By  on July 8, 2008

It's Wednesday afternoon, and jeweler Lisa Salzer of Lulu Frost is showing off her brand-new Lafayette Street penthouse studio — Exhibit A of her company's recent growth spurt, complete with skylight, antiques and a gorgeous view of downtown Manhattan. On the far corner is her fall lineup, a smattering of vintage Victoriana-meets-traditional African baubles, while along the window are her collections for designers Alexander Wang (neon Lucite) and Chris Benz (recycled Rwandan beads). Across the room is the curiously kooky "1982" collaboration with close friend Jay Bulger, featuring plastic action-figure body parts. Smack at the center of the room, however, sits her current pièce de résistance: Salzer's exclusive new line for the upcoming Plaza Boutique, the press and retailer previews for which start today.

The collection, simply dubbed Lulu Frost for the Plaza, will be the designer's first foray into the fine jewelry arena, after launching her own vintage line four years ago. It's a homecoming of sorts for Salzer; the Long Island native achieved her first success in 2005 with a series of pendants made from old Plaza Hotel room numbers she scored at a local flea market. Now, the same digits are getting a tony upgrade in sterling silver, 14k and 18k gold, with the latter outfitted with diamonds — one for each number. The line, retailing from $800 to $2,500, hits the store this fall. "They called me," Salzer notes of the partnership. "We're talking about going beyond the numbers to other designs based on certain Plaza elements."

But chez Salzer, that's only the beginning. She is also working on her own fine jewelry line, named L. Frost, to debut next spring. "I've always wanted to do it," she says. "The Plaza [project] was an amazing impetus to start researching how to do it on my own. It's a whole different ball game than costume." To that end, Salzer promises the collection, still in the initial sketch stages, will be more than pricy recasts of her signature vintage styles. Instead, the cornerstone conceit will be reviving the notion of symbolic Victorian jewelry — for instance, 18k gold nameplates with gemstones in lieu of letters. "They would spell the words out in stones — E would be emerald, A, amethyst," Salzer explains. "It's subtle. It's not going to hit you over the head like Carrie Bradshaw's script earrings." She adds: "My grandmother was an antiques dealer specializing in this era. I love that everything tells a story."For all this talk of high finery, however, Salzer isn't losing sight of the mass end of the market. Also in the Lulu Frost pipeline this year: a collaboration with Urban Outfitters for an exclusive charm-based collection, to debut in November.

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