Atelier Swarovski’s Launch of Fine Jewelry

Atelier Swarovski First Fine Jewelry

Great news: Atelier Swarovski launches its first fine jewelry collection, designed by Matthew Campbell Laurenza. Hand crafted with Swarovski gemstones, the JEWELED GARDEN collection consists of 15 one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces, which will be sold exclusively at Bergdorf Goodman from April 2014.

Swarovski began cutting rock crystal, garnets, agates and synthetic gemstones in 1965. By 1995 Swarovski launched a full line of machine-cut genuine, semi-precious gemstones and in 1997, through the development of advanced computer-aided technology Swarovski perfected the cutting of precious gemstones and added sapphires to the program. Topaz and Zirconia were added to the collection of Swarovski gems in 2004. Matthew was introduced to Swarovski Gems five years ago, and his fascination with the brand’s range of color-matched stones inspired him to create anatomically correct flower and insect sculptures drawn from a “parallel universe to our reality where flora and fauna rule the world”. These magical sculptures were transformed into wearable art to create the Atelier Swarovski by Matthew Campbell Laurenza jewelry collection.

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The exquisite collection comprised of eight rings, four bracelets and three necklaces is made with semi-precious and precious Swarovski gemstones including multi-colored sapphires, amethyst, rhodolite garnets, spinel and topaz. Each meticulously handmade piece is set in 18KT gold and highlights an element of beauty found in nature.

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ABOUT MATTHEW CAMPBELL LAURENZA

Matthew Campbell Laurenza is an American born, world-renowned fine jewelry designer who splits his time between Asia and the United States. He gathers inspiration for his collections from his frequent travels around the world. When Matthew travels, he makes time to see the sights and experience the culture. Matthew’s MCL jewelry collection is currently in Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and Lane Crawford.

Enjoy this interview with Matthew Campbell Laurenza:

What inspired you to create the sculptures?
The concept took shape four years ago. The idea was to create sculptures that were not only intriguing but also showcased the technical proficiency of today’s metal craft. The garden pieces use 80,000 semi-precious gems to almost 200,000 gems and each one is hand-set by master craftsman. The assembly and casting alone for many of the pieces required more than 1,500 individual components which had to be carved in wax, cast, filed and then assembled together to make the final sculpture. On average, each piece took more than six months of a master goldsmith’s time.

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What was your process for creating the collection?
As with all my designs, the process starts with an idea that is translated into rough sketches. I then work on clay models to define the proportions and size so that master wax carvers can interpret the designs. Once in the hands of these masters, a piece will turn into an actual sculpture carved completely of wax. During the carving process, I review the prototypes on a weekly basis to allow for any changes and corrections. As an example, the scorpion took almost three months before its final wax was ready for the next stage. Once the waxes were approved, they had to be disassembled into small enough pieces to cast.

We used the lost wax casting method. Each part was labeled to identify its place in the puzzle and then we began filing. Assembly included relying on the original sketches and models. Each piece was laid out like a puzzle and then soldered together. We had to ensure the structural integrity of the sculptures as they needed to be reinforced internally while making sure that the exterior was kept pristine and free of any visual deformities. After reassembly, the sculptures were polished and each hole has to be counted, mapped, marked and measured so that the gems could be cut to size. To determine the colors needed for the gems, we made new sketches for each sculpture; mapping out exactly how each stone would be set.

The setting process involves dressing each mounting to carve a seat for the stone. This process was by far the most tedious since a professional stone setter can only set 400 to 500 stones per day and some sculptures have 200,000 stones. After each sculpture was set, it was sent for a final polishing and plated to add visual interest. Finally, the sculptures were set with rose cut pyrite, lapis and black onyx in special clays.

What is the story for this collection? What materials, color palettes etc. are you working with?
All of the sculptures were inspired by nature and classic works of art. We used Swarovski topaz, black spinel, rose cut pyrite, lapis, onyx and malachite. The color assortment allowed me to produce the designs as I had envisioned them. Colors that were near impossible to source were available in the topaz collections offered by Swarovski.

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Which is your favorite sculpture and why?
I like them all for different reasons. The giant sculptures to me are the most technical master pieces as they represent the most heartaches. The finished pieces are like my children and I love them equally jeweled GARDEN SCULPTURES.

