Like many designers, Melissa Joy Manning has been creating wares since she was a child.
She styled her Barbie dolls and made jewelry for fun growing up, but it wasn't until several failed attempts at retail sales that Manning realized her passion was jewelry design. So she took a vocational aptitude test, which helped lead her to the field.
In 1997, Manning launched a signature jewelry company with a handmade organic vibe while working out of her home in Oakland, Calif. The line, picked up by Barneys New York in 2001, features materials such as organic gold and silver — metals mined in an ecologically and socially responsible manner — with druzy agate, opal and tourmalines.
"My aesthetic is very organic," said Manning, who recently moved her headquarters to Manhattan, where she now lives. "I like to test people's perceptions...blending things that aren't normally found together."
In that vein, the designer has launched a diamond collection — but sparkly and clear they are not.
"In the past 10 years, I have become intrigued in the nonperfection of a diamonds — diamond slices, diamonds that have organic shapes, diamonds with inclusions that other people would think are junk," she said.
The diamond line, named Precious Fusion, has looks such as stacking rings with diamonds and earrings. Prices in the collection range from $200 to $5,000 at wholesale. It has been picked up by Forty Five Ten in Dallas, Twist in Seattle and Fragments and ABC Carpet & Home in New York. The designer's Organic collection wholesales from $145 to $525, while the Metal collection, which includes her signature hoop earrings in gold and silver, wholesales from $415 to $1,500.
Manning also recently launched e-commerce on her Web site, melissajoymanning.com.
"We really wanted to have a site that was all about customer service," she said.
News of the launch spread by word of mouth and Manning made 40 percent of her build-out cost within two weeks. "We never expected that," she said.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast