Hannah Martin

In today's dainty, layer-obsessed jewelry culture, it feels like an absolute luxury to wear a piece by London-based Hannah Martin. Weighty, substantial and statement-making, each jewel has the feel of a mini sculpture – one envisioned by the coolest girl in the room. (It's true. Hannah has that effortless-cool thing down pat. Believe us, your eyes would go straight to her at a cocktail party.) After graduating from the prestigious design school Central Saint Martins and a stint in Paris working for a Place Vendôme jewelry house, Hannah returned to London and joined forces with her business partner Nathan Morse to build a line that has an edgy, masculine feel (and even contains must-haves for men). Handmade in London, it's luxury accessories with a bit of an attitude. No wonder we're such big fans. 

Robert Mapplethorpe...It would be a fun night.
— Hannah

 

What's your idea of ultimate luxury?

 Ultimate luxury for me is time, in all contexts. Time is the one thing we all seem to be short of in this fast-paced world we exist in. A luxury product should take time, craftsmanship and skill to make. It is the investment of time, in anything, that for me makes luxury.

 

Let’s have dinner at your favorite neighborhood restaurant. Where do we go and what do we eat?

 My local neighborhood is Clerkenwell in London, which now has a plethora of excellent places to eat. My go-to however would be St John, SmithfieldSt John was one of the original restaurants here, and is consistently excellent. It prides itself on nose-to-tail eating and I would definitely order a plate of the bone marrow. It's decadent, rich and unbelievably tasty.

 

If you could buy any piece of contemporary jewelry from another jeweler, what would it be?

 A piece by JAR – he is an unrivaled master.

 

 What’s the best movie you saw in the last six months?

Head On’ - a German-Turkish film starring an amazing actor called Birol Unel.

 

What's your go–to cocktail?

 Dirty Gin Martini – dirtier the better.

 

The gemstone you’re currently lusting after is . . .

There is never just one! I’m like a kid in a candy shop when it comes to stones.

 

What's your favorite place to holiday and why?

 Anywhere that involves sun, good food and good wine.

 

You have 30 minutes to work out – what do you do?

Run!

 

What was the first piece of jewelry you bought for yourself?

 I think it was a really naff dagger earring from a stall in Camden town when I was trying to recreate the ‘Lost Boys’ look.

 

If you could have dinner with any artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?

 Robert Mapplethorpe. He is one of my icons – his work is always part of my inspiration, and I would love to hear his stories. It would be a fun night.

 

What's the most sentimental piece of jewelry you own and tell us the back story.

 My engagement/wedding ring. My husband proposed to me with an uncut emerald – I then had the stone cut and asked the cutter to work with the natural form of the stone, allowing the stone itself to direct the shape. I then designed my ring around it. It’s so big that it is both my engagement and wedding ring – and I love it.

 

Mountains, sea or city? Why?

 City. I love escaping the city for a break but always yearn to be back. I love the excitement, the energy, the constant visual stimulation – I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.

 

Top 5 bands in your playlist - go!

Nick Cave

Savages

Patti Smith

Joy Division

Morrissey

(That is almost an impossible list to write!)

 

You’re having guests for the weekend. What’s your signature dish that you cook?

 A selection of deliciousness from the Ottolenghi book - I love cooking lots of these Middle Eastern inspired dishes full of flavor then serving them all on our huge dining table so everyone just digs in. It is super sociable, relaxed and tasty.

 

Be honest – who’s your celebrity crush?!

 Michael Fassbender!

 

If you could only carry one handbag for the rest of your life, what would it be?

 Probably something from Celine – they seem to nail ‘classic with a twist’ every time.

 

If you could sit front row at any fashion show, which would it be and why?

 Alaïa, although he doesn't necessarily do shows. Still, Alaïa every time for me.

 

Tell us your beauty secrets (think: can’t-live-without makeup and skincare)

 Black mascara and a bright red lipstick by Chanel - I’m pretty basic when it comes to makeup and skin care but am never without these two items.

 

What's your spirit animal?

 An eagle

 

If you could be anything other than a jewelry designer, what would it be?

 A bass player in a rock n’ roll band.

 

 

 

Thanks for playing, Hannah! Shop the collection HERE

xx FFR

Zoe Chicco

So it's bad enough we're in Paris for Fashion Week. The showroom is 4,000 square feet and impeccably decorated, filled to the brim with brie, croissants and wine. Wait, it gets worse. In walks Zoe Chicco and we realized we have to befriend this monster. Wait. That doesn't sound so terrible? Well, indeed, it was the best damn week ever. Instant girl crush status, Ms. Chicco is equal parts wife, mother, girl's girl, and badass jewelry designer. Something to note- Zoe can get down at the bench. Don't let the perfect LA ombré and Chanel fool you, this girl can solder.

Currently, I am obsessed with opals.
— Zoe

How long have you been designing and what did you do prior?

I have been designing since I was in high school. I majored in Studio Art with a concentration in Metalsmithing and went right into an apprenticeship with a goldsmith when I graduated from college.  I started my own business in 2000.  So making and designing jewelry is the only professional career I have had.

