Fresh Talent: Meet the Artists Behind our Newest Brands

Here are some of Circle & Square’s newest designers. Scroll through each slide show to see some of their beautiful products!

  • Alexandra DeClaris Taupe Python Mercer
  • Alexandra DeClaris Natural Python Mercer $570
  • Alexandra DeClaris Cream Python Mercer $570
  • Benjamin Antz-Recalt San Francisco Printed Scarf $385
  • Benjamin Antz-Recalt White Lights Clutch $455
  • Benjamin Antz-Recalt 3D Pixel Me Bracelet $397
  • Bita Pourtavoosi Mola Triangle Bib Necklace $175
  • Bita Pourtavoosi Mae Me Blush Stackable Rings Set $175
  • Bita Pourtavoosi Jeweled Glistening Studs Ear Stud $75
  • Joanna Morgan Justine Bangle in Brass $125
  • Joanna Morgan Krystallos Stud Earrings in Sterling Silver $195
  • Joanna Morgan Krystallos Ring in Sterling Silver $335
  • Leyla Yucel Perseus Wallet Bag $200
  • Leyla Yucel Vulpecula Tote $500
  • M8 Lg Post Earrings $325
  • Gryphon Smokey Topaz Rose Ring $500
  • Bottleneck Bracelet $500
  • Arieh $280
  • Georgia $200
  • Cara $400

Find: Chiffon Scarf by Camilla Olson

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What is it: The black chiffon scarf by Camilla Olson.

Why we love it: This wardrobe essential is a must have for all summer vacations. It’s multiple uses will save you whether there’s a brisk breeze, you want to cover your shoulders while sightseeing, or if you’d like to tie your hair back in a headwrap.

Wear it with: The necklace wallet from Penny Sparkle, another travel essential.

Snakeskin Collection

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Textured handbags are all the rage this spring. We are loving the richness of Python. Lucky for you, we have them in nearly every color of the rainbow (every shape too). Which snakeskin handbag is your favorite?

Conversation with Jen Abrams

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There is a quote about Jen that gives us a little insight into why she is so sought after.
“Jen inherently understands what looks good on a person and it is her supreme
knowledge of fashion that makes her one of the industry’s most reliable and respected talents”
Fashion Correspondent, Editor, QVC’s Fashion Production Supervisor.. lest we forget Calvin Klein Alum..
Let’s dive right in!

What made you decide to become a Stylist?
I have always been drawn to fashion and style. I would even consult on my friends’ wardrobes when I was little! However, I originally went to school for exercise physiology thinking I would become a sports medicine doctor like everyone else in my family but found myself drawing fashion sketches on my medical notebooks. I made the decision to switch gears and change my major to Design and Merchandising. After working in the fashion industry in New York, I decided to go back to school to obtain my MBA in Marketing.  I am fortunate to be able to wear many hats within the industry. I love styling but I have also been able to utilize my background in business to consult with fashion, beauty and fitness brands on their image.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.
I am a bi-coastal wardrobe and editorial stylist, fashion correspondent and brand consultant. I work with both established designers and emerging brands.

Which projects are you most proud of?
Although I’ve worked for many incredible companies, I’m most proud of the work I’ve accomplished as an independent stylist and brand consultant. I have the liberty to work with only people, companies and causes I am passionate about.

How would you describe your own style?
My personal style is California cool meets classic with an edge: jeans, tee shirts and layering pieces. I find my individuality really comes through in how I accessorize. I am drawn to unique, bold jewelry like statement rings and cuffs and textured bags.

Who is your mentor?
My mother. She taught me the importance of working hard and taking pride in your work.

Your idea of great style?
Great style, to me, is simply having the confidence to wear whatever you feel and express your individual point of view. The late, great Alexander McQueen said it best: “It’s a new era in fashion– there are no rules. It’s all about the individual and personal style, wearing high-end, low-end, classic labels, and up-and-coming designers all together.”

What puts you in a creative mood?
Music. Whether I’m in my office researching a new brand I’m consulting on or at a photo shoot, I need to have an energetic, inspiring playlist. It gets my adrenaline and creativity going and I’ve found it really helps open the models up on a photo shoot or at a fashion show. Some of my favorite artists are: Kanye West, Beck, Nine Inch Nails, Sia and Rage Against the Machine.

What is something about you that nobody would guess?
I’m actually an introvert and prefer to be home with my family than out at a party.

Favorite indulgence?
York Peppermint Patties. I usually try to eat clean but I can’t resist those little guys!

Your most annoying habit?
I’m not the most punctual person!

How would you like to be remembered?
Professionally, I would like to be remembered as a hard-working, creative individual. I love working with companies that and people who stand for something greater. Whether it is a cause or in the integrity in the production of their goods, helping people achieve their goals is so rewarding.

Henry David Thoreau must’ve had you in mind when he said..
“Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it”
Jen Abrams, we thank you.

        ~~~

These are Jen’s  “Must-Haves”

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SoHo Oversized Carryall Black,  Edgy Knuckle Ring,  Vedrina Sunglasses in Blond Havana,  Cut Out Cuff Gold

Conversation with Sydney Brown

 

View More: http://phillipvn.pass.us/jakesyd

1. What made you decide to become a Designer?

I use design and creation to tell stories. My decision and movement into becoming a designer had everything to do with needing to find a language with which I could speak to the world around me. Jewelry, sculpture, installation and aesthetics have long been the avenues I have used to communicate most effectively.  I chose to be an artist because it was the only choice that ever made any sense to me.

2. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.
Most simply said, my work is a reflection of my relationships. In the creation of a piece I am not only working out technical problem solving, but often I am studying and moving through some matter of the heart and head as well.  A common thread running through my work is an empathic spirit. I make art from a place of desire for connection, longing for healing, and belief that we need each other. Whether it is a wearable talisman for healing and grief, or an elaborate sculptural altar designed for daily remembrance and ritual.  I am lead by attention to detail related to interpersonal connection and tensions. I am deeply drawn to rich color, and variety in texture and aesthetic.

3. Which products are you most proud of?
Currently, I am most proud of my larger wearable art pieces. I love the bridal collection I have been designing and building upon. I feel proud of the ways I believe I am expanding the realm of bridal headpieces and wedding adornment. As someone who has been in many weddings as well as had one of my own; I am well aware of a brides desire to be unique. Weddings are the perfect occasion to be adorned with a one of a kind piece of art. As an artist/jeweler, if I can enable a person to feel they have become a piece of art, I have done my job well.
I also feel proud of the installations I have created both as solo projects and in collaboration with other amazing artists.  I feel extremely grateful for the ways that I have been able to speak, and uncover deeper truths as a result of art making.

4. Who was your mentor?
I have had different mentors for different points of learning and growth. My time in the Sculpture Department at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco was my most transformative. There, I was mentored by a handful of intelligent and talented artists. Charlene Modena, Cheryl Coon, Susie Ganch, and Patty Nelson were and remain my teachers, mentors, support system, and dear friends. When learning to communicate your heart by creating with your hands- there is nothing more valuable than being taught by those who have done just that before you.

5. Your idea of perfection?
This may sound strange, but I just don’t believe in it. Just that word gives me anxiety. I always prefer the imperfect. It’s so much more interesting. If I was pressed to play along though…perfection is molten lava cake, an amazing piece of cheese, and swimming in the Mediterranean Sea in summer time.

6.What puts you in a creative mood?
Other artists’ studios and workshops.

7. What is something about you that nobody would guess?
I enjoy violent sports. Seeing fights on the street makes me nauseous, but consenting parties acting absurd in that way – I love!

8. Favorite indulgence
Snacks, naps on the beach, bingeing on an entire season of an HBO show.

9.Your most annoying habit
My husband might say it is that I stop the microwave a few seconds before it beeps. This means that the clock constantly says something like 0:09. Then I ask him what time it is. Drives him nuts.

10. How would you like to be remembered?
I hope to be remembered as someone who loved fiercely, long and hard. I hope to be remembered as someone who forgave easily and often. I hope to be thought of as constantly laughing and always trying for better.

Sydney, not only do you love fiercely but you create fiercely!
Thank you.

 

Beauty Tips

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Nicole Gordon Levine is New York based and is the author of  “Beauty is our Addiction”.
Nicole will be a contributing editor to Circle & Square. Here’s an example of her personal philosophy.

“Keeping your skin looking great and feeling healthy is priceless.”

What’s in for Spring? Berry and electric orange lips paired with an overall glowing skin is what is starting to be shown on the runways. Blue and Metallic Gold are especially hot for Spring 2014 eyelids as well as the bold cat eye liner in intense kohl that never seems to bore me with it’s flirty look. Pantone’s Color of the Year in Radiant Orchid is said to be on the runways as well as last years Pantone Color of the Year in Emerald shown in pops of color of the eyes, cheeks and lippy’s. Also hot- white eyeliner and shadow to truly illuminate the eyes when worn correctly. 

