Monday, September 19, 2011

Q&A with Kathryn of Lizzie Fortunato Jewels

Magic Theatre chiffon feather and rhinestone bib $485

In anticipation of our Fall 2011 shipment of Lizzie Fortunato Jewels, we did a short interview with Kathryn, one half of the twin-sister team behind the statement jewelry line. Find out what inspired this magical collection, plus the sisters' favorite food hotspots in New York! And stop by soon to see it all, LFJ always flies out of here fast!

Oh Pioneer braided leather necklace w/typewriter rings $180 and bracelet $210

We sensed a Grey Gardens-meets-fortune-teller-at-desert-sunset feeling in this collection. Were there any films, characters, or artists that were particularly inspiring for fall?

Good intuition there! Yes there was a key character who inspired FW11 and funny enough, she wasn't a 21st century "it" girl but rather Isabella Bird, a British, 19th century naturalist who famously covered 800 miles of the Rocky Mountains on horseback. Instead of sitting side-saddle (as was "proper" for women of her day), Bird rode frontwards like a man - she was an explorer and a pioneer in more ways than one.

For FW11, Lizzie Fortunato Jewels returned to the American West, drawing on the history of strong pioneer women, astrology and Native American beading to produce our largest collection to date (spanning from their recognized bibs - this time adorned with feathers and chiffon flowers - to metallic hand-braided belts, and purses of pony hair, leather and hand-beading). Lizzie found herself creating beaded and fringed necklaces reminiscent of Indian medicine bags, oversized brass pendants woven with leather fringe, and flat, think brass bangles etched with constellation and zodiac patterns.

The Gypsy hand-embroidered floral clutch w/tassel $425 and Crystal Ball sequined clutch w/tassel $405

Were there any special or limited materials that you were excited to work with?

We are working a lot more in bronze which is a beautiful metal - especially when left unplated - so our "Constellation" Bangles were a really exciting new style for us - partly because of the silhouette and also because of the heavy, gorgeous metal. It really gives the "strong" feel that the collection embodies (it's made for proud women!). We also continue to work with a few great production centers in India - where we've been traveling a lot recently - to develop hand beaded and embroidered purses, clutches and neck scarves. The neck scarves are new for us and are the perfect fall scarf / necklace hybrid! They have a great latch and a natural hang that makes it feel like you're wearing the perfectly wrapped scarf. The hand beading and embroidery is all done by hand and is impeccable; it's exciting to know that we're supporting a handicraft (beading done on looms by hand) that might otherwise be quickly fading.

Northern Lights sequined neckscarf $415 and Maroon Bells hand-embroidered neck scarf $415

You guys always seem to incorporate your travels into your work-- tell us about your most recent trip!

Lizzie traveled out west to Montana right before designing the collection. That certainly planted the seed for the vast / Western / pioneering / natural landscape and imagery that existed throughout the FW11 "Old Laughing Lady" collection. And of course our recent trip(s) to India never cease to be inspiring - and productive!

Talisman suede beaded tassel necklace $390

Do you guys ever feel that a psychic twin-sister connection plays a role in your business?

I'm not sure you'd call it "psychic" but we're certainly often on the same wavelength! We think alike and finish each other's sentences all the time (seriously, our friends think it's scary!) Despite that, we actually are very different - Lizzie is the creative artist and I'm the numbers side of the operation. It's great to have both built into our sister business team!

Trailblazer knotted cord, leather, and chain necklace $380

And most importantly...What is your favorite spot to eat in New York?

This is the best question! We're addicted to the steak tacos and grapefruit margaritas at Barrio Chino (Broome and Orchard streets in the Lower East Side). And for a Sunday supper of Italian (what else?) our go to's are Bianca (Bleeker and Elizabeth Street, Noho) and Frankie Sputino in Brooklyn. The list goes on though, we love trying new places!

♡♡♡ Thanks so much, Kathryn! ♡♡♡

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