MontageArt: Abstract Portrait of a Brazilian Fashion Jeweler

Montageart "African" collection jewelry. Image Montageart.

Montageart African Necklace. Image Montageart.

 

I have a deep love for the way in which Brazilian artists and designers see the world. Having studied 5 years in Brazil, I was able to get a sense of fashion trends, learn about popular fashion designers, take in how they interpret popular and folk cultural inspirations and follow their fashion week coverage. Beyond this, I have such an appreciation for the jewelry created by indigenous Brazilians, as well as, by artists with brands or even those that can be bought on a beach or roadside.  I ran across the brand Montageart recently, and decided they’d be a fit for the blogazine. They are beyond creative and this is evident in both their jewelry line and artistic home decor and lighting. They had me at the gigantic necklace they created as wall decor! The artist’s definition of Montage is “a combination of images taken from any number of media (photographs, film, and handmade). These images can be whole or partial, glued together on a surface (such as a photomontage), or edited together to produce a video or film” (arthistory.about.com).  When one gazes at their pieces, they can begin to understand why they chose this name. They create with each piece, a sort of an accessories collage. Their necklaces and bracelets are very editorial but also textural. Their work has been featured in Brazilian Cosmopolitan, Estilo, Shape, Elle and on well known figures.

Montageart jewelry in Shape Brazil.

Montageart jewelry in Shape Brazil.

 

I was instantly drawn to their armor style modern, but earthy mesh pieces. These oversized examples have such style and fashion references as well.  Some of my favorite designs can be seen below. You can also browse more of their creative process and jewelry examples via their instagram.

mesh necklace Montageart

Amazing montageart headdress via https://instagram.com/loo_ana/

Amazing montageart headdress via https://instagram.com/loo_ana/

The Interview:

When did you begin making jewelry and why?

We started in 2002 as a hobby, when we realized that we could turn it into a business. Eduardo is an architect and I (Alex) am a graphic designer. Today, we work as designers for Montageart. We discovered that people had been looking for accessories to mix with their jewelry in order to create unique looks. We then started selling as this aesthetic became a trend, incorporating such vintage pieces. We were sort of in the right place at the right time. Our strength is in the mix of materials and the superposition of layers without limits.

Vietnam collection image. Montageart.

Vietnam collection image. Montageart.

Vietnam collection 2015. Montageart.

Vietnam collection 2015. Montageart.

What are some of the things you look to for inspiration each season?

Our latest collection was inspired on Vietnam. We have always researched diverse cultural groups and have chosen a few of these as a theme for some of our collections. However, we are not limited to such inspiration. We have used different themes such as bees, travel, etc.

Montageart bee necklaces. image by Montageart.

Montageart bee necklaces. image by Montageart.

Explain your process for design and construction?

We have a sort of intuitive process during the construction of the pieces. We always try to be attentive to what is happening. Also, taking into account the attitude and wide diversity of the people who wear our jewelry. We keep an open mind and don’t get caught up in trends, but we do pay attention to them. 

Montageart image, large decorative necklace wall art.

Montageart image, large decorative necklace wall art.

What were some of your favorite creations so far?

Besides accessories we created a brand of objects for home decor. Sort of decor out of objects, right now our favorite is a large “collar” made to decorate the wall.  

Does Brazil inspire your designs in any way?

Yes, but not solely. As it was mentioned before, we are always open to new ideas and contrasts. Again, with no limits.

What are some of your favorite materials to work with?

Many. We really like textile treads in general, crystals, rough stones, and metals- which we also dye. We are constantly experimenting with new materials.

Fashion inspirations current or past?

We like a lot Karl Lagerfeld, Manish Arora, Vivienne Westwood, Miucha Prada. Among Brazilian designers, Antonio Bernardo and Amir Slama…

Who are your jewelry icons, maybe a brand you look up to, styles 1920s, art deco, 1970s, Victorian?

Miriam Haskell ,YSL Bijoux, Cartier, Paco Rabanne, 1920s/art deco  jewelry, antique pieces, tribal/ethnic jewelry. We are always doing research look not only to the history of the accessory, but decoration, art etc.

Tiaras Off To Sotheby’s: The Magnificent and Nobel Jewels Auction

The Burmese Ruby, Jean Schlumberger paure, 1930s Cartier tiara and 19th century tiara necklace from Mary's collection. Finally the pink diamond ring. Sotheby's press images.

The Burmese Ruby, Jean Schlumberger paure, 1930s Cartier tiara and 19th century tiara necklace from Mary’s collection. Finally the pink diamond ring. Sotheby’s press images.

