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Europe’s jewelry brands are sliding their merchandise and marketing pitches straight into client’s pockets and handbags via free and interactive iPhone and iPod Touch apps. Boucheron, IWC and Van Cleef & Arpels are among the latest brands to launch the applications. Boucheron’s app lets users snap a photo of their wrist or hand and virtually try on rings and watches — re-creating an instore experience. IWC’s app, which comes in six languages, also offers a try-on function as well as details about mechanisms, a tour of vintage collections and short films about the watches and the brand’s environmentally minded foundation. Van Cleef has taken a less commercial tack with its app, “A Day in Paris with Van Cleef & Arpels.” It’s a specialist guide to historic walks and sights in the French capital.
— Samantha Conti
Grandma Knows Best
In some cases, the ultimate source for vintage fashion inspiration is none other than grandma’s closet.
Blank Verse Jewelry designers Jane Farrar and Laamie Young of Santa Cruz, Calif., raided their mothers’ and grandmothers’ jewelry boxes to come up with their line of one-of-a kind necklaces, gloves, cuffs, rings and earrings. “There’s something really neat about taking old pieces from a different time and way of life, and incorporating them into something new,” says Farrar, who adds the pieces are handmade. The line, which started in September, features details like antique lace, leather pieces, beaded rosettes and vintage pearls. Select pieces can be ordered through Anthropologie, at $125 to $450 retail, and they’re also available at a few specialty shops in Santa Cruz, New York and San Francisco.
Web store Goldenhook.fr, which launched in October, took the granny theme a bit more literally. The site’s customers select a basic design and specify the yarn (wool, cashmere, alpaca, angora), color, size, type of stitch — and even the grandma they want to knit their scarf, hat or snood. Parisbased founder Jeremy Emsellem, 24, employs a team of 15 grand-mères to knit the wares. The items retail from $56 to $580, and Emsellem said he sold 4,000 beanies this winter, and processes about 20 orders a day.
— Kristin Studeman
Neck and Neck
In Hollywood, making a little noise gets attention.
Los Angeles stylist Alison Brooks and director Anika Poitier, the daughter of Sidney Poitier, understand the dictum well. So the friends, who share a passion for eclectic jewelry, decided to launch of a line of necklaces under the name Brooks Poitier.
“[We thought,] ‘What can we make that we are going to wear to update our wardrobe without going into more debt?’” recalls Poitier, who wrote and directed 2004’s “The Devil Cats.”
The necklaces clearly aren’t for wallflowers.
Spring’s collection, which retails from about $200 to $500, features thick discs of vivid blue and emerald green agates combined with gold and silver chains. Brooks, coming off an African safari, was also drawn to natural colors in stones and feathers that are incorporated into the bibs with nude and black tulle-wrapped stones. There are also plans to launch bracelets and earrings.
Compared to working on films, Poitier likes the immediacy of jewelry design: “You can’t make a film every day. With this, you can sit down, have your coffee in the morning and just do it.”
— Rachel Brown