I met up with the sisters behind Lizzie Fortunato Jewels, Lizzie and Kathryn Fortunato, at Soho House earlier this week to preview their Spring 2012 collection. Inspired by mid-century American wonders such as the Kaufmann Desert House in Palm Springs, this amazing lookbook, entitled The Desert House, was photographed by Jason Ross Savage and featured the work of floral designer Taylor Patterson.
With an emphasis on architectural influences, their colorful jewels and handbags have morphed into something more sophisticated this season without losing sight of the brand’s love for unique materials and signature ethnic details. Read the interview below to find out designer Lizzie Fortunato’s favorite pieces from this season, what inspires her about living in New York and the scoop behind their amazing bags.
What the inspiration behind the Spring collection?
I was inspired by mid-century American architecture, particularly the Eames House and Edward Neutra’s Kaufmann Desert House in Palm Springs, California. These architects perfectly fused practicality and high design which was a challenge.
What is your favorite new piece and why?
I worked with Arthur Kemelman, a woodworker based in Israel, for several new styles including The Painted Desert Necklace and The Painted Desert Bracelet. The necklace features wood that Arthur carved by hand and then painted with gold leaf. Each piece of wood is unique and is set in a custom-made bezel and the result is exquisite.
I love all the handbags in the line. How long have you been doing them?
We showed two quite simple handbags in our SS11 collection, but really delved into the handbags last season (Fall 2011). We have been working with craftworkers in India who do the most exquisite embroidery and beadwork for our jewelry and we figured “We need another way to showcase this beautiful handiwork” and bags were the obvious outlet for that.
You guys are based in the Lower East Side. How does that inspire and affect the collection?
I often see good street style on the walk to work from our apartment in Soho to our office in Chinatown; I pass Surf Saturdays, Opening Ceremony and some other people-sighting-spots along the way so if ever I have a lack of ideas, this walk gives me my “street-style” fill!
What’s next and exciting for the collection? Any collaboration or retail plans in the works?
We’ll definitely be delving more into the bags and are working on some new styles that we’re excited about. And E-commerce! Also, check out our blog!
Click through the slideshow to see images of their awesome jewelry and bags for Spring 2012. Love everything? You can buy pieces from their Fall collection online right now on Shopbop!