What were some of your early influences when you first started designing jewelry?
I have always been intrigued with architecture and how it gives a city its soul. What’s amazing to me is what architects and craftsmen were able to accomplish in the past without all the technology that we have today. Notre Dame in Paris is a classic Gothic architecture and a truly inspiring structure. Other movements that continue to inspire me are the Orientalist, Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts movements of the late Victorian Era. I currently source many of my inspirations from architecture I see during my travels in Europe, Turkey and the United States. Travel is a limitless source of inspiration.

How do you feel you have evolved as a designer over your career?
As a result of experiencing so many different cultures, especially those in Asia, I appreciate color in a way that I did not at the beginning of my career and have moved into using color as a main aesthetic in my designs. My pieces are more playful now.

What are some key terms that describe the pieces in your collection?
Colorful, precious and complex.

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The rings are quite colorful, what was the thought process behind the plating?
To me, anytime we can add color to a piece it adds interest and conversation. So when I learned of this new process of plating I immediately worked to incorporate it in my designs. I am pleased as it gives me new colors to compliment the vast colors of stones offered by Swarovski.

What type of woman do you think is the perfect fit for this jewelry?
A woman who is confident and looking for conversation. She knows that her power comes from her personal style. She finds her style from things that intrigue her in her day to day life. I am honored to be part of her life as she makes my designs fit into her universe.

Thank you, Matthew, for giving us such an interesting insight in your world!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Atelier Swarovski by Matthew Campbell Laurenza, © Mister Fran

My Online Shopping Guide in Glamour

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Dear German readers, have a look at the newest edition of GLAMOUR magazine. I am so proud to have five pages in the new trend part concerning my favourite online shops.

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For all who cannot get their hands on the German GLAMOUR, here is a brief summary.

FASHION and more…
ASOS: Great shop to find trendy pieces for less money
CLOSED: The best pants in the world
COJE: A must for all who love romantic looks
FARFETCH: Shopping around the globe
LOUNGE LOVER: My choice for yoga and comfy clothes
LUISA VIA ROMA: The place to explore upcoming and established designers
MYTHERESA: Great selection of many designers, among them Givenchy and Balenciaga
NET-A-PORTER: My all-time favorite! Best online shopping on earth!
PULLANDBEAR: Statement fashion from Spain for the small budget

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ACCESSORIES and more…
AVENUE 32: New star in shopping heaven
BOTICCA: Extraordinary jewelry and accessories by upcoming young designers around the globe
GIFTLAB: Great source for gifts and more
MONNIER FRERES: Pretty addictive website for all sorts of accessories

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FAMILY & Co…
AMERICAN GIRL: A dream for little girls and their mommies
LOVELYSTUFF: The perfect shop to plan your baby shower or best friend’s wedding
NAMEITLABELS: Be creative and design your own labels
POTTERY BARN: Affordable furniture, home accessories and frames
TINY PRINTS: Greeting cards, perfect for the next holiday season

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AMERICAN DREAMS
BERGDORF GOODMAN: My favourite US-shopping destination
J.CREW: Preppy chic par excellence
SSENSE: Many It-labels for both, men and women
INTERMIXONLINE: Paradise for all A-listers and trendsetters
MYUS: Your virtual US-address for all those stores that don’t ship to Europe or Asia

Happy Shopping!

LoL, Sandra

Lunch at the Bergdorf Goodman Restaurant

Lunch at Bergdorf

I am only in NYC for 48 hours which is not a lot of time especially with such a tight schedule. So I am trying to get the most out of it. Today, I met with jewelry designer Gabriele Frantzen at my favourite restaurant BG Bergdorf Goodman for lunch. It is always such a vibrant, eclectic place overlooking the Central Park on the seventh floor of the famous department store on Fifth Avenue.

Gabriele, who is dividing her time between Munich and NYC, creates amazing custom jewelry.
I invite you to have a look at her designs by clicking here.

IMG_2752Gabriele with me, we are both wearing Gabriele Frantzen necklaces

IMG_2778An amazing present and a wonderful addition to my closet!

Kelly Rutherford with me

At lunch, I run into one of my beloved actresses from Gossip Girl (her character is Lily van der Woodsen): Beautiful Kelly Rutherford. She told me that she just met with Albert Kriemler because she will be wearing an Akris gown to a gala tonight. Check out her new website by clicking here.

I am getting ready now for the big show tonight! So excited!