Love for Lace Collection

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Image via here

  • The Pocketbook, ViaBuia
  • Moonshine Lace Fingerless Glves, Oda
  • Large Feathered Hair Clip, Oda
  • Cosima Clutch, Amanda Pearl
  • Fillette, Kitty Andrews
  • Francia, Amanda Pearl
  • Gold Bows Baubles and Flowers, Tiersa Nureyev

Is there anything lovelier than lace? Not in our minds. Lace exudes femininity and sexiness in the most dignified way. We are loving the new ways to wear lace  - as overlay on a bright clutch or as a piece of flair in your hair. This is not your mother’s lace, ladies! You can find all these pretty pieces at circleandsquaresf.com.

Olympic Inspiration

Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov of Russia during team ice dance free dance at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics

 

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As we keep a close watch on the medal count we can’t help but feel inspired by the fashions we are seeing in Sochi, Russia. In addition to the much talked about Ralph Lauren Opening Ceremony uniforms we are loving all of the ice skating outfits, and have you seen Norway’s curling team? Hello, statement pants!

If we were in Sochi right now, we would be carrying the ‘Coco Satchel’ by Gunas to cheer on #TeamUSA!

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A Conversation with Nancy Jo Sales

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You mention in the preface of your book how the themes of “…obsession with celebrity, entitlement of rich kids and the emptiness of fame as an aspiration”  were actually the same themes that Sofia Coppola had been exploring in her films.

Q- This behavior is so fascinating to us. Do you want to add anything to make it clearer as to why?

Rich people and rich kids seem to have always been fascinating, since Shakespeare’s time and beyond. I think we want to know what happens to people when the gods smile on them with great material rewards. The result, to our perverse delight, is often disastrous. I think that now, when we are living in a time when the distribution of wealth in this country is so incredibly skewed toward the wealthy, there is some perverse fascination with seeing the rich and mighty act horribly. It’s class resentment, perhaps justified at some level.

Q- Do  you feel the message you sent your readers was kept intact with the movie version of it?
I feel like the themes in the movie and book are very much the same: celebrity obsession, conspicuous consumption, the changing nature of fame in an age of reality TV…. Many of the lines in the movie come straight from the real dialogue of the kids—which I think was a great decision on Sofia Coppola’s part; she recognized how funny and crazy a lot of the actual lines were, and how telling. Like Nick Prugo (Marc in the film) saying, “We just wanted to be a part of the lifestyle—the lifestyle that everybody kind of wants.” Questioning “the lifestyle” itself and the assumption that “we all want it” is probably the biggest theme in my book and in the film.

Q- Would  you change anything about the Bling Ring if you were to start all over?
I’d make Rachel Lee give me an interview. She was the alleged ringleader, but her lawyer refused everyone access to her. I’d also give myself a year, at least, to write the book instead of six months.

Q-  Given all of the incredible authors out there… whom do you consider a mentor?
I’ve been lucky to work with a lot of journalists I admire very much, including Kurt Andersen and Graydon Carter, my bosses at New York magazine and Vanity Fair. But I’ve never really had a mentor per se… I find myself reading and re-reading Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, which for me is the best master class on journalistic non-fiction.

Q- What was the most difficult thing about writing the Bling Ring and what was your take away?
The most difficult thing was the deadline. Six months—two of which were spent doing follow-up reporting, so really four months to write a 288-page book… It was hard. But so worth it. When I see Instagram pictures by kids in Brazil, where it’s now a best-seller, holding my book, it feels so great. And kids here sending me emails saying things like, “Thanks, I’m so glad someone said these things.” My take-away is that young people are really ready to talk about how fame culture and conspicuous consumption are out of control, and they want to focus their attention on more important and meaningful things.

Q- What puts you in a creative mood?
When I’m reporting a great story it’s always really inspiring.

Q- Tell us something about Nancy Jo Sales that nobody would guess.
I can make the most delicious Thanksgiving turkey you’ve ever eaten. People’s eyes roll back in their heads.

Q- What is your proudest achievement?
Having a daughter on my own, especially one who’s turning out to be such a great person; I’m not sure I can really take a lot credit for that, though. She’s been great since day one.

Q- Your most annoying habit?
I try not to be annoying! But probably the way I argue, when I feel passionate about something. I don’t back down, and I do insist.

Q- Your favorite indulgence?
I love to watch classic film noir movies on my computer, way past my bedtime, or stay up reading noir novels and thrillers.

Lifting a quote from the Bling Ring..

“The Bling Ring had crossed a final Rubicon, entering famous people’s homes, and their boldness felt both disturbing and somehow inevitable…..”

Thank you, Nancy Jo Sales, for taking us on a rafting trip down the Rubicon of Rodeo Drive.

THANK YOU!

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A Conversation with Jessica Moore

JESSICA MOORE

We are excited to introduce Jessica Moore. We listened with rapt attention to this multi-faceted lifestyle and communications beauty.

Q- How did you become interested in beauty?

I am an actress, and became fascinated by the way, say, a red lipstick could make you feel powerful. Lipstick is not called war paint for nothing. I loved the way older ladies put their lips on everyday, without fail, and I loved the glamour of the old black and white movies. From a perfume perspective, I loved the perfumes that tell a story, like Guerlain’s L’Heure Bleu, which was a memento fragrance created during WWI, and which captures the melancholy of the time. It was created for soldiers to bring to their sweethearts back home, and soldiers on the front doused handkerchiefs with it to keep the scent with them, as a reminder of what they were fighting for. There’s a lovely sort of cultural story behind many of the beauty rituals we do. And yet, the perfume is still very wearable today. I also love pointing women towards something truly lovely and luxurious-which doesn’t necessarily mean La Mer. I am a sucker for luxe, but love discovering a drugstore brand that is super accessible. I love a beautiful perfume that anyone can find. Of course, we are in a niche perfume moment, and I love going to small boutiques and finding not so common perfumes, too. People want to express individuality in perfume.  One of my favorite apothecaries in NY is MiN-which carries amazing stuff. I wear Cashmere Mist to bed every night as my lullaby. I carry a vial of Jo Malone’s grapefruit, because my late mother wore it. Scents are home to me. My grandfather was a Don Draper type who had several patents, and created some of the most iconic brand packaging of the 50s to the 70s. He launched Youth Dew.The blue bottle is his. So is Jean Nate after Bath splash. I get a thrill every time I see them. It’s a link to my family history. I like to document, but also share my love.

Q- Tell us a little bit about your work?

I have a small Startup called Girl About Town, which covers my lifestyle/communications/beauty background. Last year, I developed an ecommerce cosmetics line from product to marketing to digital. I was really proud of it-It wasn’t a success, but it taught me a lot, and it taught me what I would like to do. I love beauty blogging, but I would love my own fragrance.It’s in development now, with a very well known nose. I am really excited. I have been a beauty editor for several large online beauty publications, and have been working on a fragrance memoir based on my family. Beauty to me fulfills the storytelling that I love, and have built my life around. Acting,beauty, new media-it all has a throughline to me. I have been performing in NY theater  since I was 15, and am really proud of the work I did there, but I found myself more and more drawn to writing after a car accident kept me in bed. It snowballed, and I am really happy it did. I have worked as a a stylist for several big companies such as J.Crew and Banana Republic. I love making women feel beautiful. Taking a woman afraid of color and showing her she could look lovely in a green sweater after wearing only black for years? To me-that made my day. I also worked for Glorious Food-which is one of the most exquisite catering companies in NY-some parties included the Costume Institute Ball, and The NYCB parties.We worked with Robert Isabell, and David Stark-and this creates an eye, you see. I believe function can be beautiful, and everyone needs the lift that even something simple, like a cup of great coffee, or the softest sheets, or a gathering of friends with cocktails can give. My acting mentor greeted me every class with “Life is beautiful.” I kind’ve carry that idea with me.

Q- Which projects /products are you most proud of?

I wrote a piece for a perfume blog called CaFleurebon called “Steeped in Youth Dew: My Grandfather called her Estee.” I had actually been a beauty/ fragrance editor for several years, and remembered vague family stories, but had never realized the extent of my grandfather’s work. Doing the research opened up a whole new world-his company, Richford Corp, owned all the patents for cosmetics packqaging, including the perfume atomizer used commonly today. He died young, and my father and uncles could only fill in so many blanks. That piece ended up being archived at Estee Lauder, and I imagined my grandpa smiling.To me, writing about perfume links me to him. It’s very personal. And I am proud of starting Girl About Town-which is something I’ve wanted for a long time.

Q- How would you describe your own style?

