Not unlike a jewellery box, the Fifth Avenue high-rise that houses R. J. Graziano’s New York City headquarters may look nondescript from the outside, but step through the glass-panelled doors to his showroom and a treasure trove of gemstone and fringed collar necklaces and oversized pearl cuffs await. It was in this room, surrounded by his signature colourful costume accessories, that I met with the designer on a cold March morning in order to craft our very own bespoke bauble in collaboration with The Shopping Channel. With over 30 years in the North American bijoux biz, Graziano has seen his bold, trendsetting designs worn by everyone from Rihanna to Oprah.
Sitting at a table full of hardware and materials set out for our consideration—a rainbow of chains, clasps and gemstones organized in plastic jewellery trays—I highlighted some of the key trends from FLARE’s fall runway report: ’60s mod, graphic checks, architectural details. From there, we flipped through Graziano’s fall and holiday collections, discussing his inspirations and design philosophy along the way. “I’m very into the retro-glam look: new and old at the same time with a tough-and-tender feel,” the jewellery pro explained as we sketched. Our goal: to craft a collectible piece that could instantly dress up jeans and a blazer—and still be fancy enough to pair with a cocktail dress.
In the end, I fell for a geometric necklace that recalled the patchwork-esque patterns at Fendi and the industrial sets built for Prada’s Constructivist-influenced runway show. We played with a multitude of colour and gem combos before settling on alternating clear and midnight-blue glass stones on a gunmetal frame.
“I love that it’s not solid, so you can see skin tone underneath,” says Graziano, reviewing our final design. “I hate heavy, heavy jewellery.” Who said a bold statement can’t be lighthearted?
The FLARE + R. J. Graziano collaboration is available exclusively at tsc.ca