Solange Azagury-Partridge whirled through Los Angeles for a weekend last month to survey the city where her jewelry will make its U.S. retail debut.
Although a date hasn't been set, the jewelry is scheduled to enter Kaviar and Kind in West Hollywood within the next three months. The shop, owned by Sunrise Ruffalo and Katherine Azarmi-Rose, has launched designers such as Jennifer Meyer and Pade Vavra, who are less known than Azagury-Partridge.
Ruffalo and Azarmi-Rose said they are carefully planning the presentation of Azagury-Partridge items, which will fill an entire case in the store, to concisely convey the brand in its first U.S. retail setting. They selected rings from Azagury-Partridge's Cosmic and newest Zodiac collections, including enameled pieces they described as appearing "wet."
"She was really on top of her game with those collections. They are so distinctly Solange," Ruffalo said. "Obviously, there is a lot of war and tragedy in the world, but her jewelry emanates joy. It has such a whimsy to it."
Azagury-Partridge remembered Ruffalo, who had been a visitor to her namesake store on London's Westbourne Grove. Ruffalo then contacted the designer about bringing her jewelry to Los Angeles.
American buyers have become acquainted with Azagury-Partridge largely through her Web site and by word of mouth. Jeweler Lena Wald, the host of an event with Eve Gerber to show off Azagury-Partridge's jewelry and welcome her to Los Angeles, happened upon Azagury-Partridge's pieces when a friend took her to the London store.
"It is like no other jewelry," said Wald, who displayed an Azagury-Partridge ring with Wald's name in cursive. "Solange will customize things for you so you have something that is special."
She joined Kelly Wearstler and Shiva Rose McDermott in poring over Azagury-Partridge's rings, necklaces and watches at a secluded Chateau Marmont bungalow on Feb. 27.
Azagury-Partridge insisted that the leap across the pond is not part of a strategy to blanket the U.S. At least in the near future, the former Boucheron creative director said wholesale distribution of jewelry in the U.S. would be limited to a few handpicked stores.
"If I find the right people to help me in different cities, then maybe I will open more stores," she said.But Azagury-Partridge, who founded her company in 1990 and opened a shop five years later, has more in mind than jewelry. Her first fragrance, Stoned, was released last November and is being sold at Kaviar and Kind. It will soon enter specialty perfume shops, introducing it to a different clientele. The fragrance, which contains diamond dust, retails for about $290.
"People are liking it and it's beginning to spread around the world quite a bit," Azagury-Partridge said.
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