Well-this is a hard one. I really like little references to old movie stars. When I worked at Banana Republic, I was dressed in a lot of Mad Men-esque dresses. I also went through a Holly Golightly phase of LBD’s, and kept only champagne in my fridge. Recently-it’s been a bit more fun and casual, since I have been traveling a lot. I love a sweater dress, and there’s a distinct 90s influence.Today I am wearing some really cute combat boots. Usually, though-I like black. Give me anything in black, and I can make it look expensive. I love interesting shapes and soft fabrics. I am obsessed with my Donna Karan cashmere Cozy-which is a cardigan that can be worn as a wrap, tied, and…used as a blanket when traveling. I hate being cold. I would love to say I am Gwyneth Paltrow Urban Chic, and have my moments, but I’m from Rhinebeck, so the urban hippie is showing through these days. I think my next phase will be more urban sleek. I have a pair of black wedge boots I have my eye on. I like the names of course, but I love taking something and elevating it. I am so sad Loehmann’s is going, but the reality is-sites like MyHabit and The Outnet are such great places to find showstoppers. I will never have a full name closet, but a few pieces I love will always be worn.I hate the status bag movement.I cannot justify thousands on a season bag-but it’s important to trust your eye and not be afraid to experiment. But then, I would always prefer someone looking a little risky to looking boring. Good taste always needs a touch of bad. I think Diana Vreeland said that.

Q- Who was your mentor?

My mother was an excellent example. She grew up the daughter of a single mother, but loved Jackie O., Grace Kelly, Kim Novak. She marched in Washington in a twinset and gloves, and really lived like her idea of a lady. She was the president of her art department, and had absolutely exquisite taste. I grew up in this old Colonial upstate that was her permanent project. She really lovingly restored it herself, and I remember helping.To this day-I am very handy. I once hung a door in an emergency in a cocktail dress and heels.One of my proudest moments. She didn’t believe in paying retail, but she had Pucci’s, Ralph Lauren’s Safari Collection, Diane Von Furstenburg’s wrap dresses….these of course were mixed with less expensive pieces, but she was so glamorous that I asked her not to wear her high heeled Aigner boots to pick me up in school at age 6. She caused a commotion. My twin and I were photographed by Bill Cunningham at a Broadway show-this makes sense to me as an adult.She was so beautiful, and was wearing this spaghetti strap chevron striped dress. I don’t have the picture any longer, but the image stays. She was the epitome of lovely. She actually had a bit of Bohemia in her. I was very,very lucky to have her.

Q- Your idea of great style?

It’s very easy to have great style when you have a stylist, and a team. But great style to me is when a woman uses her individuality to express herself using whatever she can. I love a girl who can shop anywhere, from Target to H&M to Ebay.We all love the stuff we see in magazines, but it’s fantasy. I do believe in fantasy as inspiration. One of my friends is a young girl who cosplays, and I love the influences from anime that creep into her clothes.She’s fearless in her mixing-she was wearing a scarf dresss with an obi last summer, and it looked great. I also love someone like Cate Blanchett-who I believe is one of the few movie stars who LOOKS like a movie star. She’s very conscious of it. And she has great taste. Great style comes about when a woman accepts herself and her life. There’s nothing worse than a Louboutined girl who can’t get around NYC-which is a walking city. However-I dream of McQueen.

Q- What puts you in a creative mood?

Sleep? Just kidding. I am careful with my sleep because being tired keeps creativity at bay, but it’s really important to nurture yourself, and surround yourself with smart, interesting, engaging people. Tea and meditation help me to relax. A long bath with bubbles, I take myself to the Met, and see movies and drink good wine. The key is making sure your life is filled with new experiences. Also-write an hour a day, no censoring. It won’t be good, but you will use that muscle.I also usually have an acting coach. It’s really important to set aside creative time-otherwise it gets buried.

Q- What is something about you nobody would guess?

I am a college student at Hunter College studying neuropsych.

Q- Favorite indulgence?

New restaurants, and expensive bubble bath. Massages.

Q- Your most annoying habit?

I have so many! I talk too much. I am a talker.

Q- How would you like to be remembered?

As someone who was a joy to be around, As someone who shared her lessons, As someone who made life beautiful. As someone who created memories.

Well we certainly can say that you are a joy to be around.

Thank you for the memories Jess.

Find: Aromaflage

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Melissa Fensterstock is Co-Founder of Mikey & Momo, the guys behind the brand Aromaflage. Melissa, and her husband Michael, were on their honeymoon to South East Asia, and they discovered a magic potion that worked as an insect repellent and perfume at the same time. Both Mike and Melissa have been long time entrepreneurs (and Melissa has graduated from Harvard Business School) and they love the idea of building your brand together around a fragrance with a function. Won’t it be great if every honeymoon came with a new business? SHOP IT HERE

A Conversation with Maren Reese

 Maren Reese

We fell in love with Maren Reese several years ago. She continues to be a beautiful work in progress. Here’s a little insight into what makes Maren run.

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What made you decide to become a Stylist?
I remember going to school when I was a teen and everyday I would make up a new look for the day. I would go months without repeating the same outfit. Even if it was slight variations here and there . I woke up everyday and chose a color to suit my mood and then took it from there .it wasn’t like I had a bunch of clothes or a lot of money instead I would often make clothing or accessories to finish the look. Vintage was always an element in my style and vintage/thrift store shopping was an adventure. Expressing myself in this way inspired me back then and continues to today.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.
I have a degree in jewelry design from Tyler school of art. During my time there I studied in Glasgow, London & Rome, expressing my visions through painting, photography, and sculpture. I would design wearable paintings and sculptures as well as use photography to design patterns for fabrics which I created in cyanotype or through screen printing processes. After college i promised myself never to do work in any field that was not related to my talents or passions. I started working in Philadelphia with costume departments on film and television. From there I began styling for independent photographers and fashion brands. Shortly after I started my scarf company Letau Designs with my late partner Robert Matunda. Today, 12 years later, I live and work in New York City. Mainly spending my days costuming on TV shows. Currently I am James Spader’s on set dresser on the new NBC drama ‘The Blacklist’

Which projects are you most proud of?
I would say the project I’m most proud of is “Night Catches Us” directed by Tanya Hamilton starring Anthony Mackey and Kerry Washington. The film takes place in Philadelphia circa 1976. I enjoy the research process and clothing/fabric search that happens when shooting a period film. The whole experience is like a treasure hunt.

How would you describe your own style?
My own style usually consists of black and white with mixed patterns and draping. Sometimes I throw a splash of color in depending on my mood. Who was your mentor? I never had a mentor but I do have people in my life who have been brilliant teachers and guides. They inspire me creatively and spiritually to continue my vision and manifest my dreams.

Your idea of great style?
Confidence and individuality. With that combination anything goes.

What puts you in a creative mood?
I am a huge music lover. I collect vinyl and regularly spend nights listening to albums new and old. Also I practice Kundalini yoga & meditation regularly. This practice coupled with music brings inspiration to every aspect of my life.

What is something about you that nobody would guess?
I am a single mom raising my 7year old son in NYC. 7 years ago his father and I were in a car accident where his father passed away. From that day on my life took an unexpected twist and I see life through new eyes. I take everyday as a blessing and I am so grateful to be able to express myself through my work.

Favorite indulgence?
Korean spas and Russian baths

Your most annoying habit?
Nail biting. I do it when I’m deep in thought. It’s a bit of an unconscious thing.

How would you like to be remembered?
This question always humbles me but I would describe myself as a mixture of a creator, a designer, an explorer, a lover and a mother. I would like to be remembered as all these things.

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Maren, your wish has been granted. You are all of those things and more! Thank you.

A Conversation with Tiffani Chynel

Tyffani Chynel-Stylist

Breakfast with Tiffani

What made you decide to become a Stylist?

At first I wanted to become a buyer for a department store but didn’t want to be pigeonholed to the stores creative expression. I wanted a career that was always changing and challenging me. In order to have my own creative freedom, I decided it would be best to branch out as a freelance fashion stylist.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.
I am a fashion stylist based out of Los Angeles. I work on advertising campaigns, editorials, and will be breaking into film in a few weeks.

Which projects are you most proud of?
Honestly, when I look back to when I started and how far I have grown, I am really proud of all of my work. Each project has taught me something new.

How would you describe your own style?
My style is pretty laid back. Jeans, semi-casual top, heels, and a leather jacket are my “go-to” items.

Who was your mentor?
Other than my mother who taught me how to be the businesswoman I am today, Pamela Noxon with San Diego Wedding. Although we are not in the same industry, the year and a half that I interned for her was probably one of the best experiences of my life. Her drive and passion continued to feed mine. She was constantly thinking of new ideas and putting her heart and soul into making those ideas come to life. It was very inspirational.

Your idea of great style?
Edgy minimalism. I love fashion that has a good mix of edge yet still looks polished.

What puts you in a creative mood?
Well, sometimes the process starts at 2am and other times it will just happen when I least expect it. I can be having a conversation with someone or read something and my mind will grab a hold of a word and a story just forms in my mind. My creative thoughts range from editorials to business strategies, to even my next business venture. I feel like my mind never sleeps.

What is something about you that nobody would guess?
On the exterior I may come across as very calm and collected but little do people know that I am very neurotic, constantly thinking about my upcoming projects that I am excited about.

Favorite indulgence?
Cooking and eating at home (can’t forget a nice glass of wine).

Your most annoying habit?
Because I am so driven, I feel that it is really hard for me to relax at times. Even when I am supposed to be on vacation, it’s hard for me to turn work off. I just always want to keep going.

