NEW YORK — Karatas is looking to raise awareness for literacy and learning advocacy.
The brand has partnered with nonprofit group Mentoring USA, a division of Help USA, which was founded by Matilda Raffa Cuomo and which she runs with her daughter, Maria Cuomo Cole.
The fine jewelry company, a self-funded venture established in 2011 by Carolyn Gang of SeidenGang Designs and Robyn Troob, will debut its Esperanto collection today on karatasdesigns.com, with net profits going to benefit Mentoring USA. The 20-piece line is a collaborative effort with Jennifer Fisher, whose knack for incorporating the letters of the alphabet into a range of necklaces, pendants, cuffs, bracelets, earrings and rings resulted in a “modern twist on 26 of the most recognizable characters.”
“The Karatas [Esperanto] collection is a valuable contribution to Mentoring USA. Proceeds from sales will benefit one to one youth mentoring for at-risk children in New York City and cities throughout the country,” Cuomo Cole said of the first jewelry collection to benefit the cause.
Prices for the Esperanto line range from $125 for a small silver letter on a leather cord to $575 for a silver cuff with 18-karat gold, to an entirely gold cuff retails for about $6,500 (the latter two featuring the entire alphabet), with an average price point of about $675. Materials run the gamut from sterling silver to 18-karat gold — with accents such as leather cords, diamonds, semiprecious and precious stones and inspirational words like “dazzle,” “shine,” “empower,” “strive” and “fulfill.”
Help USA — the national congressional model for services and housing for homeless populations — was established in 1986 by New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, and Mentoring USA was founded by his wife, Raffa Cuomo, as the first statewide, school-based, one-on-one mentoring program in the U.S.
“It’s meaningful. We can start a trend. The design is delightful,” Raffa Cuomo said, wearing a circular alphabet disc on a black leather cord. It’s clear the former first lady of New York is passionate about the cause, as she points out her first job was as an elementary teacher at the Dutch Broadway School in Elmont, N.Y., before she became a mother and dedicated her life to service (she continued to tutor in Spanish, though, she added).
“I feel strongly about children and education. Mentoring and working with Maria and Matilda is both a privilege and an honor. To have the opportunity to help children with developing their skills through literacy and learning in a creative way is challenging and satisfying,” added Gang, also a former teacher.
According to Jeffrey Beri — who oversees operations for the company that span brand and marketing development, manufacturing, e-commerce infrastructure and retail production — the plan is to launch initially with e-commerce and then enter the wholesale market by targeting high-end specialty boutiques and department stores. In January, also National Mentoring Month, the line will become available at Rocks by Jolie B. Ray, a boutique in Armonk, N.Y.
Beri revealed that, early next year, a costume jewelry version of the collection will make its debut on QVC, comprised primarily of bronze with silver accents. “We want to target the mass market with a careful, calculative rollout,” Beri said. “We want to make it significantly personal.”
Donatella Versace will receive the International Award at the 2018 @cfda awards, which were announced tonight. Tap link in bio for a list of all the nominees and honorees. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @rahirezvanistudio )
The 2018 @cfda Awards nominees are out! @virgilabloh for @off____white for is nominated for Womenswear Designer of the Year. Tap link in bio for all the nominees. #wwdnews #wwdfashion ( 📷: @simonelezzi)
@chanelofficial is suing high-end vintage retailer @whatgoesaroundnyc for trademark infringement, a move that could cost the retailer millions. The French fashion house claims that it’s not only unintentionally sold counterfeit goods on occasion, but that it’s “gone out of its way to create an association with Chanel,” which does not exist. Read Chanel’s statement on WWD.com #wwdnews (@aitorrosasphoto)
Exclusive: Guillaume Henry has left @ninaricci, the fashion house said on Thursday. “After three years of mutually gratifying creative collaboration, Nina Ricci and Guillaume Henry have together decided that the designer will depart the house after the presentation of the fall-winter 2018-19 collection,” Ricci said in a statement. Get all the details on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
“When Bella enters a room all heads turn,” said @peterphilipsmakeup, creative and image director for @diormakeup. Last night, the two celebrated the product launch of Dior’s Lacquer Plump in Los Angeles with other celebs like @parisjackson, @winnieharlow and more. Head to WWD.com to see the rest of the photos from the night (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
“These shirts are an art form, it’s about getting the message out to as many people as you can. It breaks down the pretentiousness of the art gallery,” says Kumasi Sadiki, cofounder of @ebayontheblock, a store that sells merchandise by New York artists who are shifting their attention to clothes as a wearable medium. Pictured here is a design by artist @joegarvey_, one of the first to spearhead this movement. Head to WWD.com to read @mistywhitesidell full story on how their designs have become merch for the underground elite #wwdfashion
@netaporter is dedicating a part of its website – called the Fine Jewelry and Watch Destination – to highlight its high-end jewelry. The hub will feature products on the site, as well as incorporate styling advice and educational content about high-priced jewelry items. Get more details on WWD.com. #wwdaccessories
For “The Cher Show,” an upcoming musical based on @cher’s life and career, @bobmackie is once again collaborating with the singer in designing the costumes. For decades, Mackie has designed glitzy stage costumes and red carpet looks for the 71-year-old Grammy winner. Pictured here is a sketch of some of the pieces in the wardrobe of the musical, which is set to debut in Chicago on June 12 before making its way to Broadway #wwdeye