May 12 Sotheby’s will present a treasure trove of jewelry to fit a queen or king! There will be a total of 5 Tiaras of nobel origin, as well as amazing rare gemstones.  The viewings have started in Geneva and we are releasing images of some of the most important pieces like the Historic Pink Diamond an 8.72 carat and the blood red Burmese ruby The Sunrise Ruby, over 25 carats.  The pink diamond is is rumored to have been part of the collection of Princess Mathilde, a niece of Napoleon. Yet, the jewelry lover/ historian in me would be very curious to see the entire selection of historic pieces by Cartier, in person-all from a private collection. The French designs represented like the Jean Schlumberger parure, circa 1960s are also quite interesting.

Maybe most intriguing to me, would be the tiaras formerly owned by Mary Duchess of Roxburghe, granddaughter of the Rothschild heiress Hanna. She was divorced in 1953, which created a huge scandal, yet she endured.  Born in 1915 and died last year…. She grew up along side noble neighbors and dinned with royalty, if ever there was a real life Mary of Downton-she could come close. She was strong willed and withstood a stand off during the divorce that caused her to refuse to leave her quarters in their Castle for six weeks. She was without phone, water, and electricity. For a look at the catalogue click here.

If you just can’t wait for May, here are some of my April 21st auction favorites -based on design and or historical significance. This auction is entitled only Magnificent jewels.  Sort of a precurser to the huge May sale: Magnificent Jewels and Nobel Jewels. However there were so many beauties it’s best to click here to see this catalogue for April:

Sotheby's catalogue image.

Sotheby’s catalogue image.

18 Karat Gold, Jadeite and Diamond Pendant, Henry Dunay. Sotheby's auction catalogue image.

18 Karat Gold, Jadeite and Diamond Pendant, Henry Dunay. Sotheby’s auction catalogue image.

1928. Cartier Tutti Frutti bracelet. Sotheby's image.

1928. Cartier Tutti Frutti bracelet. Sotheby’s image.

Platinum, Emerald and Diamond Pendant-Necklace, 1910. Sotheby's Auction image.

Platinum, Emerald and Diamond Pendant-Necklace, 1910. Sotheby’s Auction image.

Sotheby's catalogue image.

Sotheby’s catalogue image.

Jewelry À la Carte, Rebecca Taylor Style

Spring/Summer 2015, Rebecca Taylor jumper. Accessories available at Rebecca Taylor.

Spring Summer 2015 Rebecca Taylor jumper, Accessories available at Rebecca Taylor. Look assembled by Sarara Couture via polypore. Rebecca Taylor online images.

When one thinks of Rebecca Taylor, designer and brand, they envision modern feminine wearable clothing. As of late, Princess Kate in her suit might come to mind. Don’t get me started on RT’s Spring and new Fall/Winter 2015 looks. Upon closer inspection, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the they have quite a collection and focus on accessories of the same make. What I love is that she sources items from New York designers, LA and abroad; curating a selection that compliments her clothing and speaks to her “it girl”. In a world where we increasingly shop online, it’s great that she has some of these available via Rebecca Taylor -the website.

Artist made wall sculptures- at Rebecca Taylor, Soho. Image Sarara Couture.

Artist made wall sculptures at Rebecca Taylor, Soho. image Sarara Couture.

 

 

However, as this fashion jewelry lover soon learned, when I stopped in her Mott street storefront in Soho, that wasn’t half the story…. Plus, there are literally more unique pieces in the drawers waiting to be put out. The store itself, has an ambiance that is quite clean, yet nature inspired. From organic jewelry style sculptures to the lighting.

Jewelry Displayed at Rebecca Taylor.

Jewelry Displayed at Rebecca Taylor.

Store manager Christina Mercurio, was lovely, showing us pieces new to the store-even giving us a peek at that mysterious drawer full of coming pieces….. The store’s collection gives one the sense that the owner understands what accessories a modern women will enjoy wearing. She has chosen easy to wear items and has a knowledge of fashion trends. Staples in the shop, but not online- included various 14k gold earrings which could be mixed or matched. A very contemporary concept that I enjoy! If I want to buy one earring I can!

14k earrings

Adina Reyter Diamond earrings, Jennie Kwon 14k studs. Prices ranging from $60 for a single earring to $297 depending on the pair. Available at Rebecca Taylor, 260 Mott Street, New York City.

Examples include, Jennie Kwon or Adina Reyter diamond studs which could easily be worn alone or mismatched. The earrings were not the only items that could be stacked, new arrivals to the store and online include the cool and modern Meridan cuff.  

Meridan, In God We Trust, bangles.

