Fifty years after Diana Vreeland urged Arnold Scaasi to add jewelry to his repertoire, the designer is back at it with a new collection for HSN.
During an interview last week in his art-laden Beekman Place apartment in Manhattan, Scaasi disappeared momentarily to dig up a photocopy of the telegram the legendary editor sent decades back praising his jewelry. This time around HSN came knocking after learning that Scaasi had done jewelry, the designer said.
And no one is more surprised than Scaasi. “Suddenly, at my age, I have a new job? Hello!” he said.
While he continues to design made-to-order pieces for select clients and routinely flies back from Palm Beach, Fla., where he winters, for fittings, Scaasi has no intention to go whole hog back into fashion: “I love working, but I don’t want to work as intensely as I worked before. I do know that I don’t want to do that anymore, thank you.
“You know how everyone keeps saying women will be shopping in their closets? Well, this gives them something to wear with that old dress,” he said, holding up a $95 crystal-encrusted necklace and noting how it could be worn with a cocktail dress, evening gown or jeans and a T-shirt. “The whole idea of this is it’s amusing. You should have fun with it.”
Never one to mince words, Scaasi will no doubt have some fun when he appears on HSN at 1 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Dec. 5 for a pre-holiday blast. On-air pitches are also planned for before Valentine’s Day, as well as ones in April, and May or June. About 20 pieces ranging from $18 to $95 will be featured on each program.
Having once sold a collection of fitted $200 dresses on QVC, the designer is not flummoxed about his televised spiel even though his last one was eight years ago. “I’m going to tell them what I told you,” he said. “For $35, you can buy the pearls and for $25 you can buy the [matching] earrings. Women will buy something to clean themselves up and to wear with that old dress to make it look new.”
All of the baubles were inspired by the more than 100 designs he produced from 1958 to 1963 — the last time he made jewelry. After Vreeland encouraged him to expand upon a compact butterfly-inspired collection of jewelry, he started working with Jacques Jewelry in 1958. The designer had a change of heart about the endeavor after reviewing his year-end sales with his accountant in 1963. When the numbers guy ran through sales for his ready-to-wear, couture, children’s clothing and furs, but neglected to mention the jewelry business, Scaasi asked, “What about the jewelry?” He was dismayed to learn that category only broke even. The fact that he was getting loads of press for those designs and was not losing money made it viable to the accountant, but Scaasi didn’t share that view.
“That’s ridiculous. Here I am spending every Saturday at the jewelers’ putting stones in plastertine, and I wasn’t making any money from it,” Scaasi said, adding he bowed out of that business in late 1963 and tipped off his friend Kenneth Jay Lane to the availability of the 125-person factory.
But next month’s debut was too inviting to pass up, given HSN’s reach. Holding a bracelet with oversize pearls and crystals, he said, “It’s exactly what everyone is showing today.”
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye