NEW YORK — I’m reinventing my life,” said Fern Mallis as she unveiled pieces from her latest venture, a jewelry collection for QVC.
Mallis, who spent nine years at IMG Worldwide until 2010 overseeing Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, seemed surprised by the possibilities she’s exploring during “my second act,” including Fern’s Finds for QVC.
Mallis has no use for Coco Chanel’s advice that women take off one piece of jewelry before leaving the house. “For me, more is more,” she said. “I’m always wearing multiple necklaces and multiple bracelets. I’m a shopper.”
Mallis’ apartment is a testament to her obsession, with jewelry stored in boxes and baskets. She collects sculptures of Indian gods because they have multiple arms — for hanging her necklaces.
The idea of selling jewelry on QVC came to Mallis a few years ago as she was walking through the 7th on Sixth tents with Doug Howe, the shopping network’s chief merchandising officer. “I started talking to him about the idea and while we were talking people came up and asked me where I got my jewelry,” Mallis said. While she’s bought few products on QVC, Mallis likes the medium. “You’re on the air. It’s right then and there as opposed to sitting on a [store] shelf with no one to tell you why it’s special. QVC is immediate and instant feedback.”
Prices range from $35 to $79, although QVC hasn’t set the prices for specific items yet. Expensive fine jewelry that Mallis will buy in India and South Africa will be reproduced or adapted for Fern’s Finds and the backstories of how and where she found the pieces will be used as a selling point on QVC.
Fern’s Finds will be packaged in brown craft paper boxes with gold lettering designed by Pentigram. Inside each box will be the jewelry in a silk pouch decorated with gold thread. There’s a gold-plated filigree cuff with tourmaline, citrine and simulated diamond stones; a jhumkas necklace with chandelier-style bunches of pearls; a multistrand necklace made of simulated cornelian and resin beads and earrings lined with rows of stones and pearls.
“It’s kind of this handcrafted look,” said Lisa Morrisey, vice president of fashion merchandising at QVC. “The one-of-a-kind pieces give it this exotic feel. What’s wonderful about this product is, this is Fern. This is how Fern wears her fashion jewelry.”
Fern’s Finds will debut during QVC’s live remote coverage of New York Fashion Week. “I won’t be at a loss for words,” said Mallis, who’s been onstage more than usual lately. She’s hosting the series “Fashion Icons With Fern Mallis” at the 92nd Street Y and has a new radio show on Sirius XM, “Fashion Insiders With Fern Mallis.” She also recently appeared off-Broadway in Nora and Delia Ephron’s “Love, Loss and What I Wore.” When the producer called and asked if she knew anyone from the fashion industry who could join the cast, Mallis thought for a minute and blurted out, “‘What about me?’ He was taken aback. I read two or three passages and he said, ‘You could absolutely do this.’” Mallis appeared in the show through last Sunday.
“I’m having a ball,” she said. “I had no idea this would ever happen. I’m open to new, exciting things.”