Meridan, In God We Trust, bangles.

Prices ranging from 110-140 for the silver items. Most of her offerings include quality 14k gold, sterling, and also brass pieces at great price points. Possibly my favorite earrings, besides the Faris earrings (now on SALE), were the stake style Collette Ishimaya earrings, $90 in the Soho store. Collette, a New York designer, is now stocked at the shop.

Saber Earrings by Collette- available at Rebecca Taylor Soho.

Saber Earrings by Collette- available at Rebecca Taylor Soho.

Onyx Faris pyramid earrings, in sale the section now at Rebecca Taylor, Mott Street, NYC.

Onyx Faris pyramid earrings, in sale section now at Rebecca Taylor, Mott Street, NYC.

If you are in the mood for some international inspiration and some energy harness crystals, the store also stocks Krystle Knight jewelry. Look no further, with geodes-(in demand, yet again and really never seeming to go out of style) as well as stackable rings, you are covered.

Indulging in multiple Krystal Knight rings at Rebecca Taylor, Soho.

Me, indulging in multiple Krystal Knight rings at Rebecca Taylor, Soho.

Getting sidetracked in Odette Spine ring, available in recycled silver. Rebecca Taylor Soho.

Getting sidetracked in Odette Spine ring, available in recycled silver. Rebecca Taylor Soho.

The central point concerning the way Rebecca curates accessories, is that you have access to the rising jewelry stars.  Yet, they are done with an eye for what will remain classic. The pieces are unique and editorial- you won’t see yourself coming and going on every street corner. This allows you  to accessorize her clothing in a thoughtful way. Not to forget the sunglass line, Sunday Somewhere, she carries is also modern and chic.

Sunglass heaven via Rebecca Taylor, Soho.

Sunglass heaven via Rebecca Taylor, Soho.

So, next time your are in the mood for some new threads, remember the JEWELS!

Store image. Soho.

Store image. Soho.

Fred Leighton: The Oscars and Fashionably Fine Jewelry

Antique Snake Cuff

Stunning French intertwined serpent cuff worn by Maggie Gyllenhaal to the Golden Globes this year. Dates to the late 19th century.

When one thinks of Fred Leighton, a New York landmark, glamour should come to mind. While they have a retail presence online, from 1stdibs to Net-A-Porter, nothing quite does it for a girl or (guy for that matter) like gazing at the babbles from inside their lovely chic salon on Madison Avenue. The crisp glass jewelry cases are organized, in general, by eras. Each one is carefully arranged over the rich art deco back drop of some of the shop’s original architecture.

Fred Leighton

Fred Leighton salon image, Sarara Couture.

 

Their collection spans from Georgian jewelry to current pieces that they custom design.  Fred Leighton, the boutique, began it’s story in the 1970s, mixing eclectic fashions. The namesake fine estate jewelry store opened officially in 1984. Murray Mondschein purchased the original store, Fred Leighton, in the 70s and made it his own by adding the jewelry selection, which gave birth to a jewelry dynasty. When Murray (who changed his name to Fred Leighton) retired the Kwait family purchased the store, with Greg, who is very involved, leading the helm today.  The brand continues to exude exceptional taste with a touch of old Hollywood allure and offers a wide range of quality examples.  This style has kept them fresh and led to a collection that continues to attract jewelry lovers, stylists, and editors worldwide.

  
Meryl Streep at the Oscars in 2003 wearing a stunning emerald necklace from Fred Leighton. Now featured in the exhibit the Maker & Muse. Women & Early 20th Century Art Jewelry. c.1910.

This time of year they consult with stylists who are selecting special pieces for the most influential red carpet of the year, The Oscars.  The shop provided it’s first piece of jewelry worn to the Oscars in the 1990s, to Nicole Kidman, an vintage Australian Opal choker.  The rest is history. They were so gracious to see me this week, and offer us access to some items that have been worn on the red carpet before, as well as fine fashion examples with an editorial appeal. As the blog’s focus is fashion jewelry and accessories I was interested, in also seeing these stylish fine fashionable examples.

As discussed in the post about fashion jewelry/ textual resources, fine jewelry has had it’s design moments, which have led to pieces that have been influenced by fashion and vintage designer jewelry itself. Fred Leighton has some superior fine estate examples, which are also easily translatable today.  For the newest selection visit the store and ask for the talented buyer Dana or Lindsey (PR), who was our guide into their shiny world. While you are there, you may also see Rebecca Selva (the talent behind many reinterpreted red carpet jewelry designs) fluttering around, working on her next project. As chief creative director, she continues to help fashion the image and feel of the stores selection with grace.

