Category Archives: Fashion

Baroque Inspirations

As I was looking into the fashion photography of Emma Summerton, I came across a story from Vogue China that’s heavily inspired by baroque styles. The waifish models used in the campaign are dressed in dark garb and heavily adorned, both aspects indicative of the baroque period…

But, there’s a decidedly modern take. Also, the adornment that the model has been styled with feature ornately fashioned gold and pearl elements that just overwhelm the image with opulence. I’ve paired three images from the photo shoot below with original design drawings of baroque jewelry. Enjoy!

Minimal Baroque (Vogue China, 2012) paired with baroque chain designs from L Egare.

Minimal Baroque (Vogue China, 2012) paired with baroque chain designs from L Egare.Minimal Baroque (Vogue China, 2012) paired with a brooch design from 1723 featuring a miniature portrait amidst floral elements.Minimal Baroque (Vogue China, 2012) paired with a brooch design from 1723 featuring a miniature portrait amidst floral elements.Minimal Baroque (Vogue China, 2012) paired with a pendant design by Daniel Mignot. Minimal Baroque (Vogue China, 2012) paired with a pendant design by Daniel Mignot. Also, if someone wants to buy me this necklace, I’d be okay with that!

Live Action Haute Mess

If you’re prone to seizures, you probably shouldn’t view this post. This past spring, my Pro Nailz knuckle dusters were featured in a Vogue Italia editorial. The article  has garnered a lot of attention for being a controversial photo shoot. The concept of saturated extravagance has been articulated through gender bending women sporting candy wrapper weaves,  cupcakes, and pounds of jewelry. This issue has been very difficult to get ahold of in the states, but I found these GIFs to share. To me, the models are combination of Priscilla Queen of the Desert and New York City club kids.

You can seem y rings being prominently displayed by the Guinevere, in the middle GIF.

Haute Mess, Abbey Lee Kershaw by Steven Meisel


Haute Mess, Guinevere van Seenus by Steven Meisel


Haute Mess, Joan Smalls by Steven Meisel

That Chain So Crazy!

Note: I’ve been working on this blog post for quite a while now, and I’m honestly not sure it’s going to make any sense, so good luck reading!

One of my favorite things about jewelry is it’s role as a communication device which turns the wearer into a billboard expressing the wearers beliefs. Traditionally, jewelry also doubles as a portable asset or an outward display of wealth.
Jewelry in excess is nothing new in the world of hip hop, think back to the iconic images of RUN DMC wearing twisted gold chains, with oversized pendants. Since they first stepped onto the scene in 1984, RUN DMC helped to create an image that has influence generations of musicians after them. It’s been over 25 years since the pioneer of hip hop artists donning opulent gold chains, diamonds, pendants, watches, and other oversized baubles and the jewelry is becoming bigger, brighter, and more expensive.

Today, chains and pendants are becoming so large that they are almost unwearable. Artists are layering them in a melee of gold and glitz. Some things haven’t changed at all, like NAS’s necklace at the right, he could have reached back in time and taken it right off of Jam Master Jay’s neck. But, some things are evolving at a rapid pace. Gone are the days of sporting a stolen Mercedes hood ornament on a chain around your neck as pendants are growing larger and encrusted in colored pave set diamonds.
I have to say that I really do appreciate this hyper-opulence that is being embraced by the hip hop culture. It’s steeped in history (from acknowledging previous hip hop and rap artists to embracing African cultures), and at the same time there is a drastic over-the-top-ness that is so obscene that I can’t do anything but to embrace it. I think that there is a silent understanding that some of these pieces are completely tongue-in-cheek, like the huge dollar sign pendant that Nigo is sporting below… It’s completely a redundant piece (joke?) that is made of money, about money.
I often find myself thinking about menswear jewelry, and what it’s role in society is. The examples in this post are just one facet of that genre.. and such an eye catching, mouth watering facet it is! For more examples of gold, diamonds, and other examples of urban jewelry, be sure to check out one of my new favorite blogs: YOU SEE THAT CHAIN?
Nigo, wearing multiple pave chains and pendants.

Pharrell, Diamond pave pendants and multiple chains.

