By now, it's no secret that we're pretty darn obsessed with Lisa Salzer and her insanely gorgeous jewelry line, Lulu Frost. Salzer is an example of a designer that not only is able to turn out consistently gorgeous, innovative pieces, but also becomes best friends (genuinely) with just about every person she meets. Her creative, brilliant energy is infectious, which is obvious from the amazing collaborations and partnerships that Lulu Frost has had over the years (bonjour, J.Crew!).
Lisa's latest endeavor for spring 2013 is Let's Bring Back by Lulu Frost, inspired by the book by the same name by Lesley M. M. Blume. After contributing to Blume's book, Lisa and Lesley realized that their mutual obsession with the idea of making old things new could be translated into a jewelry line. Inspired by three of the icons from Let's Bring Back — Marchesa Casati, Nancy Cunard, and Elsa Schiaparelli — Lisa, along with Lesley and stylist Jennifer Collins of vintage retailer Pink Clouds put together a three-part collection that "brings back" the style that these ladies were known for, while also creating modern pieces that speak to the contemporary woman.
While she is undoubtedly an authority in the jewelry world, Lisa is also a beauty maven who was determined to bring the personalities of the three muses to life in a modern way through the models' hair and makeup looks. Stylist Jessie James for Marie Robinson Salon created the fabulous hairstyles, while the great Bobbi Brown herself, with lead makeup artist Cassandra Garcia, created looks that were retro-bold, yet also completely wearable. What resulted was a collaboration where jewelry, beauty, and fashion collided to bring the opulence of the past to the future — and in true Lulu fashion, it was nothing short of exquisite.
We were fortunate enough to spend time with both Lisa and Bobbi Brown backstage before the presentation (held at the Gatsby-esque Carlyle Hotel); click through to see what they had to say (and gawk at some drop-dead jewels while you're at it).
Photographed by David X Prutting/BFAnyc.com
This presentation is such a wonderful marriage of collaborations between jewelry, fashion, beauty, and styling. How did it start to come together?
Lisa: "I had contributed to Leslie’s book Let’s Bring Back. I wrote two entries about forgotten jewelry trends that we should have in our lives again; non-diamond engagement rings was one of them, and those coded amazing rings that spell out words in gemstones. So, we had always been on the same wavelength with loving the past but wanting to bring it into the modern era. We had talked about doing a collab for a long time. So Leslie and I and Jen share a love of vintage, but interpreting it in a modern way, so it made sense to focus on three of the icons from Leslie’s book and actually use them as muses and build three collections around them. So, you have the Marchesa Casati, which actually turned out to be the most Lulu Frost-esque collection because it’s very Victorian, very classic. Then Nancy Cunard was such an amazing woman, and we did hers with a more tribal, almost barbaric look (that’s what people used to call her style, barbaric). She would just wear amazing bangles, stacked up to her elbows, and so, we created a collection around that style. And then I designed a third collection around Schiaparelli, and this sort of surrealist effect in jewelry. But, of course, we tried to give it a very modern twist like I always try to do when interpreting something vintage."
Lisa with models all dolled up in the Marchesa Casati look.
How do you feel about beauty and jewelry? In what ways do you think they go together?
Lisa: "Well, I think they’re hugely connected, and that’s why the beauty looks were so important, and we were so lucky to have Bobbi’s team, and Bobbi herself, contribute their talent and vision. And I basically showed them our inspiration boards for each of the three women, and they created a really specific look to speak to that woman or that muse. But of course, again, in a modern way. So just like in jewelry, and in fashion, we have to look to the past for inspiration, but push it forward into a modern interpretation. And you can see in the three makeup looks, as well as in the hair looks, that Jessie is creating for Marie Robinson — that we’re really pushing the idea forward, not just doing a costume-y thing but really making it a modern day look."
And how did you choose the wardrobe? We know there was a goal of having the three characters look cohesive since they’re in the same room?
Lisa: "We played off the idea of using different metallic tones, which of course also play off of the jewelry. So, we used a champagne, bubbly fun color for Schiaparelli, since she was the most party-oriented — the champagne era. Nancy Cunard was gold and white, a very sophisticated palette, and then we used like a gunmetal gray, a very mercurial color almost, for Marchesa Casati, who was very much into the cult and almost had a darker, romantic, almost a celestial side. So, we picked these gray tones for her. And then Jennifer went into her archives and pulled beautiful Lacroix and different designer vintage that fit into those color schemes and spoke to that time period but, again, weren’t too literal."