How would you like to be remembered?
I would like to be remembered by my work and to be an inspiration for people to find their passion and never stop chasing it.

Tiffani Chynel- Style

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Website: www.tiffanichynel.com  Instagram: @TiffaniChynel

Thank you Tiffani. Cheers to never losing that chase.

Our Favorites: Rockstar Red Patent Handbag

Rockstar by Gunas

Rockstar Red Patent Handbag

All Vegan, Eco- Conscious faux red patent leather and matte finish with true gold hardware. This Rockstar is the same bag that Anne Hathaway owns!

“There are many things that make our bags so special. Not only are we an eye-catching designer brand of bags, but we are also a 100% cruelty-free and sweat-shop-free! Even the adhesives used in constructing are water-based and vegan. No compromises are made in style and quality. We travel far and wide to source the best hardware and eco-friendly alternative materials to replicate the quality similar to that of any other leather-friendly brand.
Animal-loving celebrities such as Anne Hathaway, Sherri Shepherd and Jenny McCarthy own and love our bags!” Gunas

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A Conversation with Cathy Giacomini Obrien

 

Cathy-Bay Area Fashionista

We recently had the opportunity to talk to one of the most sought after and influential fashion editors in the Bay Area, what follows is a little insight into what turns Cathy on.

What made you decide to become a Stylist?
A: I became a Stylist in the early 1990’s because I loved fashion and shopping; it is the perfect fusion of the two! I worked as a Stylist for about seven years. It was so much fun to help people shop. I had amazing clients who included local politicians, celebrities and athlete’s wives.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.
A: My original dream when I entered college was to someday be the Editor in Chief of a fabulous fashion magazine. This led me to work in fashion and major in English where I learned about writing and editing. I started Bay Area Fashionista in order to make my dream come true; and it has!
Which projects are you most proud of?
A: My whole website. It is my dream project.
How would you describe your own style?
A: I consider my style conservative, timeless, a little bit edgy and slightly trendy.
Who was your mentor?
A: I don’t really have one mentor. I would say the entire English Department at USF inspired me to be creative and gave me the confidence to go out on my own.
Your idea of great style?
A: Great style transcends time. If you can look at an outfit twenty, forty or sixty years from now and it still looks tasteful and elegant, then “great style” has been achieved. Audrey Hepburn’s style is a good example.
What puts you in a creative mood?
A: It isn’t too hard to put me in a creative mood! As long as I have a quiet space, I can start creating.
What is something about you that nobody would guess?
A: My friends know this, but when people find out they are usually surprised. I have been really into hard rock, heavy metal and Opera music since I was in junior high school. I used to go to a lot of concerts in high school, college and my early twenties. I also used to have season tickets to the Opera; before I had three children J It usually makes people laugh because I play the flute! When I play the flute, I play classical music.
Favorite indulgence?
A: Ice cream! I eat ice cream almost every day.
Your most annoying habit?
A: I play with my hair when I am deep in thought. People think it’s annoying; I don’t really notice when other people do it and it doesn’t seem odd to me.
How would you like to be remembered?
A: As a great Mother to my children.

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Thank you Cathy. There’s no evidence of that ice cream addiction.

Beauty Tips

Beauty Advised

Nicole Gordon Levine is New York based and is the author of  “Beauty is our Addiction”.
Nicole will be a contributing editor to Circle & Square. Here’s an example of her personal philosophy.

“Keeping your skin looking great and feeling healthy is priceless.”
Skin care must come first. Cosmetics can certainly cover a blemish or even out hyperpigmentation, yet having healthy skin is key. Make sure to moisturize daily and once one application dries, then place another one all over the face and body during colder months and certainly ALWAYS take your makeup off before going to bed. That is a MUST! Unblemish from Rodan + Fields, Good Genes from Sunday Riley, Le Lift from CHANEL and Ilumino Face Oil from Dr. Colbert all play part in Nicole’s daily regimen.

Sleeping on silk or extremely soft sheets are a bonus as often one can wake up with added wrinkles from harsh bedding. Nicole sleeps with the Iluminage Skin Rejuvinating  Pillowcase ($ 60) as it has copper oxide embedded in it that is said to be helpful in reducing the appearance of both fine lines and wrinkles.

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Nicole Gordon Levine

Our Favorite: Penny Sparkle

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Going out for an evening, or just want to dress up your jeans and t-shirt? This over sized bag is PERFECT for anyone and any occasion! The one-of-a-kind piece is just the right size for all of your daily use items.
Inspired by the surrealistic art that surrounds us, this bag features hand painted fabric, vegan leather, and is put together with beautiful artistic stitching.

Penny Sparkle Desings

A Conversation with Shea English

shea Emglish

Speaking English, Shea Style!

What made you decide to become a Stylist?
I knew my goals in life would revolve around the fashion industry from very early on. I have been educated extensively in fashion merchandising, have worked on fashion shows, and was fortunate to be a part of Gap, Inc. for 7 years.
In 2001, I decided to start my own business, shortly after the birth of my beautiful first-born. Being a business owner, it gave me immense knowledge and insight to the fashion world. It was an early introduction to both the artistic and business-related complexities of the industry and forced me to develop necessary skills in such a high demand market.
As a stylist having worked as an independent consultant, I stress the importance of fit. The openness and intimacy of working on an individual level allows me to dedicate the deserved time and investment of my clients.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.
I have had a love affair with “Old Hollywood” movies since as far as I can remember. I love the effortless style and glamorous looks of the era. My first taste of fashion was at 18 when I dressed models at I. Magnin for the in-house shows and met designers Donna Karan, Geoffrey Bean, Marc Jacobs, and other incredible talents. From that moment, I was hooked!
A native San Franciscan, I’ve worked with some of the best and emerging stylists all over. The eclectic vibe of San Francisco allowed me the flexibility to do work that varied from fashion shows, personal shopping, interfacing with international clothing manufacturers, retail corporate merchandising, photo shoots, print and more.
Community and environmental issues are very important to me. We strive to inform our clients to purchase intelligently with fair trade products, organic cotton, bamboo, hemp and recycled materials.
My ultimate goal is to help define each client’s own unique style in such a way that exudes their personality, lifestyle and spirit. We help clients feel less intimidated by educating them about fashion. The result is that our clients learn to maximize their wardrobes by adding accessories so they will always look and feel their best.

Which projects are you most proud of?
I have given my best and foremost effort to every project I’ve worked on, and for that I am very proud of them all. If I had to pick one, I am especially proud of the project I did for Levi’s Corp.
I was the Stylist for 30 plus looks at Levi’s: The Original & Definitive: Then, Now and Again Fashion Show. I assisted in casting models and managed dressers, working side-by-side with the hair and makeup teams to define looks/visions.

“Working with Shea was a huge pleasure! Her meticulous eye for detail and keen sense of style [was] what was needed to add the finishing touches to designs customized at Levi’s. She is the best! I look forward to working with her again on future projects.” – Charles Ford, Designer Levi’s Customization

 

How would you describe your own style?
“City Chic” I love the idea of mixing highs and lows, accented by something vintage. Layering and mixing various colors are also big.  I love my fitted blazers over a blouse, paired with skinny denim and boots. I believe our body is a great canvas that’s malleable to represent our individuality.

Who was your mentor?
Two people have been continuous mentors in my life.
My teacher Diane Green pushed me to explore trend, color, design and styling. To this day, I still look to her and she inspires me. My mother has greatly influenced my path; with her guidance, support and confidence in me endlessly. She continues to push me outside my limits.

Your idea of great style?
I would definitely credit the great fashion sense of my family tree. My Great-Grandmother was a seamstress and would create and replicate all the high-fashion looks she admired, as well as design my grandmother’s clothes. My great Aunt Gigi was drenched in glamour and the theater hence was a big influence on my obsession with “Old Hollywood”.
Great style is effortless.

What puts you in a creative mood?
The bay, San Francisco!
I have been inspired from my travels, but nothing compares to San Francisco as the haven for arts, music, cuisine, literature and the people.
I am very visual, and enjoy observing people greatly.

What is something about you that nobody would guess?
I have a twin! We are the closest two people you will meet. I thank God everyday for giving me my sister who gets me, knows me and grounds me.

Favorite indulgence?
Fine dining. Good wine. Theater/Dance.

Your most annoying habit?
Chewing gum

How would you like to be remembered?
A good mother to my children. Giving back to my community, especially involving children. As someone who had an imaginative vision that expanded beyond clothing.

 

Shea Style

 

Language class was never this fun. We loved our English lesson.
Thank you Shea.

Camera Inspiration

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LIGHTS, CAMERA ACTION

We are inspired by the art of capturing beauty. The work of Stylist Sarah Kinsumba is picture perfect. What better to hold that camera in place? Without any question ViaBuia’s gorgeous Pastina Bag! Quiet on the set.

The star of this collection is the camera bag, reinterpreted for everyday function as a cross-body, shoulder, ‘fanny-pack’ or lose the strap and call it evening.