 

Can you believe we are preparing for another COUTURE? Tell us about your inspiration for the next collection.

COUTURE is such an amazing show to be a part of.  It’s the best of the best in the industry from designers to retailers. In my collections I usually stick to gold and diamonds, but I wanted to do something that was a bit of a departure for me, so I added a gemstone collection and featured turquoise and opals mixed with round and baguette diamonds. While both stones are usually associated with summer jewelry, I think done the right way they can be worn year round. I am really happy with the mix of pieces and intend to expand on the collection next season.

 

Was it designed with COUTURE in mind? 

Yes. One of the best things about COUTURE is that I don’t feel like I have to sensor my creativity to fit within a certain price point. A lot of my boutiques stores have a specific price range they have to stay within and I am very conscious of that when I am designing, but when I design for COUTURE – anything goes.  You never know who might pick up the collection and having that total freedom to do whatever I dream up is very liberating and a lot of fun.

 

Name another fine jewelry designer that you are a fan of and tell us why.

I think Irene Neuwirth’s jewelry is absolutely stunning.  It is so completely different from what I do and wear, but I have such an appreciation for it. Her colorful statement pieces and the gemstone combinations that she uses are amazing and the way she puts everything together is so unique and beautiful. The fact that so many pieces are one of a kind makes them so special.  I would love to own one of her pieces someday.

 

Gemstone you can’t get enough of?

Currently, I am obsessed with opals. They are having a big moment right now and it is well deserved. I remember the first time I saw boulder opals when I was working my first jewelry production job after college. We had a gem dealer from Australia visit the store and I had never seen anything like them, I had no idea that opals could look like that. They were each so unique and different. I bought a bunch of them then and still have some. I don’t typically sell one of a kind pieces, but I think it may be time to bust some of those opals out, even if it is just for my own personal jewelry collection!

 

What’s your favorite piece that you’ve recently purchased?

Well my husband bought me a rose gold Cartier love bracelet when our son was born, so that is probably my favorite purchased piece although I didn’t purchase it myself. I love that it is the one piece of jewelry that I never take it off and every time I look at it it reminds me of how much I love my family and how strong our bond is.

 

What is the most sentimental piece of jewelry that you own and what's the backstory?

A gold bangle of my grandmothers. Every day she wore wrist full of bangles, and rings on every finger. She wore an arm party long before that was a thing! She was my first muse, I made a lot of my earliest pieces for her. When she passed away all of her bangles were divvied up to her children and grandchildren. It is something I will always treasure.

 

Why do you think people are becoming so comfortable purchasing fine jewelry online?

I think people are becoming more comfortable purchasing anything online, fine jewelry included. We are living in a very visual world. People will fall in love with something they see on someone or on Instagram and search for it online and buy it on the spot. Pinterest has even started a platform where you can see something you like and just click to buy it- you don’t even have to be redirected to the site! Everything is just so accessible right now- it makes it so anyone can own something they see and love, they don’t have to live in a place where you can find it in a store. As a designer, it really increases your audience. You can have clients wearing your jewelry in cities where you don’t have any stockists, which is great. But personally, I think it’s hard to shop for jewelry online as I really like to see it in person and feel the weight of the piece and quality of the stones before I commit. Of course, typically, if you don’t like it you can always just return it.  But there is something nice about shopping in a brick and mortar specialty store. You often get a lot more information about the piece or the designer which I really appreciate. Sometimes,  you try on something else that you wouldn’t have necessarily thought would work - like a collar necklace - but it’s a perfect fit and wind up walking out with that instead.

 

Next time FFR is visiting your home base, where do we eat?

At our house!  Or outside at Gracias Madre – the atmosphere is great and they serve delicious organic vegan Mexican food. I also love the bar at Sunset Tower or sitting in the garden at Chateau Marmont (great people watching).

 

Best cocktail bar? For a sophisticated sip AND ponying up to a pub – we are Geminis, so we need both options.

I love to have happy hour downtown and sit outside at Perch, they have great cocktails and the views are amazing. For a pub I would say 7 Grand. I am not a big beer person, but they have amazing artisan cocktails, the largest whiskey menu I’ve even seen and a real pub vibe with a great bar and pool table.

 

What’s your preferred mode of transportation day-to-day?

We live in Los Angeles, so I am pretty dependent on my car.

 

Top 5 bands in your playlist?

Radiohead, Jay Z, The XX, Florence and the Machine, and basically anything old school 90’s hip hop when I want to dance.

 

Celebrity Crush?!

Well when I was pregnant my husband named my body pillow Travis, after Travis Fimmel from Vikings.  So I guess I MAY have mentioned him being attractive once or twice…

 

If you could only carry one handbag for the rest of your life, what would it be?

This is sooo tough…I have a thing with handbags. Right now I am loving Chloe, Chanel (of course) and Givenchy. That said- if it speaks to me- it usually ends up in my closet (eek!).

 

Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter?

Instagram.  No contest.

 

What’s your signature scent and what three words would you use to describe it?

Gardenia.  Strong, sensual, feminine.

 

If you could do anything else for a living, what would it be and why?

