Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Preview of Laura Ciccarello's Stylish Accessories + Exclusive Interview!

One of my absolute favorite things about being a fashion blogger is the chance to really get to know the people behind the fashion scene. I recently had a chance to meet Accessories Designer Laura Ciccarello who designs jewelry, scarves and handbags under her namesake brand. 

I’m a big fan of unconventional designs and Laura certainly delivers with themes like Karl Lagerfeld is really Chuck Norris and Queen of the Aztec.

Fascinated by her unique designs, I caught up with Laura for an in-depth interview. Check out what she had to say about her super cool new collection, inspiration, career advise for budding new designers and much more! 

1.   Tell my readers about your super chic accessories collection! 

I started my accessory collection two seasons ago after working in fashion in design, to manufacturing, to merchandising. My first design I made for the collection started out as a party invite for my birthday. (“I Heart Fear and Loathing in New York” print) Everyone loved the invite so much that I made it into a more complex image and didn’t stop there. Being in between Photoshop and sketching reminded me of why I really loved to design. After careful planning, designing every print myself, and a lot of meetings my scarf collection began selling in a multiline accessories showroom. When my friends in film saw the samples we set up a video shoot in a beautiful penthouse overlooking central park south. After such an amazing day shooting where even a few of my girlfriends pitched in as models, we had a big celebration and that’s when I knew I was on the right path.

Next, I added large wristlets featuring my prints to solve the issue of switching your bags from day to night. These can simply be added into your “carry-all” or lap-top bag during the day hold everything necessary and then taken out to fly solo at night. It’s the closest thing I could think of that would prevent back pain…other than being a chiropractor.

The jewelry I have just added this season and is being shown for the first time at the Javitz Center in Accessory Circuit (Booth 7723 on August 2nd through 4th). A lot of my jewelry collection is lingerie inspired. Lingerie was in many ways what started my career which is why my “Metal Lace Collection” offers a variety of precious and plated metals that include digital lace motifs I designed. This collection is one of my favorites because it’s the jewelry I have always dreamed of…a hint of Victorian but made for modern day. All of the jewelry is handmade in New York’s diamond district with a friend who is a couture jeweler by trade, yet was able to make my designs very affordable, despite the high level of detail.

Many people ask me about the “core values” of the brand and not being at a corporate level and having a marketing team answering for me-in short this is literally a collection built on fun that friends have helped with, simply put. Wearers feel that and sense that a lot of work went into each piece…and I know this because I designed each of them myself!

2. Where do you look for inspiration? 

I’m surrounded by inspiration on a daily basis living here in New York and I stay constantly on the move. Inspiration is in everything! I love being outdoors and love going to new places as much as I can. My endless curiosity is where I find constant inspiration. I read and watch everything I can get my hands on in between my adventures out and about. It’s important for me between research and have real discussions to learn as much as I can. Don’t get me wrong…it is so boring to google things, I would rather discuss them with someone as I always learn something more valuable along the way. The biggest challenge I have is over designing. If I could bring every idea I had to life, my collections would be around 1500 SKU’s each season.

3.   You have such interesting, unconventional pieces like the Karl Lagerfeld is really Chuck Norris scarf! What is your design process like? 

All of my ideas start from my sketches or paintings I have done. Then…some of my designs are formed around discussions. The Karl Lagerfeld is Really Chuck Norris idea came about when I was hanging out with one of my friends who was a buyer at Chanel at the time. We were out and I was asking her what is up with Karl Lagerfeld. In the real world he would just be a super shady guy everyone stares at in Brooklyn but in the fashion world he’s created a real iconic look. Her answer was she didn’t know, he’s a man of mystery…and that’s when the idea was born.

I replied, "Karl Lagerfeld is always seen out at all hours at parties around the world and never seen eating right? Instead of being super-human, part of me believes that Karl Lagerfeld is a secret agent who has a black belt in karate and has laser vision, which is why he must always wear his large black glasses…or his eyes will burn things. Chuck Norris is not the reason Waldo is hiding…it’s really Karl Lagerfeld."

This is probably not true, but is something fun to think about…

4.  I'm so inspired by your story of working your way up in fashion and ultimately creating your own collection. What advice can you give to young people who are also looking to break into the fashion industry?  

The one piece of ultimate advice that I wish I was told was that “everything gets better…and easier”. Maybe you will have to take a job you don’t love but you have to remind yourself that nothing is forever and it’s ok to justify moves like that as means to your end goal. But ultimately you are in control of your own destiny so if there isn’t something you like…change it!

One big piece of advice is to build a great support team of good, honest people. In fashion, it’s always been funny to me that a lot of bad behavior appears to be rewarded. Always remember the loudest person in the room is rarely the most intelligent one and those who constantly try to break others down through games are just very, very insecure…maybe they didn’t get hugged enough as kids, who knows. No matter what industry you are in those who do wrong by others, always fall by the wayside and become a distant memory (if they were really nuts, they will make for funny stories), or in most cases, forgotten.

And lastly, your reputation is extremely important and if a company you are working for is about to jeopardize it, just walk away because in the bigger picture it’s always worth it.

My closest friends and family is really who pushed me forward with constant encouragement and positive actions. These are the people I adore and put before anything else.

5. Accessorizing your look is such an art – any advice for the summer? 

Summer is the time to have the most fun with your accessories…no amount of color or shine is off limits! If you are in New York where I am the best accessory is a scarf to keep you warm (as the AC is blasting in most establishments) and it doubles as a sarong for beach-going. Wristlets are my favorite summer bags. They eliminate carrying anything on my shoulder, keeping my hands free and my chiffon wrinkle-free. Glam Rock is back and better than ever, so layering and gemstones, especially paired together are a great way to dress up very casual looks. So in short-have fun & go wild!

6. Where can my readers buy your collection sold?

In select boutiques and for the entire collection online in my website store : www.LauraCiccarello.com

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