Lil Wayne, Diamond Grill

Kanye West, Horus Necklace by Ambush

Kanye West, Eye Am Not Alone Ring by Ambush

Soulja Boy, The Work Is Yours Necklace

Soulja Boy

David LaChapelle

I’ve been away from my studio for a bit, and have been spending more time ‘doing research.’ Maybe I’m trying to justify my growing obsession with pop-culture, but I find myself recently attracted to highly saturated images and colors, high gloss, sparkly jewels, gold and diamond encrusted medallions, and just really extravagant objects and imagery. I’m not quite sure what it is about these stereotyped displays of wealth and culture that I find to enticing, but there is something about how these commercial goods and images so bluntly stroke my sensibilities and entice my inner consumer.

On a recent trip around the Internet, I came across this imaged by David LaChapelle. I have really always liked his use of hyper-saturated colors, and the high sheen that everything in his images seem to have. His subjects become plasticy objects, and everything is equalized into a glossy visual melee. Bordering on pop-grotesgue, he creates images that are visual cacophonies which seem to be suspended from time and place.

Davids imagery has the ability to transform even the classiest subject into an objectified commodity. The people in his photographs uncannily seem to lose their identity and morph into anonymous objects that could almost be mass produced.


I just came across an amazing designer, Walid Al Damirji, whose pieces interpret vintage fashions while using embroidery, fur, beaded fringe, and lace appliques.

Lately, I’ve been interested in incorporating fur components into my jewelry, and have been using old fur coats and stoles as my source material. I literally chop up vintage pieces of fur in order to have material for the jewelry that I’m making. Walid does the opposite. He doesn’t source the fur into his jewelry, but actually bejewels the fur. The resulting adornments are conglomerations of materials invoking concepts of nostalgia, opulence, and romanticism.
Be sure to check out his designs for CotureLab, which is very much in the same antique revival vein as the images below.

Coprolite Watch

Apparently, I’m only making tacky or ironic posts these days. Supporting this revelation, I just came across an article from the Associated Press about a Swiss luxury watchmaker who just revealed a new design for a watch made of fossilized dinosaur feces, and poisonous toad skin costing $11,290. The dial is made of Coprolite, which is a fossilized animal dung.

“A relic of the Jurassic period, it has taken millions of years for this organic substance to embrace its present warm and matchless tints,” states the press release from Artya, sounding like something out of a J. Peterman catalogue parody ala Seinfeld. “In its mineral aspect, it forcefully underscores the pristine strength emanating from the very dawn of life.”

The coprolite used to make the watch dials came from a plant-eater that died about 100 million years ago in what is now the United States, designer Yvan Arpa told the Associated Press. The strap for the Coprolite watches is made with the blackened skin of American cane toads. In live cane toads, the skin is toxic and can kill if ingested.

Despite being an incredible expensive accessory, the watch looks pretty chintzy and cheap. The contrasting textures and colors compete for attention and result in a watch that definitely looks like you’re wearing crap on your wrist.

Hair Couture

I just came across a new line of hair jewelry today!

Good friends Anna Rybakov and Eve Cahill have joined artistic forces to create the design collaborative, Grau Wal. Founded in 2009, the collection began as a labor of love when the two women were making bracelets and necklaces for themselves. After much outside interest, the duo decided to buckle down and launch their own company in February of this year.

The creations that have come out of the collaboration have an instant Victorian appeal, which the ladies admit was a starting point, and ended up being “very interesting and wonderfully morbid.” With main design elements of intricately plaited braids ranging from blonde to brunette to auburn, these pieces reference the custom of wearing a loved ones hair during the mourning process.

The necklaces and bracelets from Grau Wal are intricately well made, and aesthetically pleasing with a luxurious color palate of finished gold. However, the works also solicit an uncanny experience associated with draping oneself in hair, albeit synthetic.

On The Street…

Bill Cunningham is a fashion photographer as well as a style anthropologist. He is a habitual presence in New York City, Paris, and London, and has documented the trends and fashions of the urban woman for over 50 years. A shadow with a camera, he quietly stalks the city, waiting to document beautiful ladies in beautiful clothing. He now works for the New York Times, where he now produces On The Street, a muti-media editorial that recounts and foretells the currents of popular fashion.

This summer he posted an episode of On The Street titled Fashion Fireworks, which highlighted the summertime inclination of women to wear gigantic pieces of jewelery made out of imitation stones and plastic.

These playful and surreal pieces that Cunningham shows remind me a little bit of Alice In Wonderland, and you can check them out here…

Bill Cunningham, On The Street – Fashion Fireworks