Pamela Love

The NYC-based jewelry designer debriefs us on her downtown-cool style. By Erin Donnelly
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Pamela at a coffee shop and in her studio wearing jewelry of her own design, photographs by Julia Restoin-Roitfeld and Derek Katella
Designer of her own eponymous jewelry line, stylist, artist, musician, downtown stylephile at large…Pamela Love wears a lot of hats, both literally and figuratively. And while her multitasking skills are impressive, it's Love's knack for pulling together undone, innately cool ensembles that earns her a gold star in our book. What's the secret to her buzz-worthy look? "I try to mix the masculine and feminine as much as possible, the high and the low, the old and the new," Love confides. "Those sorts of contrasts are important. I like irony."
With Fashion Week looming, Love's got two major design collaborations (we'd tell you, but we'd have to kill you) and her latest jewelry collection in the works, not to mention some new workspace roomies in the form of Julia Restoin-Roitfeld and Frank Tell. Eat your heart out, Janet and Chrissy.
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Pamela in her apartment and riding her bike, photographs by Julia Restoin-Roitfeld
What fashion items can you not live without?
"My Levi's jeans and Levi's cutoff shorts, men's button downs, hats, aviator sunglasses, wedge sandals, boots, and moccasins."
What are you dying to get your hands on for fall?
"Sonia Rykiel everything! Especially the hats. Miu Miu shoes, Alexander Wang baggy denim cutoff shorts with all those holes, Tom Ford sunglasses, and some kind of backpack that doesn't make me look stupid when I am riding my bike."
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Pamela in Arizona and on her bike in Brooklyn, photographs by Mark Silva and Nick Lorden
Your style is very eclectic. Are there any fashion rules that you live by?
"I guess I would never show my midriff or too much cleavage. Never take yourself too seriously and always have fun with what you are wearing. If it hurts too much to wear it then it doesn't look cool because you probably look like you're in pain."
Who are your style inspirations?
"Neil Young, Bob Dylan—early/Rolling Thunder Revue era—Kurt Cobain, Stevie Nicks—then not now—Carly Simon—then not now—Catherine Keener because she always looks amazingly cool and effortless, Goldie Hawn in Shampoo, little Edie Beale because she would wear skirts on her head and make it look glamorous, Bianca Jagger, cowboys and Indians, and my friends."
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Self-portrait on the road in Arizona
What designers do you love?
"My favorite designers would probably be Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, Ann Demeulemeester, Sonia Rykiel, Karl Lagerfeld, Comme des Garçons, Helmut Lang—from before the changing of the guard—Marc Jacobs, and Miuccia Prada. There are also so many amazing young designers like Alexander Wang, Rodarte, Frank Tell, and Vena Cava. My friend Yara Flinn has a new line called Nomia that's really amazing, too. And I used to be obsessed with Miguel Adrover but he has closed up shop—very sad. He is a genius." [Ed. Note: Adrover now has an eco-friendly capsule line for the German mail-order company Hess Natur.]
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Pamela working on a necklace, photography by Derek Katella
Your jewelry line references natural elements with a somewhat macabre twist. Where do you get inspiration?
"Science and nature have been a huge inspiration for me: biology, chemistry, botany, archeology, astronomy, and medicine. Religion, magic, and spiritual imagery. The zodiac and tarot cards. Classic paintings by Hieronymus Bosch and Jan Van Eyck. Mexico, native America, India, Africa, Israel. Elsa Schiaparelli, my grandmother. The early '90s, the '70s, the '40s, the Victorian times, the Dark Ages, the Edwardian times, ancient Egypt. Totem poles, summer camp in Georgia when I was 12. I could go on forever…"
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Pamela in her studio, photographs by Derek Katella
We hear that you'll be sharing studio space with Frank Tell and Julia Restoin-Roitfeld [along with casting director Natalie Joos] beginning this fall. Any plans for a collaboration down the road?
"There have been talks of collaborating in the future, but right now I think everyone is really busy. I am collaborating with two designers this season in addition to my own line so I think that's enough for a little while. Being around creative talented people will be very inspiring!"
Besides your own pieces, what jewelry designers do you wear?
"Genevieve Jones safety pin earrings and snake bone bracelets, Black Sheep & Prodigal Sons scrimshaw necklaces, Digby & Iona, Fenton, Maison Martin Margiela, Erin Wasson, Eddie Borgo, and M. Graves by Megan Marrin who is also an amazing artist. I wear a lot of jewelry from traveling all over—I've been really into African, Indian, Southwestern, and Mexican jewelry lately—as well as vintage and antique pieces."
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Pamela in her studio, photography by Melissa Haum
What boutiques do you frequent?
"Thrift stores and a lot of vintage shops: What Comes Around Goes Around, Amarcord, Fluke, Exquisite Costume. Also Opening Ceremony, Oak, In God We Trust, Steven Alan, Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman, Kirna Zabête, Edith Machinist, TG170, A.P.C., and Bess. And I really like going to Target with my mom."
What fashion trend are you sick to death of?
"Anorexia."
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Pamela in a shoot for Dossier magazine, photography by Todd Cole
Are you still working with artist Francisco Clemente?
"Yes, I am still working with Francesco in the studio. It's really inspirational. But I have to work there less than before so my friend and amazing painter Melissa Carroll has been helping us in the studio."
What about your own artwork?
"I paint mostly portraits, but I am working on a new series that are not portraits. I would say they are not like my jewelry in any way—it comes from a completely different part of my psyche. I hope to exhibit next year and have been talking to a few galleries."
The NYC-based jewelry designer debriefs us on her downtown-cool style.
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