PERSONAL LETTERS OF THE STARS
Byline: Marcy Medina
LOS ANGELES — When it comes to accessories and personal identity in Hollywood, the latest fashionable adornments are ones that signal the wearer’s name with initials or just a single letter.
Perhaps Madonna, no stranger to being the source of a fashion craze, started this trend with her “Boy Toy” belt buckle in the early Eighties. She was quickly followed by Run DMC’s gold nameplate necklace. More recently, Sarah Jessica Parker’s “Carrie” pendant in HBO’s “Sex and the City” renewed the trend among fashionista viewers.
“I think it was co-opted from the streets,” said Jeanne Yang, a Los Angeles stylist who in the past dressed actors such as Claire Forlani, Leelee Sobieski and Lara Flynn Boyle. “Where do you think Jay Z, J.Lo and Bling-Bling come from? All those people very much make it a point of wearing jewelry. They want to show off their diamonds as part of their identity.”
Los Angeles jewelry designer Paige Roberts said her two-inch-high letter necklaces, bobby pins and belt buckles made of sterling silver and Swarovski crystals have caught on among Hollywood glitterati such as Gwen Stefani, Tori Spelling and Pamela Anderson.
“Definitely, the trend originated here in L.A,” she said. “It’s reminiscent of what rappers wore in the late Eighties and early Nineties. But I make it a little more feminine for somebody who doesn’t want a hard-core rap look.”
That said, the softer designs didn’t stop the Delano Hotel in Miami from ordering 50 necklaces from Roberts for a rap convention it recently hosted.
“It’s just a fun look,” she said. “I wouldn’t say it’s for everyday, though. I only wear mine out at night.”
Jewelry designer Lizzie Scheck of Mia & Lizzie custom designs initials for clients.
“I wear an ‘E’ for Elizabeth, and my partner wears an ‘M.’ People see them and ask for them,” Scheck said. “So many people have asked me what the ‘E’ stands for that now I just say it stands for ‘easy.”‘
“Many people like to wear initials for their kids or significant others,” said Jennifer Kaufman, owner of the Jennifer Kaufman boutique in Beverly Hills, who said the trend also has become popular as bridal party gifts. “It’s cryptic and personal, and who’s going to know what it stands for but you? It’s like a little talisman.”
Of course, if you’re Madonna, anyone who glances at your ears might guess that the “L” and “R” stand for her children, Lola and Rocco.
“Things catch on. I don’t think people necessarily copy each other,” said designer Erica Courtney, who recently made a diamond and platinum “27” for actress Ashley Judd, which represents her fiance Dario Franchitti’s racecar number.
Those who look for a slightly more understated approach to initials jewelry may prefer Lena Wald’s tiny diamond pave and gold earrings. Wald, who designs a separate high-end line of jewelry, at first made the initials for herself to cover up extra piercings in her ears.
“I happen to have four holes in one ear and thought it would be cute if I did my name,” Wald said. “Then everybody started asking for the letters.”
To date, her clients have included Cameron Diaz — who wore Lena Wald’s jewelry to the Oscars two years ago and bought them for the entire cast and crew of “Charlie’s Angels” — Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Moss, Jenna Elfman, Milla Jovovich and Jennifer Aniston, who wears a “J” and “P” for Jennifer Pitt, since she’s married to Brad.
“Everyone knocks Lena off, and I think the reason people like her things is that they’re so tiny,” said Kaufman. “Who wants to look back in two years and say, ‘What was I thinking?’ It’s OK to make a $200 mistake, but you don’t want to make a $2,000 mistake.”
Wald said some of her clients have even spelled four-letter words with her jewelry.
“Sometimes, I wear a “69,” she said coyly. “For the year I was born.”