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.
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.
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