires help
tell the warrior tale and offer a range of price points—from $350 for a
pendant to a $13,125 shin guard.

The pieces represent “hope and opportunity that are born from life’s
catastrophes, and physical reminders to stand up for what we believe
in,” Brunini told the press.

So
far, a number of smaller cuffs have sold, but no takers yet on shin
guards, save for Brunini herself who wears them to parties in LA. The
response evoked? “People want to know more,” says a Brunini
spokesperson.

K. Brunini Jewels, Solana Beach, Calif.; 858-259-8779; kbrunini.com