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A Conversation with Sarah Kinsumba

SARAH KINSUMBA STYLIST

Photography by Marcie Cobbaert /Model : Sarah @ NEXT/Styling : Sarah Kinsumba MUA/Hair : Emily Miller

We went behind the scenes with Sarah Kinsumba. We were not prepared for such a wonderful surprise!

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What made you decide to become a Stylist?
After my master’s degree, I told myself “Why not?”. I’ve always been passionate about fashion and fabrics.
At that time, I didn’t want to design, all I wanted is to put together outfits because I used to give advice to my friends
for their events and I was pretty good at it. But I didn’t know that I could do it for a living.
I was amazed by magazine editorials too. I did some research and did my first shoot with a photographer friend. And it got published. Later, I decided to be a stylist full time.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.
I’m a fashion stylist & creative director specializing in magazine editorials, commercials, music videos and
personalities. I do feature films too. I was born and raised in Paris, France. After being a freelance stylist over there, I decided to move to Los Angeles in 2011 to pursue my career.
I left all my clients and had to start all over in a new country with my broken english without knowing anyone.
It was challenging and I’m really happy with my decision.

Which projects are you most proud of?
It can sound cliché but all of them. Each of them are unique. With their own problems that I hopefully solved.
I believe that each project is building the foundation of my career.

How would you describe your own style?
My style is very tomboyish but with a feminine touch.
I love mixing prints too.

Who was your mentor?
I had 2 mentors in France, Justine Allain & Sophie Aprile who taught me everything when I started.
And I currently have one in U.S, super stylist Paula Tabalipa. She’s amazing and supportive.
Being a stylist in France is really different than US and she showed me the way.

Your idea of great style?
Mixing high and low. You don’t need to dress head to toe with expensive brands. I think it’s a parisian thing.
Great shoes are important too.

What puts you in a creative mood?
Smooth jazz with an ice cream and my computer at 1am going through the last international magazines editorials.

What is something about you that nobody would guess?
I’m very funny. It doesn’t show because I’m so focused during a job!

Favorite indulgence?
A great film, some wine and cheese and a big blanket with my other half.

Your most annoying habit?
I’m very controlling with my work. Sometimes I should delegate more.

How would you like to be remembered?
As someone who was creative, with an avant garde vision and a professional who listened carefully to her client’s needs.

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We are captivated by your story and talent.
Thank you Sarah, you are a great gift!

A Conversation with Nicole Gordon

Nicole Gordon Levine

We’ve recently caught up with beauty guru Nicole Gordon, author of Beauty is OUR Addiction and she graciously talked with us. On that note, here is what she said.

How did you become addicted to beauty?
I decided to begin writing after being inspired by the late, great MUA Kevyn Aucoin’s ex-partner, Eric Sakas. I assisted Eric while he was product testing for a few beauty brands as well as while he was launching a cosmetic line- and that was where the whole beauty ball started rolling. He introduced me to a world reknowned retoucher- who then introduced me to a beauty expert- who then got me my first writing gig! 700 articles later as well as 35K tweets- I just relaunched my very own blog.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.
I am a single Mother of 2 and a VP of Sales & Marketing at a promotional premiums agency. I have a BFA in Sculpture and worked at Sotheby’s right out of college as well as Allure Magazine when it first launched. That is when I caught the real beauty bug, I believe?! Seeing the beauty ads three months in advance had me salivating at the time.

Which projects are you most proud of?
My favorite articles seem to revolve around the ever so talented Michelle Phan. I have met her twice while launching lines for Lancome Paris and recently reviewed her very own cosmetic line, em cosmetics. They will also have a flagship store located not far from me in Nolita on Mulberry Street. I had over 40K likes on just one article with her and I have always admired her talent. I still watch her tutorials and created La Bella Muerte for Halloween based on her tutorial. I have also had a blast meeting Drew Barrymore, Cynthia Rowley and truly get excited when I hear of creative collaborations that cross brand categories such as fashion and beauty.

How would you describe your own style?
I stay with a classic bold red lip and a black cat eye most of the time yet through reviewing so many products have had real fun playing with new colors and textures both on my face and nails. Originally, I started writing for a friend as I attended the Grammy’s in 2011 and wore Sally Hansen’s Salon Effects strips in Laced Up before they were out on the market. A friend was a hand model and I remembered seeing her hand in these great designs which later changed the nail industry, in my opinion. I continued to wear the strips for nearly two years because they were not only easy to put on but so colorful in their designs.

Who was your mentor?
My mentor is a writer whom has helped me through the years stay on track and remain focused. Eric has also always encouraged me to stay in the beauty field as I am so passionate about it and love what I do. I am forever grateful that many people have extended their hands out to me when I needed help.

Your idea of great style?
Great style is being whomever you want to be. I love when a person interprets beauty in their own way. I adore the works of Pat McGrath Tina Turnbow, Eric Sakas, Kevyn Aucoin (may he R.I.P), Kabuki, Dick Page, Francois Nars, Vincent Longo, Pati Dubroff, Brigitte Reiss Andersen, Laura Mercier and others as they are innovators and try new makeup applications that are sometimes overly dramatic, yet can still translate to every day looks. Kevyn Aucoin, hands down, was my favorite MUA and influencer of all time. He used makeup to transform people into the most beautiful versions of themselves and sometimes into celebrities he personally admired or loved.

What puts you in a creative mood?
I am always in a creative mood, after 10 years of art school and nearly 20 in Marketing, there isn’t a moment that passes where I am not thinking of my next project or surfing Social Media outlets for inspiration.

What is something about you that nobody would guess?
I am a brunette. LOL-bucket list at 40 was to go blonde-and I did.

Favorite indulgence?
My favorite indulgence would be having brunch by myself at The Soho Grande eating organic quinoa and doodling on the surrounding paper with my lipstick pen. I am an artist at heart so I often doodle to get thoughts out or connect a story in it’s proper sequence. I also love anything Parisian so being surrounded by fragrant flowers in a nearby garden suits me just as well.

Your most annoying habit?
Like many of us, my most annoying habit is not looking up enough and being connected to my phone. There is beauty everywhere so sometimes I must leave my phone at home and take in my environment to keep me grounded.

How would you like to be remembered?
I would like to be remembered as a charitable woman as I like to work with the homeless, volunteer for Dress For Success and donate whenever I can to places in need of cosmetic products. Most of all, I would like to be remembered as being a great Mother, loving daughter, as having a kind spirit, being overly generous to others and having a true romance with life.

You are kind, generous and definitely a romantic in every sense of the written word.
Thank you Nicole, you truly are a thing of beauty.

A Conversation with Pam Older

What made you decide to become a Designer?
I had been a repressed right brainer all my life, having gone into business rather than a truly creative field at the onset.  I was once an apprentice to a silversmith in college. I moved to NYC and like all struggling art school graduates, needed to make a living. Luckily I found a job in publishing at Redbook Magazine and found I loved business and was good at it. I went on to Esquire, Children’s Television Workshop, Time Magazine and lastly the New Yorker Magazine and had a very successful career. This was an ideal way to start a family, buy a home and build some security.
However, after many exhausting years of commuting, business politics, deadlines, and insane editors I was frayed, worn down and ready for a change. I left without a clear idea of what I would do next, a crazy decision looking back, but a heartfelt one. An adult education class led me back to jewelry creation. Although I tell others that my little company has an an extremely flawed business plan, (it’s not easy to make handmade goods in the USA and be profitable), however if you invert the glass, it’s in truth The Perfect Business Plan.  I’m the boss, I have artistic freedom, a flexible schedule with time to travel, complete choice in whom I work with and the ability to create a work environment I like. And no more commuting!

Which products are you most proud of?
My two kids are the easy answer. Both came out creative, my daughter is an art director and my son is a sound engineer. As jewelry goes, each piece has things I like about it. I really love my new Diamond Planet collection. I might get tired of seeing certain pieces after a while, but when I see a customer trying them on, the pieces always come to life.

Who was your mentor?
When I was nineteen I worked as an apprentice at a handmade jewelry store in Coconut Grove called OM. I learned all aspects of making jewelry. Everyone in the shop was romantically involved with their work mates, I suppose the head designer taught me quite a bit about jewelry too. My uncle was my faithful mentor in business, skills that I put to work in publishing when I was in charge of production and technology and today running Pam Older Designs. Within the competitive publishing realm I never had a mentor, they were sorely lacking. Because of this I always tried to mentor the people that I managed or who sought me out, and still do. I think we can help others grow tremendously if they are open to advice.

Your idea of perfection?
A candle lit room, fresh flowers and a fire blazing, with friends coming over any minute for dinner. My jewelry is always right, or I don’t sell it. I obsess over the details. When the stones, colors and other details come together, you know when they are just right.

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What puts you in a creative mood?
A quiet day in the studio with no one around, phone turned off and absolutely no plans. That’s when I can explore new materials, color combinations, different metals and experiment with new shapes for my designs.

What is something about you that nobody would guess?
Having practically raised myself after my mother died at age 7, I have an inner strength that probably isn’t obvious to most people- those close to me know all about it!

