Designer Profile: Philip Crangi

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Q: How did you get into jewelry designing?
A: Well, I went to RISD for drawing and never even considered jewelry design until sophomore year when I went to see a friend who was working in the jewelry studio – and, all of a sudden, it just clicked and I realized that this is what I wanted to be doing.

Q: Why jewelry?
A: It has to do with finding a voice.  I express myself in making jewelry. I see jewelry as small sculptural piece, so really for me, this is a sculptural pursuit.

Q: What is your design philosophy?
A: I think there are two types of designers – the intellectual and the emotional.  I am the later – I need to work from inspiration, other people have a more direct path to their world.  For me, it’s an emotional journey; it’s like a birthing process. Jewelry comes from a very personal moment. 

Q: Can you explain a little about the artistic process involved? 
A: For me jewelry is a very slow and organic process.  It never happens overnight and it doesn’t follow a clear format.  My head is always jumbled, ideas morph as they go and develop in an organic way.

Q: Do you draw ideas or go right into making pieces?
A: Drawing is key.  I am constantly sketching in my workbook, on napkins, scarps of paper, whatever.  Drawing is fundamental and I keep all sketches. 

Q: What was it like to collaborate with Vera Wang on her fall 2008 ready-to-wear collection?
A: Well, it was a collaboration in the true sense of the word.  From the very first stages of the development of the collection, I sat in on fittings to get a feel for the mood of the collection and talked with Vera about what she thought would work – it just developed from there.

Q: Any other collaborations in the works right now?
A: It’s more about what I’m not doing than what I am doing right now.  But, I want to be doing this till I’m 75, so I’m not in any rush – I have time.

Q: I love your men’s jewelry.  Creating and selling jewelry for men can be tricky, what’s the secret to your success? 
A: A guy does not want to wear a piece of jewelry to get attention; he wants to wear jewelry that makes him feel more like himself and that’s what I try to give him.

Q: Ever thought about branching out and doing something other than jewelry?
A: I have had thoughts of maybe doing a home collection.

Q: What advice would you give any woman when it comes to jewelry and style?
A: Don’t look to rules. A woman should feel more like herself with a piece of jewelry on.  It’s about finding yourself through style, finding your own voice.  A woman should feel more beautiful, more confident, more individual, and I think jewelry can provide that.  A piece of jewelry becomes part of your character and identity.

Q: What are you currently inspired by?
A: I am always inspired by my peers.  I think we’re living in golden age of jewelry – there are some many great people working in jewelry right now many of which don’t come from a classic jewelry background (artists, writers, ready-to-wear designers, etc).  All my colleagues inspire and inform me in a way that makes me a better designer – they push me to be a better designer, they make me think and evolve.
I am particularly inspired and in love with Dries Van Noten’s Spring 2009 ready-to-wear collection – the jewelry is amazing.

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