LoL, Sandra

Bergdorf Goodman Contest

Contest Bergdorf Goodman

Today, I have a very exciting new contest for you with an amazing prize to win. Dress the icon of chic, Bergdorf Goodman’s Fashion Director Linda Fargo, for New York Fashion Week. Using pieces from Linda’s closet, style a look that’s both warm and fabulous for her to wear front row in the tents at Lincoln Center.

Linda will choose one winner to attend a runway fashion show with her and receive a $2,500 Bergdorf Goodman gift card, a hair and make-up re-style and a private personal shopping experience. Up to $1,000 will be providede for the winner’s travel expenses. Contest ends January 31st, 2011 at 11.59pm PST.

Sounds like a lot of fun! Enter as many sets as you like, get started now! Good luck!

LoL, Sandra

CONTEST HAS ENDED!

Carrie On

SATC Cover

Sex and the City 2 hits the theaters next week on May 27. Enjoy my insight into the much discussed, long-awaited movie that is a must for every fashionista.

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What happens if you say yes? It is two years later, Carrie is living the life with Big which lost a little its sparkle, Samantha has become a pill-addicted, Charlotte is struggling with the pressure she is experiencing as a mother of two, only Miranda seems to cope with her life as a  mom and a professional woman. Still all girls look fantastic in their to-die-for outfits once again put together by famous stylist Patricia Field. Guest stars are Penelope Cruz, Liza Minelli and “Hannah Montana” actress Miley Cyrus.

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A little excitement comes in when the girls jump at a chance for an all-expenses-paid trip to Abu Dhabi. The glamorous, sun-drenched adventure surprises with some mysterious coincidences like Carrie bumping into her ex Aidan. The desert looks are so vivid, luxurious and divine. Fashionistas, grab your turbans!

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Last week, the book to the movie “Sex and the City 2 – The Stories. The Fashion. The Adventure” was released. It is a great buy as you can find most of the foursome`s outfits with detailed descriptions.

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Here you have a preview of the probably two most successful looks of Sex and the City 2,  available now. Both dresses are from Halston Heritage. Altogether Carrie is wearing six of them in the sequel. The reason might be that Sarah Jessica Parker is now the Creative Advisor for the legendary American label.

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Founded by Roy Halston Frowick, Halston had its golden age during the Studio 54 era. In 2008, the brand was relaunched and in 2009, its hip diffusion line Halston Heritage followed. I am a big fan of this effortless chic. After seeing Carrie and her style-setting looks, I am sure that there will be a lot more Halstonettes out there.
If you like the “lucky charm” clover necklace, you can order it at Patricia Field`s online store from $56-$72.

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Absolutely funny is the 80`s retrospective in the movie. Carrie in her Madonna-inspired outfit still looks cute but Miranda…. that hairdo, ohmygod!

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The new must-have accessories will be sweatbands, preferably in neon colours. As spotted on Sarah Jessica Parker – just gorgeous!
Moreover for your evenings out, Skyy Vodka offers “cocktail couture” with a special designed SATC 2 bottle designed by Patricia Field.

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The hype has no end in sight. Bergdorf Goodman asked Patricia Field to style the windows of their department store on 58th street. Each of them celebrates a familiar Sex and the City moment. That is New York City!

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The four actresses are the cover girls for the recent June edition of American Marie Claire magazine. Get your issue now.

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One last anecdote. The buzz began last summer when tons of fans followed the crew around the city to get the best views on the first location shoots. Rumors had it quickly that Samantha will tie the knot in the sequel after her appearance in a bridal gown. There had been many memorable weddings on the show. Think about Charlotte and Trey in the kilt, or that beautiful little ceremony between Steve and Miranda, not to forget Mr. Big and Carrie.

In case you thought Samantha would be the last girl to put the ring on it, you got duped. Kim Cattrall who plays the maneater Samantha had the devious idea to set the fans on the wrong track. There is going to be a ceremony indeed, but it will be a gay one between Stanford and Anthony. Carrie will wear a smoking, don`t you think that this is probably a little too cliché?!

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If you cannot get enough of Carrie, I recommend Candace Bushnell`s newest book. “The Carrie Diaries” is about the young protagonist as a high-school senior. A nostalgic look back, an addictive story and a nice way of getting to know our iconic “Sex and the city” fashionista a little better.

Get carried away!

LoL, Sandra