Wanderlust isn't just a concept for Nora Kogan, it's a lifestyle. We could listen to the Russian-born, Australian-bred designer's travel stories for days, generally over tequila(s) at La Esquina. After spending a decade in Europe and Japan, she's planted roots in Brooklyn, New York (103 Metropolitan Avenue to be exact), and has sought out the borough's best-skilled artisans to bring her sketches to life. Full of whimsy and timeless simplicity, every piece currently on our wish list is now available online at Twist, for all you poor, unfortunate souls who can't meet us for margaritas.
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Let’s have dinner at your favorite neighborhood restaurant. Where do we go and what do we eat?
An early dinner at Diner in Williamsburg — before it’s packed and you can’t get in the door. We’d sit at a booth and I’d start with a double Bloody Mary with extra olives. They change the menu every day so I’d want to hear what the specials are first. There’s usually something that appeals to me but if not I’ll happily settle for a burger, which is always on the menu. Their fries, served with a side of garlicky aioli, are to die for.
If you could buy any piece of contemporary jewelry from another jeweler, what would it be?
The vacation spot that you keep going back to over and over?
Easy. The Standard Miami. I’ve been going there twice a year since they opened. It just feels like a home away from home. It’s lush, quiet, not a party scene but buzzy enough. I love their spa, especially the Turkish hammam.
What’s the last book you couldn’t put down?
I love good crime fiction because it takes me so outside of myself, and I need that respite because I’m consumed with my work. I read on my iPhone until very late every night. The last book I couldn’t put down was The Second Deadly Sin by Asa Larsson.
The gemstone you’re currently lusting after is . . .
I’ve always been bonkers for emeralds. There’s a pair of matched emeralds—20 odd carats—that I’ve been obsessing over for a while now. Sometimes you see a stone and the design immediately pops into your brain. When I saw these I knew exactly what I would do with them. And no, I’m not telling!
It’s your birthday and your favorite flower arrangement arrives – what does it look like?
This is a hard question for me because I can easily spend an hour in a florist picking out flowers. I do like a single color arrangement…unless it’s roses. So I would either go for two dozen pink peonies. Or, fifty multi-colored roses, Moroccan-style. I’m so greedy!
What’s your favorite piece that you made in the last year and why?
I love my Yuki ring—it’s part of my bondage collection. It’s a fantastic statement piece, and I think it’s one of my best designs in recent years. It’s timeless. It’s still going to look good in 10, 20 years. My best jewelry is an object that’s been reinterpreted as jewelry. In this case, it’s a piece of knotted rope re-imagined as a diamond-studded ring.
You have 30 minutes to work out – what do you do?
I’d go for a run.
What was the first piece of jewelry you bought for yourself?
The first piece I bought was a 1940s cocktail ring with a huge emerald-cut citrine. I found it in an antique jewelry store in Melbourne, and one day while riding the escalator in a department store I accidentally knocked the ring against the railing and the stone went flying out of the setting, never to be seen again. Oops.
If you could have dinner with any artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?
It would definitely be someone with a sense of humor. I think anyone who works in a creative field is an artist, so I’d go with Larry David. He and I are kindred spirits.
Take a picture of the most sentimental piece of jewelry you own and tell us the back story.
The Scorpion pendant on a thick gold chain that my dad wore every day. It’s kind of macho and kind of Euro-trashy at the same time. I wasn’t overly enamored with it when my dad was alive, but since his death I have a hard time being separated from it, and I now see it for the really cool piece of jewelry that it is. It’s also solid 18k and weighs a ton, so that’s a small fortune right there.
What’s your preferred mode of transportation day-to-day?
My favorite mode of transportation is the 1984 burgundy Mercedes I bought my girlfriend last year. It’s a gorgeous car. And it’s bigger than my first apartment in New York.
You’re having guests for the weekend. What’s your signature dish that you cook for them?
Be honest – who’s your celebrity crush?!
If you could only carry one handbag for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I really love my Fanta-orange Celine bag that’s been customized by one of my good friends in Australia who also happens to be an amazing artist. He spray-painted it with his version of the Australian flag in silver and hot pink.
What’s your signature scent and what three words would you use to describe it?
Frederic Malle’s Musc Ravageur. Three words? Sexy mother fucker.
If you could sit front row at any fashion show, which would it be and why?
Rick Owens. I love his clothes! They are so striking and distinctive, and the show would be visually and aurally arresting.
Tell us your beauty secrets (think: can’t-live-without makeup and skincare)
Can’t live without my By Terry mascara, Rodin face oil, and Yves St. Laurent Top Secrets lip balm.
Signature nail polish and/or lipstick shade for a night on the town?
Check out the entire collection of alternative bridal here at Twist. Remember, if Nora asks, we want the Rapture ring. Got it?