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Thursday, October 14, 2010
High-Low Accessorizing, by Amanda Ross for Carolee
TEXT, VIVIAN KELLY
I was inspired by a recent conversation with Paul Wilmot in which he sang the praises of "high-low dressing." He made the point that a white shirt and skinny black pants from the Limited are perfectly acceptable. Going "low" then allows one to splurge on a great designer item from Christian Siriano,or some top of the line skin care
from Nicholas Perricone. This got me thinking about mixing costume and real jewelry in a fearless fashion.
The first fashion icon to use costume jewelry to enhance her overall look was Coco Chanel. Her approach to high-low was innovative and unique. Most of the costume jewelry of the 1920's was based on the Art Deco aesthetic and mimicked the trends initiated by Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels. Brightly colored fruit salad glass stones
imitated the carved precious and semi-precious gemstones used by the fine jewelers, and were combined with rhinestones in geometric patterns. Chanel, typically, went her own way. In 1924, she established a relationship with Maison Gripoix, masters of fine glass jewelry. In 1927, she hired jewelry desigener, Fulco Di Verdura to work with her. Said Verdura,
"She was the first person ever to take me seriously."
Carolee Friedlander took a page from Chanel's book and dedicated her career to making great classic costume jewelry. Carolee started making jewelry in 1972 in Greenwich, CT, as a kitchen hobby and grew her eponymous company into an international recognized jewelry and accessories power house. Like Coco,
Carolee follows trends, such as the recent craze in the accessories sector for black jet, which played into Karl Lagerfeld's The Last Days of Marienbad inspired s/s2011 Chanel collection. Years earlier, Coco herself designed actress Delphine Seyrig's clothes for the film, and as www.style.com writer, Tim Blanks stated in his review "they were echoed in a final passage of black lace dresses tufted with coq feathers." If you want to partake in a bit of Marienbad/Chanel glam, Carolee's Retro Glam 60" Jet Rope with a flower pin at $75, is a good option.
It's good to have access to interesting pieces, but many women are flummoxed when it comes to incorporating fun pieces with fine jewelry, and are loathe to look like a jewelry Christmas Tree.
That's where celebrity fashion stylists such as Amanda Ross fit into the equation.
Amanda was the woman who put together the looks for the heroines in "Lipstick Jungle" - a show I actually miss. These days, Amanda is the Carolee Company's official style consultant. Her duties include personal appearance working with big high-end retailer, Bloomingdale’s and their personal shopping department to meet with customers and discuss the latest trends with them.
I've known Amanda since her days at Self Magazine, and watched her career blossom as she became a go-to celebrity stylist whose credentials include consulting for Dennis Basso, Elie Tahari, as well as being named the first-ever Global stylist for the W Hotel chain.
In spite of all of her multiple duties and travel, Amanda took the time to answer some questions I had regarding her work with Carolee, and how to successfully mix and match costume jewelry into a high-end wardrobe.
TheFE: Most favorite pieces from Carolee. Why are they your faves?
Amanda Ross: The Carolee gold charm pieces are my favorite-the charm bracelet
and coin drop earrings are great for Fall. I love their drop earrings in general. Jet is also huge this season, and Carolee has a whole jet collection-- everything from chandelier earrings to rope necklaces. Carolee's brooches are also great, either clustering several together or pinning them on a chain or leather cord to make a necklace. Carolee's maltese cross brooch from this season is my favorite. And always lots and lots of pearls!
TheFE: I have to bring-up Coco Chanel and Babe Paley for popularizing the concept of "high-low" accessorizing. Do you think it works with Carolee? Do you agree with the concept, practice for this yourself? For your clients, or not at all?
Amanda: Carolee was the first company to offer a "Chanel" look at an affordable price. I love the idea of mixing costume with real jewels.
TheFE: What can a good stylist such as yourself do for a woman, a man?
Amanda: A great fashion stylist brings out the best in the people they dress, enhancing confidence while educating on one's own personal style.
TheFE: When employing/searching for the right stylist, what questions should they ask you?
Amanda: "What is your vision for me?"
TheFE: What is the #1/most frequently asked question your clients ask you?
Amanda: "How do I look?"