They offered us a first hand peek at past Oscar looks, current Oscar/red carpet worthy glam pieces, and suitable examples influenced by fashion during my visit to the salon. So, if inspiration is what you need and you can’t wait until this Sunday for the Oscars…. we’ve got it, enjoy the glam ride. Here are past looks and current possibilities-

Some of My Favorite Past Oscars Jewelry Picks from Fred Leighton’s Salon:

View image | gettyimages.com. Rebecca Selva converted the collar/hairband used by Natalie Portman in the 2005 Oscars. The mid to late 1800s piece was made into a headband for Natalie Portman to wear.
Jennifer Aniston. Oscars 2014, wearing converted Rebbeca Selva, Fred Leighton dress clips as earrings.
View image | gettyimages.com. Madonna 1998 Oscars. Fred Leighton jewelry.

 

Taraji Henson at the Oscars in 2009. Wearing a necklace from Fred Leighton.

 

2009 Oscars image of Amy Adams in a stunning vintage collar from Fred Leighton.
View image | gettyimages.com. Nicole Kidman, 2011 Oscars. Wearing Fred Leighton necklace.


Maggie Gyllenhaal 2010 Oscars bracelet. She wore various Leighton pieces. This 1950s brooch featured a 67 carat emerald. It was converted into a bracelet by the store and Rebecca Selva. Up close it is such an amazing piece. Available at Fred Leighton, 773 Madison Avenue.

Maggie Gyllenhaal 2010 Oscars bracelet. She wore various Leighton pieces that evening. This 1950s brooch featured a 67 carat emerald. It was converted into a bracelet by the store and Rebecca Selva. Up close it is such an amazing piece. Available at Fred Leighton, 773 Madison Avenue.

Here are some of the Oscar worn and red carpet worthy pieces that I found in the salon, which will give you a clue to the styles that may be worn Sunday at the Oscars. This includes closeups of Maggie’s 2010 Oscar worn diamond bracelet. Fred Leighton has quite a few pieces that will actually be worn this year and as they are revealed we will update this post Sunday. (What are your favorites? Please feel free to comment below.)

50s diamond earrings

1950s 12 carat diamond earrings. Available at Fred Leighton.

1700s earrings

1750s 18K gold amethyst earrings. Over 3″ long. Available at Fred Leighton.

1940s-50s diamond brooch

1950s diamond brooch with detachable earrings. Fred Leighton.

Custom Leighton Piece

Fred Leighton Oscars

Maggie Gyllenhaal worn 2010 Oscar bracelet. Converted 1950s emerald brooch bracelet, Contact Fred Leighton for more information.

 

vintage Cartier

1920s Cartier bracelet, Fred Leighton via the Madison avenue shop.

antique dollar

Antique necklace in the window of the Madison avenue shop.

Fashionable fine jewelry examples from the salon, that would fit into any editorial shoot: 

Vogue Sept 2010 cover

One of my all time favorite Vogue covers shows the editorial- fashion jewelry cross over that they have. Sept 2010. I saved this one in my archives! 1920s diamonds. Fred Leighton. Scan of the cover.

 

60s-70s 18K Tiffany necklace. Fred Leighton

60s-70s 18K Tiffany necklace. Fred Leighton. This was one of my personal favorites.

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Fred Leighton. Contact for more information about the necklace.

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Art deco star pins with what appears to be the original era trumpet clasp. Would be amazing earrings! Contact Fred Leighton for pricing and info.

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Van Cleef & Arpels 1950s 18K gold and diamond clutch

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Contact Fred Leighton for pricing and info.

 

And the Academy Awards Worn Jewelry 2015 from Fred Leighton:

FLOscars2015

Via Fred Leighton’s instagram. All shown below, but Nicole Kidman are wearing Leighton pieces at the Oscars 2015.

 

URBANITE

Explore the modern aesthetic of the working urbanite and her repertoire of powerful accessories. These are the memoirs of a modern creative, living in the urban jungle.  From an evening art opening to fashion insider party. Photographed by Hannan Saleh. Hair Stylist and Makeup: Alex Allen. Stylist: Rachel Anne. Model: Huijun Zhang. Hope you enjoy our accessories and jewelry eye candy!