Favorite indulgence?
Buying beautiful gemstones and components to make my jewelry, especially in India. On a more personal note,  I love food- oysters, cooking Moroccan tagines and couscous, Ben and Jerry’s NY Chocolate Fudge Brownie Ice Cream.

Your most annoying habit?
I am a perfectionist and a bit compulsive, so I tend to triple check things and then change my mind. It drives my assistants crazy, but they know I strive for the best looking piece of jewelry possible and they do to, they completely get it.

How would you like to be remembered?
For creating beautiful jewelry of course, but mostly for family, friends and those who have worked with me to say I inspired them to treat others well, to think decisions through carefully, to be clear and headstrong on reaching your goals and personal dreams, to be playful and not take yourself too seriously, to live as simple a life as possible in today’s complex world, and to surround yourself with positive people.

Excellent!!
Pam, thank you for inspiring us to become more positive people.

Our Favorites: Onyx

Onyx

The natural form of onyx stone is normally a deep shade of black, though tinted by the quartz that surrounds it to make many colour shades. in some parts of the world, there is a variation of this stone that actually has a deep shade of red rather than the traditional black colour.
Black Onyx meaning is Self control, decision making, intuition, protection. It is widely believed that black onyx can change your habits if they are erratic. It is regarded as one powerful protection stone as it absorbs negative energy of people to release mental stress and promote emotional well-being.

Check out this beautiful teardrop black onyx gemstone set in a 22K gold vermeil bezel dangle from a beautiful gold vermeil chain.
You can also take the pendant off the chain and wear the chain by itself for a minialist look! SHOP HERE

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A Conversation with Jennifer Hayes Margolin

What made you decide to become a Stylist?
I’ve always loved fashion from a very young age.  After coming back to the states from traveling the world with my husband, we decided to move to LA.  While there I decided to follow my passion and started styling.  I was fortunate to meet and later work with some amazing photographers and one thing quickly led to another.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.
I am a fashion stylist and personal shopper specializing in: trend forecasting and fashion direction.  I work with brands providing creative direction and on-set styling on photo shoots.  I also work with busy executives, founders and celebrities helping to maintain their wardrobe & styling needs.  It could be anything from shopping for new wardrobe items to sourcing a specific one of a kind item the client requested.

Which projects are you most proud of?
All of them!  I’m most proud of delivering an exceptional service to my clients so their needs are met and I have exceeded their expectations.

How would you describe your own style?
My style is classic chic with bit of glam.

Who was your mentor?
Cindy Whitehead.  She is Sports Stylist based in LA and is absolutely amazing.  She has been a styling athletes and working with big brands for many years and is a veteran in the industry. She has been so supportive of me and helpful anytime I’ve needed some guidance. She is all about supporting other women, which sometimes is hard to come across in this industry.

Your idea of great style?
Great style is wearing clothes with your own personality coming through rather than the clothes wearing you. There’s nothing worse than seeing someone wearing the latest trend and they look so uncomfortable not able to pull it off.

Jennifer Margolin

What puts you in a creative mood?
Sitting on my deck over looking the Bay can clear my head and get my creative juices going.  With access to unlimited images and information on all of our devices I find taking a break from it all is sometimes much needed.  I also love seeing what people are putting out on Instagram and other online sites/blogs.

What is something about you that nobody would guess?
I love organization.  Nothing makes me happier than opening my fridge and all of the labels are facing the same way; things are organized in groups, etc.

Favorite indulgence?
Deep tissue massages as much as possible!

Your most annoying habit?
I’m impatient.  I hate waiting.

How would you like to be remembered?
As someone that over delivered for her clients…all with great style and a fabulous pair of shoes!

Jennifer, you certainly have delivered a great interview and did it with great style! Thank you.

Designer Spotlight: Susan Obrant

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Adam Jason Photography

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What made you decide to become a Designer?
Being unable to find what I wanted.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.
I am made of stardust and attitude! I trust my instincts implicitly, work constantly, and define Wearable to mean it dances on your body and Comfortable to mean wearing an ethereal skin.

Which products are you most proud of?
Hopefully, all of them.

Who was your mentor?
My grandmother taught me her European crochet stitch when I was 8, then gave me the license and encouragement to invent everything else.
Next came Mozart and play, & Leonardo and mastery.

Your idea of perfection?
Tomorrow.  That way I am not encumbered by it today.

What puts you in a creative mood?
It’s perpetual at this point!

What is something about you that nobody would guess?
I was discovered in an egg in the back yard (according to many close to me).

Favorite indulgence?
My husband’s cappuccino in the morning, and lately “Dr. Who”.

Your most annoying habit?
workaholic!

How would you like to be remembered?
By my art.

Susan, we thank you so much for a great conversation.

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Obsessions: The FingerBag Mini and Others

RK New York

“The FingerBag “”Mini”" is sure to bring high glam to any outfit, this holiday season. It is made from amazing Mirrored leather that is all the trend for Fall/Winter. SHOP HERE

Lumete

 

Shop Lumete collection here

 

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Rose Gold Diamond Full Finger Ring

 

ONE OF A KIND: Champagne diamonds accent this rose gold full finger ring. Powerful and chic, inspired by Edie Sedgwick, and the glam era of the 1960′s. It’s fun, flirty and fabulous!

 

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Diamond Hoop Earrings

 

ONE OF A KIND: These eternal diamond hoop earrings are perfect to wear with your jeans or black tie. An absolute must have!

Designer Spotlight: Christine Tortora

CHRISTINE TORTORA

What made you decide to become to be a designer?
I was never able to be classified as a designer until now.  I have been labeled many titles along the way, a painter, a buyer, a merchandiser, an intern, a production and sales manager, an assistant, a developer….but labeling me a designer has always somehow been too narrow, even if always a part.
ViaBuia, allows me to call myself the designer.  And it finally feels true.
but I am still all of those other things…. So maybe what I really am is just a masochist. Final answer!

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work
it would be impossible at this point to separate the 2, the brand is really a part of me. And I am completely dedicated to it.  That sounds pretty self centered doesn’t it? It’s kind of like the brand is my baby, it needs constant nurturing and love.
it’s kinda like breathing, everyday The ‘to-do’s’ happens naturally, and each part of everyday has it’s up and down, but one thing is constant, progress.because even mistakes are lessons learned, and that bares more value than can be measured.
Although I live in Florence, i am frequently in Brooklyn, NY where I grew up and continue to draw on inspiration.

Which products are you most proud of?
I appreciate all of them for different reasons. I am proud of the Pastina camera bag for all of her popularity, i see her as my little treasure and really enjoy combining color and texture to make truly unexpected details. But the most clever style I feel is the Brooklyn Brief which is a versatile backpack. Recently i wasn’t charged for an extra carry on at the airport because it was considered so slim and sleek on my back. I felt like i made a weird break through…like hey, everyone needs one of these! And they do!

Who was your mentor?
my grandma Angie has had a huge influence on the aesthetic of the brand. Her home decor is a ViaBuia mood board in the making. Bring on the damask, the vintage, the gold, and top it off with the smell of baking and a will to succeed, no matter how small the task.

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Your idea of perfection?
, if it does exist, it’s more of a feeling of balance, that’s when a bag is complete. It is really up to the minutia, the details. Details Details Details usually have to wear a style for at least a month before I can perfect it, making it better is so satisfying. Adding pockets, improving construction, finding clever solutions to make it the best. I guess that’s perfection in this business.
Materials research is my favorite part of the entire process, no matter how different the supplier or source, when I look at my findings I realize there I have a clear direction, because I choose what I like and it comes together. Sometimes I will buy something and not use it for 8 months. But it always finds it’s way in.  Deciding how to use materials is just as much analytical as it is creative.  Perfection is balance of all components, presenting a final product that will be adored and in demand. I preach that I hate perfection, but in reality I obsess over it all day long on the job.

What puts you in a creative mood?
I get lots of brainstorming done when I drive, fly, and in the minutes or hours before I fall into sleep. I get inspired by vintage furniture, autumn leaves, doors…food. Texture.  I love working at my studio in Florence (on Via Buia). It’s a feng shui paradise, I am usually listening to An old jazz playlist that I never get tired of…you say potato I say potato u say tomato i say tomato…..

What  something about you that nobody would guess?
I have a horrible fear of heights. High heels included.

Favorite indulgence
Macaroni and cheese

Your most annoying habit
I am a nocturnal bird. I get most of my work done at the wee hours of the night. Which means mornings are not my friend.

How would you like to be remembered?
Maybe for my soups. Hah. I LOVE soup.

Thank you Christine.

 

 

 

Find: Arayaci

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Every step from material harvesting to processing, design and final polishing require time proven knowledge of the materials that can only be found locally.
Arayací has selected a variety of artesan talents to lead the design and crafting of the jewelry. Each artesan has their own specialty area in materials and de- sign. This translates into product lines that bring out the richness of Amazonia.
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Turks and Caicos Inspiration

Turks and Caicos

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Image via: here

We are inspired by these tropical Islands in the Lucayan Archipelago. Crystal turquoise colored waters make us want to dive in. Next best thing would be to adorn yourself with these gems and pocket the air fare. This is after all the month of Turquoise.

