Lele Sadoughi is the undisputed queen of jewelry design. This NYC native has been the creative force behind some of the biggest names in contemporary jewelry. Having worked uber successful stints as the design director for brands such as Tory Burch and J.Crew, Lele decided the time had finally arrived to create her own eponymous collection of baubles. Culling inspiration from her own sartorial travels, love of art and of course her natural affinity for gemstones, Lele?s spring collection features a classical Egyptian motif perfect for modern day Cleopatra?s. Read more about Lele and shop L-atitude?s carefully curated collection from jewelry?s biggest rock star.
What inspired you to create your collection?
This season, I was inspired by the Egyptian revival upon the discovery of King Tut's tomb in the early 1920's. I wanted to reinterpret ancient Egyptian columns, drawings of lotus flowers, and jeweled headdresses into modern, geometric elements.I wanted to capture the mechanical, geometric deco look and add the fantasy of Ancient Egypt.I really love stacking my slider bracelets. I looked at many drawings of ancient Egyptian painted columns with rows of painted lotus flowers, stripes, and colorful drawings. My slider bracelets are meant to be stacked on each arm and can tell a different story with each color combination worn.
You worked at J.Crew designing their jewelry. What made you want to branch out and design your own collection?
I have always been involved in art. Collage, painting, and photography are always outlets in my life. I think I like building things, and jewelry design has been a perfect way to create and construct. Costume jewelry is so fantastical and emotional. My experiences at J Crew, Ippolita, and most recently Tory Burch have challenged me to constantly come up with new reiterations of classic pieces. Jewelry is not only about how it looks, but about how it works and how it feels. I was able to design for these large companies and really see what people are craving. Having my own line is so rewarding and allows absolute creativity.
What is unique about your process of production? How do you come up with the designs for your jewelry?
It is challenging to design costume jewelry because of the multitude of components that are needed to construct each piece. The components I use are steel, brass, copper, glass, genuine and semi precious stones, and enameled paints. I love the look of genuine stones mixed with enamels and crystals. I also designed some home pieces such as napkin rings, candle holders, and place card holders, where I used the same elements and stones from my jewelry.
There is such a strong travel narrative within your collection- what are some of your favorite destinations?
I'm inspired by a place and a time. I like to create a world based on the architecture, paintings, and feelings of an era. I love to scour flea markets all over the world. This summer, I spent some time in Marrakech, Morocco digging through piles of dusty jewels in the shops throughout the souks. In the Fall, I was in Seoul, Korea and truly inspired by all the modern technology around me. And before the new year, I went to Sayulita, Mexico to soak in all the colors of their pottery and woven clothing.
Living in New York, there is inspiration everywhere. I make several trips a year to the Picture Collection on the 3rd floor of the Bryant Park Library. It is the place where broken books lay to rest and you can rent out tear sheets from these battered books. I soak up anything that is grand with scale and color.
What is your favorite Lele Sadoughi piece?
For Spring 2013, I was really interested in the early 1920's with the resurgence of Egyptian architecture and design. I wanted to capture the mechanical, geometric deco look and add the fantasy of Ancient Egypt. I really love stacking my slider bracelets.
Who is your Muse? Describe the Lele Sadoughi woman?
I love to dress the woman that likes to stand out. I like to think she walks in to a party and immediately lights up the room. I am inspired by Babe Paley, for having the gumption to wear outfits more than once. I also adore Katherine Hepburn for her love of wearing pants and strong pieces to match her character.
Souk or Department Stores?
Souk?the dirtier and messier, the better treasures you can find.
DIY or Concierge Service?
DIY so I can get my hands dirty!
Buy Everything or Buy Nothing?
More is more??.everything
Camping or 5-Star Hotel?
5 star hotel. I love a dirty flea market, but I want to sleep in a nice, comfy bed.
Drive or be Driven?
In NYC I would love a driver, but everywhere else, I would love to drive myself.
Room Service or Street Food?
I would love some fish tacos from a street vendor off the beach of Mexico right now.
Lots of Luggage or Carry-on Bag?
Carry on bag. The quicker I can get out of the airport, the better. I am a great packer and can always fit the essentials in a carry on bag.
Shop the Lele Sadoughi collection here.