Sara Beltrán’s pop-up shop looks like a multiethnic bazaar, with Mexican woven baskets and rugs, shark jaws hanging from the ceiling, Indian deities and Parisian flea market finds.
Target awarded the shop to Beltrán, a CFDA Fashion Incubator graduate for her jewelry line, Dezso, which means desire.
The two-day pop up will operate today from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 511 West 25th Street in Target’s New York gallery.
Beltrán has created an immersive environment at the gallery, showcasing not only her jewelry collection but her art work, sculptures, furniture designs and found items, along with Target products that she customized, such as a $14.99 decorative glass storage box that Beltrán painted with black palm leaves, priced at $600. There are also white Target bath towels hand-embroidered with a row of shark teeth and lamp shades hand-painted with palm fronds.
Photos on the walls show close-ups of Beltrán’s jewelry and aspects of the casting process.
The back of the gallery is meant to evoke her home, with a long white couch — “this is much bigger than mine,” she said — and a chest with bronze shelves used as a coffee table. A wooden dining table has chairs customized by Beltrán with inlaid shark fin or bone set in a black filler for dramatic and graphic results.
The ocean is Beltrán’s constant inspiration, with shells and shark teeth serving as recurring motifs.
“We were impressed with her beautiful hand-crafted jewelry line inspired by the ocean and her travels around the world,” said Rick Gomez, senior vice president of marketing at Target. “Sara has a really clear point-of-view as a designer and is building a strong brand in Dezso that is really differentiated. Target has this unique ability to give exposure to up-and-coming designers. We help drive awareness of the brand.”
Target has supported the CFDA since 1998 with various initiatives, including the incubator, of which the retailer became the lead underwriter in 2012.
The Fashion Incubator program fosters fashion talent by helping emerging designers with affordable studio space, business mentoring, educational seminars and networking opportunities.
Beltran grew up in Mexico and then moved to Texas with her family. She lived in Italy for seven months in 1996 before moving to New York to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology. Her first internship was with Italian Vogue, where she worked with stylists such as Joe McKenna. She worked briefly in public relations then returned to styling, always wearing her own jewelry. She said Bruce Weber asked her to do a capsule collection of 300 pieces.
“My mom is an artist,” Beltrán said. “She has amazing taste. My dad always gives her special [jewelry] pieces. I always remember loving jewelry.”
Eventually, Beltrán started casting shells for the bracelets, which she has woven in Mexico by a community of women artisans. She decided in 2007 to move to India, staying three years and learning jewelry-making techniques and sourcing semiprecious and precious stones.
Prices at the pop-up range from $100 for a Mexican bracelet to $100,000 for an 18-karat rose gold bracelet set with about 50 carats of odd-shaped diamonds.
“I keep evolving and going into fine jewelry,” she said.
A thin 18-karat rose gold bracelet with small shark fins and black diamonds is $900. One of Dezso’s more unusual pieces is an aquamarine pendant decorated with a row of small diamonds and anchored by a larger diamond. Another necklace is made from a boar tusk.
“I do a lot of one-of-a-kind pieces,” Beltrán said. “It’s very difficult for me to part with pieces.”
A series of photographs of the royal palace in Udaipur is mounted on frames with woven backgrounds. “I’m good friends with the royal family,” Beltrán said. Below that is a group of charcoal drawings layered with watercolors of palm trees. One of her sculptures, a piece of black agate with dolomite on top, is “signed” with a small diamond on the back.
Beltrán, who recently relaunched the Dezso web site, plans to add marquetry techniques to her jewelry making. “Two years ago, I did a beach club in Saint-Tropez, Plague des Graniers, from the menu to the decor. I would love to do more interiors.
“I love being Mexican, but I wouldn’t be who I am if I didn’t live in India,” she said. “I love everything handmade. The industry is so massified.”
Of the CFDA Fashion Incubator, Beltrán said, “It changed my life. It’s a really big deal for me.”