Hannan Saleh, Editorial/Vintage JewelryJewelry Editorial

hannanS

TrenchAM

editorialWLanvin AM1

 

 

Lynn Ban Opens Her Online Boutique

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 5.06.06 PM

Lynn Ban Website –

I must admit I’m crushing on her scarab ring, but I’m in good company. The accessories maven has a line of music and rock princesses wearing her bangles, necklaces, and stacked rings. Lynn’s personal style is as inspiring as her collection. Her instagram account provides visual stimulation with a constant array of Lynn’s vintage accessories, fashion and couture clothing styled in amazing ways. Not to mention the images of Rihanna, Lorde, Fergie and more wearing her jewelry while rocking and rolling. Her gold armbands were featured on Christy Turlington in Porter Magazine, but so was her (well sort of her son’s) own personal John Galliano Top hat, as seen below via Porter magazine. It’s those kind of unexpected details that make her style and jewelry so alluring.

Her goods are already sold worldwide in some impressive stores; but I’m excited to have them readily available on her own site www.lynnban.com:

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Lynn Ban scarab and assorted rings, via LynnBan.com, rights reserved.

Verdura, The Jewelry Line that Launched Ships in Search of Sea Shells

Someone once said “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. Well, in the case of Verdura jewely it is a little bit of both.  Being born a Duke and meeting Coco Chanel most certainly helped Fulco di Verdura, but his art is undeniable.  I enjoy the line even today. Their jewely is a thing of beauty, based mostly on his old designs created while he was living as well as antique pieces. What’s not to love? Okay, the price may fall into the what not to love, as I was reminded recently at an auction. An iconic shell design, which was estimated at much lower, went for $80,000.  That is a house to many people in today’s economy. But before we freak out, let’s enjoy the art of the pieces. As they say there is no charge to look-well that depends sometimes on what you are looking at, but anyway…It did have just everything right. Created in 1972, a very iconic work with the precious stones and shell, and it had a letter.

John Moran Auctioneer image. Verdura letter.

Fulco was born in 1898 in Sicily and his interests are chronicled on Verdura jewelry’s vibrant image filled about us page. The history found on the company’s website is worth the look!  Now if you find it hard to relate to his opulent upbringing you may not be alone. However, his work has stood the test of time and you really can’t buy his kind of talent.

Coco Chanel in Fulco’s Maltese Cuff design. Man Ray Image.

Fulco was not known at all in the world of fashion design, until he met Coco Chanel. She saw something in him and fostered his talent by hiring him to work with her on textiles. However, as you can probably guess he sort of rebuilt her jewelry line.  Love her iconic maltese cross cuffs? Yeah those were Verdura!  They worked together from the 1920s-1934, per the Verdura website. There is a whole lore about her asking him to create pieces from jewelry collected from her past beaus.  Maybe that is how it all started, sitting in Coco’s amazing apartment tinkering with jewelry together?  However, there is no mistaking that his Maltese crosses were based on his love and study of art history, especially Renaissance art.  This combined with Coco Chanel’s design aesthetic and polish led to the creation of the magical maltese cuff. They traveled Europe for inspiration together and settled on the Maltese cross as a point of departure. 


Platinum, made in 1967 Verdura. Scratch numbers ”C1906”, the camel body set with a baroque cultured pearls, full-cut round diamonds, yellow sapphire and ruby bead camel brooch. John Moran Auction image.

Why is Verdura important to the history of jewelry design in the United States? 


That brings us to our shells and his NYC store. Verdura is known as sort American jewelry royalty. We claim Verdura because in 1939, he transplanted to NYC were he opened his first jewelry store.  As he is reported to have said, he was inspired by his breaking away from his past: “There was no past for me here”(http://www.verdura.com/American).  His designs quickly caught on and he became a popular choice for the stars. Garbo was a dedicated admirer of Verdura jewelry.  He spread his wings to the west cost and started making jewelry for a well known designer Paul Flato.

Fulco worked until 1973, this is where our 71 pin/necklace comes into play. It was designed and produced while he was still alive and working at Verdura.  He passed away in 1978.  The demand for anything produced before 73 is thus higher!  The company was purchased by a longtime admirer and continued the rich tradition with such guidelines and attention to their vintage line.  The above image is  a Verdura Sketch of the famous Emerald Scarf Necklace designed for Dorothy Paley in 1941.

Shells Glorious Shells:

When he purchased shells from the Museum of Natural History he sort of changed jewelry design history.  The use of sort of earthy non precious elements with fine stones that we often see juxtaposed began with his shells. He mixed fine stones with these sea creatures, filling them with beautiful and expensive elements.  Others later followed suit after this line became so popular and desired!  I think this is also something that has both inspired my work and jewelry choices. There is a certain poetry to abandoning the conventional monetary notions of natural stones and elements and letting go to create a final successful product. It is poetic that someone born with so much, could appreciated this juxtaposition of simple objects with the “fine”.