Lumete

Sapientia – Aqua Green-Lumete $275

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Rare Glass Mosaic Bracelet-Donatella Linari $100

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Alexandra Stingray Cuff-Nissa Jewelry $148

Designer Spotlight: Jewelry by Matt

Jewerly By Matt

What made you decide to become a Designer?
An inborn desire to eat and pay my rent.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.
I hate to talk about myself and my work in the same sentence.

Which products are you most proud of?
My jeweled cuffs I think are representative of some of my best work.

Who was your mentor?
I did not have a mentor.

Your idea of perfection?
An empty schedule.

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What puts you in a creative mood?
Access to raw materials!

What is something about you that nobody would guess?
That I have an idiotic sense of humor.

Favorite indulgence?
Watching historical documentaries on-line.

Your most annoying habit?
Criticizing people’s fashion choices in my mind as I walk down the street.

How would you like to be remembered?
As a kind and generous individual.

Matt, you are man of few words and an artist of epic proportion.
Thank you.

Find: Adventurine Necklace

Adventurine Necklace

 

Welcome to the Friday Find, our favorite item from Circle & Square this week.

What is it: Adventurine Necklace $299  Aventurine is a form of quartz, characterized by its translucency and the presence of mineral inclusions that give a shimmering or glistening effect termed aventurescence hence its name.

Who makes it: Jewelry designer and painter Pam Older.

Why we love it: Because it is natural, classic and has a modern twist.

Designer Spotlight: Melissa A. Bolin

Kitty Andrews

What made you decide to become a Designer?

I worked in finance after finishing university for a highly respected investment management firm.  After a few years I decided that investment management was a total drag and day by day I was losing my creativity towards life and fashion.  I just love hats (have been wearing them since I can remember) and when I would attend an event I would make myself a hat based on the 25 plus millinery texts that I have read to help teach me the trade.  People started to notice, and a business started to blossom.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.

With a former life harbouring a keen interest in fashion, and with varied involvements in its industry, I decided to follow my heart, devote my life to my passion, and put my hands to work in an area with a rich history and a striking presence: the art of millinery.  In my work, my inspiration comes from years spent abroad in Japan, from travel and film, costuming and haute couture, pin-up and rock ‘n roll.  Loving personal adornment, and the grandeur of femininity, I instill my loves and interests into all that I create.

Which products are you most proud of?

I am most proud of each bridal collection I produce and the custom pieces that I do for my clients.  It is motivating and exciting to get to know my clients and produce a piece that suits their own personality and style.  I love a good challenge as well.

Who was your mentor?

I have a couple of mentors right now, both women, one in finance who offers incredible insight to me from a more conservative business prospective (helps reel me in so to speak), and another mentor who has experience in the bridal industry and now works as a consultant to start ups who has taught me to be more intrepid.  Having strong mentors is essential and I couldn’t do this without these two amazing women in my life.

Your idea of perfection?

I purchase vintage hats from top designers (Christian Dior, Chanel, Schiaparelli) and compare my work to the quality of the greats.  Nothing leaves my studio unless it is up to snuff…stitches are aligned, veiling is on proper, and the overall presentation is ship shape.

What puts you in a creative mood?

Getting enough sleep is essential to my creative process.  Having a clear head while in my Brooklyn studio really helps when I am designing and producing collections and custom pieces.  I also find inspiration from walking around the city, in parks, etc.  Travel completely inspires me and the interaction with people from all walks of life.

What is something about you that nobody would guess?

I lived in Japan while I was in high school.  Oh, and I love that ridiculous show Duck Dynasty.

Favorite indulgence?

Travel.  Anywhere.

Your most annoying habit?

I have a tendency to twist my hair kind of obnoxiously when I’m chilling out.

How would you like to be remembered?

As a good person and amazing designer.

We do think you are an amazing Designer.

Thank you Melissa.

Find: Snake Rings

Snake rings became popular in England after Queen Victoria received one as her engagement ring. What a fantastic gift these would make! These unique vintage rings are a must have for the ring collector. 1940's Snake Ring

 

1940′s 18K vintage snake ring $1,800

susana Speidel 1940's ring

 

This snake curves and  coils with delightful sinuous movement. The head is adorned with a cabochon sapphire and blazing emerald eyes. A charming and tempting antique treasure! $2,700  Shop here

 

Lucite Lovelies

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Lucite Jewelry

Lucite is said to be the new trend in jewelry. Lucite is an artificial material that is denser and heavier than plastic and can be moulded and carved. Used broadly in costume jewelry since it can be coloured and textured to look like costly components.
This jewelry was popular with the ladies in the 1940′s.
Lucite can be molded into one of kind pieces of art, like these beautiful pieces from Amanda Pearl Collection.

2-Tier Lucite Nugget Necklace $195    3 Lucite Gems Bracelets $155

Runway images courtesy of Style.com

Spotlight Designer: Von Holzhausen

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What made you decide to become a Designer?
Becoming a designer was never anything I really thought about.  I’ve been redesigning my surrounds from a really young age, trying to make things more beautiful, more interesting, and work a little bit better.
My formal design training started around 13 when I took design classes at my local design college in Pasadena, CA where I grew up.  I later came to realize that Art Center College of design is like the Harvard of designs schools!  It was an incredible foundation to start with.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.
So now you know that I’ve been a designer for as long as I can remember!  I started off with a pretty unconventional career in automotive design.  I worked for Audi & Mercedes-Benz in Germany at the start of my career.  It was a great experience since those brands are iconic in the luxury car world.  The projects there really helped me hone in on my own personal vision, which is a combination of a clean modern look mixed with a strong individual character that gives the designs a unique feel.
By the time I returned to California, I was ready to take my experiences in Europe and translate them into my own brand.    I decided to start with handbags because a bag seems to be the key ingredient to a woman’s wardrobe, much like a wristwatch is to a man.  A handbag embodies a woman’s personal style and is something that can transcend trends and be passed on from generation to generation.  I find all those elements truly unique and really singular to a great bag, so I started there!

Which products are you most proud of?
I am really proud of our Carrera Shopper.  It’s actually one of our simplest styles, but it’s unique in its basic shape yet works with all types of looks so you can wear it everyday which was important to me.  The other cool feature is that is can be worn flat or expanding by unzipping the edge for a different look each time.
It’s really a challenge designing something that’s easily identifiable in the market while still being unique and I think the Carrera Shopper nails it!

Who was your mentor
My mentors in the fashion industry have been all the amazing artisans I’ve worked with these last years.  They have such a rich history of the craft and they bring all that experience to my products.  It’s priceless!

Your idea of perfection?
A beautiful beach with warm, clear blue water!

What puts you in a creative mood?
Great music, a lively work environment and deadlines.

What is something about you that nobody would guess?
No one ever guesses that I used to design cars for a living.

Favorite indulgence?
Wine, cheese, & chocolate.

Your most annoying habit?
I know that I drive my artisans crazy with my constant tweaks but what can you do!  It keeps me up at night

How would you like to be remembered?
I would love to be remembered as a giving person that made the world more beautiful.

Well, you gave us a beautiful interview.

Thank you Vicki.

New on Circle and Square: Vegan Art Bags by Elizabeth Krieger

Vegan Art Bags by Elizabeth Krieger

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Vegan Floral Clutch $395

 

 

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Vegan Shoulder Bag $210Veganblueclutchsnakeskin

Vegan Clutch $210

We are loving Circle and Square’s newest designer, Vegan Art Bags by Elizabeth Krieger. These bags show us that you can be ethical, ecological and extremely beautiful all at once. The bronze metallic detailing, chain straps, and studs are what makes each piece a true work of art and are all hand made in the USA.

Travel Inspiration: Cabo

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Today we are feeling inspired by travel, to Cabo San Lucas specifically. What a gorgeous place to get away to! There are so many beautiful houses and hotels in Cabo as well as great food and beautiful beaches. We are packing our bags just thinking about the dreamy destination!

Bluebird/Champagne Gold BALANCÉ TOTE $395     Vedrina – Storm Cloud sunglasses $275    Aromaflage Fragrance $65

Designer Spotlight: Susan Cummings

Susan Cummings

What made you decide to become a Designer?
My grandmother collected charms from her travels. I liked playing with them and imagining her travels.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.
I live in a small town that allows me to be surrounded by what matters most to me: my daughter, my animals, and nature. I love to create, and my cooking, music composition, and jewelry design all allow me this outlet. They are all similar in that I have no training—I go by feel and no more follow a recipe than read music!

Which products are you most proud of?
All of them, really. But I’m particularly proud of the unusual stone settings.

Who was your mentor?
My mother. She had the talent to make a beautiful meal from an empty cupboard, the eye and feel to give a home a facelift on a dime, and when she stepped out to attend a social event your jaw dropped. Life’s presentation was about elegance, not opulence according to her.

Your idea of perfection?
Imperfection.

What puts you in a creative mood?
Nature.

