Kate Lagos (pictured) was 8 years old when she unwittingly glimpsed her future. As the daughter of Philadelphia-based jeweler Steven Lagos, who founded his eponymous jewelry brand in 1977, she happened across a silhouette of a butterfly on her dad’s desk and drew the wings. She didn’t know it yet, but the ensuing silver collection, named Katie’s Butterflies, was a harbinger of collaborations to come.
Today, Kate, who turns 30 in September, is Lagos’ brand stylist—though working in the family business wasn’t a foregone conclusion. “I was always interested in fashion and accessories, shoes, bags,” she told JCK on a recent video call. “And I wanted to do something within that realm, but I didn’t see myself here. My parents never put any pressure on me, they always encouraged me to do anything I was interested in. Seeing my dad have this amazing business that he started himself, it was a little intimidating.”
Six years ago, after she graduated from college, Kate overcame her reluctance and applied for a visual coordinator position at Lagos. The role involved the physical display of jewelry in cases and counters. The styling and merchandising experience she gained paved the way to her current position.
During the Zoom call, Kate put her styling expertise to work. She wore a bevy of Lagos’ newest gold jewels, including a pair of earrings from the 3-year-old KSL collection she collaborated on with her father (technically, her second codesigned collection, after Katie’s Butterflies).
“I’ve been following a layering trend within earrings, and I got another hole added so I could wear these,” she said as she leaned in to show off the new KSL convertible chain hoop earring on her ear, which converts into three different earring styles. “We always try to have a lot of versatility in our portfolio. We’re focusing on comfort, lots of movement, and adding dimension.”
Below, Kate discusses the newest styles in the KSL collection, the success of the brand’s Smart Caviar line of Apple Watch bracelets (featuring Lagos’ signature Caviar beading), and why layering and versatility are key this season.
What’s the KSL collection all about?
It really started with a silhouette. I like sharp corners, geometrical shapes, and architecture, and traveling is a big inspiration. I brought a silhouette of a pyramid with a sharp edge to my dad and said I wanted to design this piece, so we started with an earring. The collection started out mainly two-tone, linear, open, and airy. I was playing with scale, more lightweight pieces. And then we added some sparkle—because who doesn’t like diamonds?
What distinguishes KSL from other Lagos collections?
It’s a more youthful look, a bit edgier, and integrates really nicely with the other pieces we have. The collection has gold, silver, and diamonds, and prices range from about $300 to $4,500.
What’s new in the way of Lagos’ other gold collections this year?
Lagos is all about gold for this season, in many different colors. The silhouettes are more delicate and romantic, and the pieces are lighter but still add texture. Our Covet collection necklace has a rose-cut diamond, not the traditional diamond cut you see. And our Caviar rings come with an onyx option (we’re playing with black and gold).
For KSL, we have four new pieces: Two are earrings, playing with lots of movement. We’re following a layering trend with earrings, just like we’ve been layering our necklaces. I wanted to integrate smaller-scale pieces that could work well with other pieces, like this KSL ear crawler [below].
What are some general gold trends you’re banking on for the fourth quarter?
As we get closer into holiday, we’re playing with lots of dimension and texture. For all our pieces, we want them to feel like a second skin. We have lots of link options. And our ceramic collections are really popular, so we brought it together with gold.
Lastly, to come full circle, talking about gold, we are launching our rose gold Smart Caviar, the first fine jewelry watch bracelet for the Apple Watch. We launched this in 2018 and had many people ask about a band that matches the rose gold Apple Watch case. We now have a solid rose gold with diamonds case, as well as stainless steel and rose gold case.
Is there an overarching gold trend this year you would urge retailers to embrace?
I wouldn’t say there’s one. It really depends on the woman, and what she gravitates to. Overall, I’m thinking about something that’s very layerable, something small and delicate, playing with versatility, so being able to dress up and down.
How have your styling sessions changed since the pandemic?
Prepandemic, I would go to stores depending on where our trunks were, and we’d bring specialty product that wasn’t in case. I’d get to work with customers one-on-one, do a demonstration. That was, and is, my favorite part of the job. I’m a people person.
We’ve been doing everything virtually. We’ve actually been able to reach a broader audience, doing it three times in a day right here in our corporate office. I’ve done one-on-one appointments with customers being at the store and even being at home.
Do you ask them to show you what’s in their jewelry boxes?
I don’t have to. Because they just bring it. I’ve had customers who’ve had photos printed out of all their pieces, showing me all the jewelry they have. We almost don’t get to show them the new collection because they’re so busy telling me their stories. It’s something special because they’re at home, and we’re able to have that experience.
Lastly, is there a styling or merchandising mistake you often see people make?
The way you are styling yourself, there are no wrong ways to do that. As a stylist, I give tips you can use or not use. I get questions like: How many bracelets should I wear on my wrist? Anything that makes you feel confident, you should go with it. We have this saying, “My Lagos My Way.” There’s no wrong way to wear our product.Follow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
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