The Nancy Cunard look.
What’s your favorite piece from the collection?
Lisa: "I have favorites from each group. I really can’t choose just one because I love all of the women as different women, and they really fill a different niche jewelry-wise. That’s why this has been such a cool exercise — you can get so much inspiration from one woman, which is so cool as a designer. From the Marchesa collection, there’s a black star metallic piece that is very celestial and amazing; it’s a necklace, black stars with aurora borealis crystals — very cool. For Cunard, I love the bangles. I’m just crazy for all of the resin bangles, very cool, stacked up. And for Schiaparelli, I’m crazy about the eye jewelry and I’m sort of crazy about the eye earrings."
Detail of the Elsa Schiaparelli look.
Knowing the collection over the years, it was suprising to see so much tongue-in-cheek humor and edge in this new collection. It’s so good.
Lisa: "Thank you, that’s what Schiaparelli was really all about. She was all about this wittiness, and unexpected humor, and visual puns. So, we just went into that. And there’s such a rich archive of info from her, from the Dalai relationship to her surrealist eyes and lips and lobsters, so we tried to pay homage to each of those things without going over the top."
You still see all of those signatures. How did you make sure that it all looks like you?
Lisa: "Well I guess I can’t do anything that doesn’t look like me! You know it’s in the mix of materials, like I would mix a crystal lip with a gold braided chain. And that gives us that contrasting material feel and different textures and colors come together. And that’s very much what Lulu Frost is about. I think we can draw from so many different time periods but through mixing unexpected elements together, it remains classic Lulu."
Lisa with Jennifer Collins of Pink Clouds Vintage, and Lesley M. M. Blume, author of Let's Bring Back.
The Marchesa Casati look.
How did you and Lisa originally become acquainted?
Bobbi: "Actually, the way I discovered her is that I've been buying J.Crew jewelry for years — I've been collecting it for years. I have so much of it. I'm friends with Mickey Drexler and I'm always telling him, and he never told me who made it. And then I was in Telluride doing makeup for Lauren Bush's wedding — I was a guest — and it was a Western theme, and I walked into this store in Telluride, and there was this necklace. And it was turquoise and rhinestones, and I was like…it looked like the J.Crew jewelry but with turquoise, so I was freaking out.
So, I bought it, and she told me who did it. So, I googled Lulu Frost, and I wrote her an email and I was like, 'OMG I just wanted to tell you that I love this so much. I just wanted to let you know that I'm wearing it to the wedding.' And then I came in, and we had a great like two hours together, and we started talking about all of these collaborations, and we're working on one for holiday, and we're working on editor's gifts for holiday, and we've already given gifts to all of our artists and all of our sales team, so we've become big Lulu Frost fans."
Lisa and Bobbi, pretty as a picture.
As far as the Let's Bring Back theme, and the making old new, is there anything you would like to bring back? What inspires you about the idea of making old things new?
Bobbi: "A lot of my products in my line are actually inspired by old products. My pot rouge is actually inspired by watching my grandmother put lipstick on her cheeks. You guys probably aren't old enough, but don't you ever remember seeing your grandmothers putting lipstick on their cheeks? And a lot of the old compacts…I'm constantly stopping in Montclair — there are some phenomenal, affordable stores with major deals, where you can get these great old things. So, I'm always buying these old products, or bags to hold things, or even the things that our brushes are in — those hard cases look like old cosmetic cases. So, a lot of the things we do are inspired by these things."
You're known for your really beautiful neutral shades, and yet you're using many bold shades such as orange and blackberry for this presentation. How do you feel about these statement-making looks?
Bobbi: "Well natural doesn't…that's one of those fallacies about me — that natural means hardly there. Natural is just a way of saying it's the right makeup. It's there…you put it on and you look better, not like you have some weird makeup on. I do prefer a neutral face on me, but I love making color. The right colors though...you have to make colors that work."
The Elsa Schiaparelli look.
Speaking of color, makeup artists are talking a lot about bright colors for spring 2013, such as bright colors on eyes…
Bobbi: "Not for me. Because I don't think bright colors on eyes look good. They might look good on the runway, or on the pages of magazines…but our color for spring is called Lilac Rose. So, it's a combination of lilacs and roses, so the roses are cheeks and lips, lilac is for the eyes, with grays. It's a cooler palette and really pretty."
The Nancy Cunard look.