What is something about you that nobody would guess?
I love studying nutrition and alternative medicine. If not for jewelry design, it might well be my career.

Favorite indulgence?
Wine and horses

Your most annoying habit?
When I have an idea, I want to see it happen NOW! My family sarcastically calls me “Patience”.

How would you like to be remembered?
Alive! Beyond that, heartfelt in all I do.

You have touched our hearts.

Thank you Susan!

Tote-ally Tote Crazy

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A quality tote is a must have in any woman of style’s wardrobe. This classic style is large enough for your macbook, yoga clothes, lunch, and that extra pair of flats. This fall we’ve been eyeing totes with interesting details like quilting, studs, and metallic leathers. Which tote is your favorite?

  • Betty Audish Dulce Crocodile Tote $1,595
  • Katherine Kwei Guinevere Tote $580
  • Shana Luther William Tote in Brick $499
  • Johanna Konanz Genova Croc and Canvas Handbag $870
  • Betty Audish Claudia Crocodile Tote $1,980
  • Gunas Melrose Orange Tote $250
  • Betty Audish Claudia Crocodile Tote $1,980
  • Rinkel Shopper Bag $1,950
  • Katherine Kwei Guinevere Tote $580
  • Michelle Vale Teal with Cream Balance Tote $395
  • von Holzhausen Carrera Shopper in Sapphire and Cream Leather $685
  • Michelle Vale Cobalt with Navy Plie Tote $325
  • Rinkel Shopper Bag $1,950
  • Rinkel Crocodile Urban Bag $1,950
  • Michelle Vale Linen and Pink Balance Tote $269
  • Michelle Vale Camel with Cream Plie Tote $325
  • Adriana Vargas Forero Ikuli Tote $700
  • Anne Sylvain Caramel Alligator & Ostrich Weekender $1,750
  • Marketa New York Mini Shopper $165
  • Gunas Chopper Black Unisex Laptop Bag $450
  • Jill Milan Quilted Tote in Black $475

Pretty Pumpkin Inspiration

Pretty Pumpkin

 

There are so many wonderful ideas for decorating pumpkins on pinterest these days. We love how creative people are getting beyond just normal carving. We can’t wait to throw on this Camilla Olson silk scarf and these black wellies and start crafting!

Pretty Pumpkins

Pretty Pumpkins

Pretty Pumpkins

Pretty Pumpkins

Pretty Pumpkins

Pretty Pumpkins

Pretty Pumpkins

Pretty Pumpkins

Pretty Pumpkins

Images Via: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here

Designer Spotlight: Simma Chester

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Tell us what made your become a designer?
It wasn’t a choice, it’s just what was/is….   The creative life is a matter of fact….

Tell us a little about you and your work.
Born and raised a New Yorker who was lucky her whole life, even when it didn’t seem like luck was coming my way.  I always drew and made things as a matter of course.  I lived abroad for many years, in Spain and traveled extensively over that time.  I met my husband, another New Yorker, in Spain and we had our first child there.  All the while I was working as an artist. During that period I was weaving tapestries as well as jewelry. My tapestries were exhibited and sold in the area in Spain where I was living…

What products are you most proud of?
Jewelry and metal work, for sure; sewing, sculpting, taking a hold of my farm life and making it work.  We have goats, I make cheese twice a week, always experimenting with herbed ingredients, I make yogurt as well and all the other canning and storing that is required.

Who was your mentor?
Mary Chamberlain; Jewels Hawes, my dynamic cousin Letty Cottin Pogrebin, and several, most of whom didn’t know but who’s work I admired.

Your idea of perfection?
Being in my studio with projects for upcoming meetings and appointments, radio playing.

What puts you in a creative mood?
Being in my studio on a rainy day.   Having an idea I want to work on.

What is something about you that nobody would guess?
Although I’m always busy, I think of myself as lazy.

Favorite indulgence?
Popcorn

Your most annoying habit?
Biting the skin on my fingers…ugh..

How would you like to be remembered?
As a nice person who listened and was helpful and loving.  Someone who lead a creative life and had lots of friends and was devoted to her family.

Simma, thank you very much!

Neon

Neon

Neon, it’s not just for summer anymore! Punch up a neutral hued outfit (grey, black, navy) with bright accessories from Circle and Square for a super chic unique look. Wearing brights and breaking the “rules” is one of our favorite ways to show off our fiercely creative independent style.

  • Marketa New York Leather and Linen Fold Clutch $78
  • Gunas Neon Cross Body Black Purse $225
  • Gunas Emma Mini Tropical Green $125
  • Michelle Vale Linen with Pink BALANCÉ TOTE $269
  • Nissa Jewelry Sydne Wave Cuff $98
  • Yellow Croc-Textured Zip Wallet $365
  • Novodeco Cube Dangle Earrings in Yellow $120
  • Gunas Pink Neon Handbag $275
  • Gunas Birdie Clutch $135
  • Nocodeco Lime Green Square Cut Pin $150
  • Lime Green Scarf $70
  • April Loves Henry Vintage Blue Charm Necklace $75
  • Novodeco Emerald Cut Pin in Pink $150
  • Isly Handbags Sona Bright Chartreuse Clutch $150
  • Blue Silk Roll Bag Silvia Tcherassi $95
  • Bowens Bergeron Tastemaker III Clutch $795
  • NovodecoWave Bump Earrings $120

Ballerina Inspiration

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Encrusted Fingerless Gloves and Feathered Hair Clip. See Collection here!

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Today we are feeling inspired by the most elegant athletes of all, ballerinas. Between the tutus and the toe shoes, everything about ballerinas makes us swoon. Which ballerina is most inspiring to you today?

Images via here, here, here, here, here, here, and here

Designer Spotlight: Annie Diamantidis

Annie Handbags

What made you decide to become a designer?

It was difficult to find a well made, high quality handbag that can work into a wardrobe, season to season that is unique in style and texture.
Therefore, I decided to create my own handbags. They caught the eye of many stylish women and that is how Annie Handbags and Accessories was launched.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.
I use skins from around the world, such as python, ostrich, and stingray all in bright bold colors and finished with genuine 14k gold hardware. In 2009, due to the growing demand for my luxury accessories I incorporated my leather collection with 14GP hardware. Annie handbags and accessories was featured through out the final season of the hit show “Gossip Girl” and I made a guest appearance as a “handbag expert” on the new hit reality show filmed in my hometown of Chicago called Hardcore Pawn.

Which products are you most proud of?
That’s a hard question to answer because it’s like asking “which is your favorite child?” I am proud of my entire collection but the one handbag that stands out from all the rest has to be the Nyx clutch. It’s a unique shape and versatile it can be carried  out to lunch or out on the town.

Who was your mentor?
I have met many amazing people on this amazing journey but at the end of the day my family members are my mentors. I have a very supportive family, from my sister to my husband. My mother is my biggest mentor. I look up to her because she came to this country in 1972 from Greece with only $200 in hopes to live the American dream. She has accomplished her hopes and dreams by working hard every day.  She is a very successful business woman.

Your idea of perfection?
When something you’ve imagined and created has become a success the idea of perfection is achieved.

What puts you in a creative mood?
A cup of coffee.

What is something about you that nobody would guess?
I bought my first condominium at twenty-one years old in Chicago’s historic Gold Coast.

Favorite indulgence?
Swiss truffles.

Your most annoying habit?
If you ask my nephews and nieces they would say “working way too much” and not having time to play with them.

How would you like to be remembered?
I would like to be remembered as a designer who gives back to society.  I donate products to charities that raise money for great causes such as pediatric cancer, AIDS, and abused women.

Thank you Annie!

Scarlet Fever

Scarlet Fever

The color red is, well, red hot this Fall! Here at Circle and Square we are well stocked in the hot hue. A scarlet clutch or bright red scarf is a great way to wear this trend.

1. Annie Diamantidis Nyx Clutch Red Ostrich $850 2. Jammu Red Cashmere Scarf $125 3. Ineke Gilded Lily Fragrance $95 4. Betty Audish Dulce-S Crocodile $1,595 5. Camilla Olson Flirty, Tease Red Top $125 6. Gunas Rockstar Red Patent Handbag $299 7. Adriana Vargas Forero Tomato Red Croc Cuff $130 8. Jill Milan Pacific Heights Clutch $650 9. von Holzhausen Infinity Hobo Flame Red Waxed Python $3,875 10. Johanna Konanz Red Capri Croc Wallet

SMALL BLACK DRESS

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Stylenote: We’ve chosen these golden earrings because they have movement. We chose the Cosima Clutch handbag, because it is colorful and decorative. We chose the bracelet, because it has leather elements and is a  counter balance with it’s  openness  to the solid look of the ring, which is massive. If you’re going to be kept waiting do it in  STYLE!

Photography Mia Zhang

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Susan Cummings -18k Sm Wire Hoop Earring $1,700      Amanda Pearl – Cosima Clutch $1,295    

Pamela Sweeney – 14kt Gold Filled Leatheret $360     Susan Cummings – 18k Flare Ring $2,300