I really enjoy designing interior spaces as well, so I think I would get into home décor. I love going to flea markets with my friends and trying to find those special pieces that no one else will have.  I have found a lot of great treasures that are incorporated around my home and the showroom.

 

Where’s the last destination you visited that inspired your work?

Paris. I love Parisian women’s simple seemingly effortless elegance. That vibe is the inspiration for our upcoming look book photo shoot.

 

Flats or heels? (And what’s your current favorite pair?)

I wish I could say heels, but honestly these days when I am often chasing a baby around all day, it is definitely flats. I have several favorites – a pair of Valentino sandals and golden goose white sneakers for running around downtown.

 

You’re on a shopping mission in your hometown. Where is your go-to for the perfect party outfit? Housewarming gift?

For the perfect party outfit I would go to Elyse Walker, she has amazing taste and you can find really special pieces there. For a housewarming gift is always New Stone Age. I basically want everything in the store.  And it is so well curated, there is something great in every price range (including ZC jewelry!).

 

If we were filming the reality show of your life, what would your tagline be? (Think Real Housewives!)

I work with gold and diamonds, but my real treasures are at home.

 

 

Thanks for playing, Zoe!

Shop the collection on zoechicco.com

xx FFR

 

 

Beth Bugdaycay of FoundRae

As the founder and former co-owner of Rebecca Taylor, Beth Bugdaycay knows a thing or sixty about starting a business from the ground up. Enter FoundRae, a curation of exquisitely designed ready to wear and fine jewelry, based on the inspiration of found objects. Designed in NYC and soon to be housed at the exquisite 52 Lispenard, the collections are everything we have been looking for and yet to find for ourselves. It's like all of our vintage dreams came true in the form of these contemporary unicorns. While we are  personally, overtly obsessed with the 18K line of modern heirlooms, found at Barneys and Broken English, the clothing has already garnered quite a following with the likes of Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, and other fine retailers across the US. Did we mention she is the kindest woman alive? With killer taste and a creative spirit? Karma, people. It's not just a symbol '8' on a badass signet ring. Read on, lovers!

 

I like to try new places that are a bit fringe.
— Beth

 

 

 

 

What's your idea of ultimate luxury? 

The ultimate luxury for me would be to be able to create all day and not handle the administrative parts of the business a start-up requires!

 

Let’s have dinner at your favorite neighborhood restaurant. Where do we go and what do we eat? 

Depends if its “my” night of my husband’s..he loves going to our tried and true….(anything jean George) and I like trying new places that are a bit fringe.

 

If you could buy any piece of contemporary jewelry from another jeweler, what would it be?

I love Delfina Deletrez

 

If you could orchestrate the perfect first date, what would it entail? 

First date: Great wine, authentic conversation.  I want to skip the superficial small talk and take some risk by talking about something w/ real substance.

 

 

What’s the best movie you saw in the last six months?  

Diary of a teenage girl.  My good girlfriend produced it and took me as her date to the premiere

 

What's your go–to cocktail? 

I ALWAYS do wine. Red or white..rarely a cocktail

 

The gemstone you’re currently lusting after is . . .

I love emeralds.  I have a very large cabochon that looks a bit mystical.

 

What’s your favorite piece that you made in the last year and why? 

Strength cigar band as pinkie ring. I wear daily

 

You have 30 minutes to work out – what do you do? 

30 minutes to work out:  argh.  Bain of my life.  If it were an hour I’d do tennis but I’m afraid I haven’t figured out how to “slip in” a workout. 

 

What was the first piece of jewelry you bought for yourself? 

First piece of jewelry I bought for myself was a stackedacrostic Victorian ring that spelled out “dear”.  I gave one band to each of my closest girlfriends.

 

If you could have dinner with any artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?

I’d like to have dinner w/ Gunta Stoltlz who’s work inspired the launch season of our RTW.  She wasn’t accepted as a painter due to the discrimination against women in fine arts in 1910 but found recognition as a textile artist.  I’d like to tell her that I recognize she is a painter.

 

What's the most sentimental piece of jewelry you own and tell us the back story.

The silver Aztec coin my mother gave me is my cherished piece.  It’s my childhood, it’s the border, it’s her.

 

Mountains, sea or city? Why? 

Sea: I love the movement of the water and breezy, bare dresses

 

 

You’re having guests for the weekend. What’s your signature dish that you cook? 

Ginger swordfish

 

Be honest – who’s your celebrity crush?!

Clint Eastwood in “The Outlaw”

 

If you could only carry one handbag for the rest of your life, what would it be? 

Maroon quilted chanel shoulder bag. I’ve owned it for about 5 years and love that it looks like it could be 40 years old.

 

If you could sit front row at any fashion show, which would it be and why? 

Dries Van Noten.  I love his mix of prints.

 

Tell us your beauty secret:

When you are tired, try harder.  (more eyeliner, more bronzer)

 

What's your spirit animal? 

Mole: indefatigable appetite and work ethic.

 

If you could be anything other than a jewelry designer, what would it be? 

I like to make things w/ my hands.  Craft teacher.

 

Thanks for hanging with us, Beth!

xx FFR