SPICE UP ANY LOOK WITH ONE OF HER OUTRAGEOUSLY CHARMING PIECES
Story by Reem Jazar
Photos provided by Venessa Arizaga
Accessories are what can ultimately make or break an outfit, so it seems fitting that someone with a résumé as impressive as Venessa Arizaga brings such a fresh, fun, yet tasteful approach to jewellery design.
“I’m kind of very neutral and basic, but with my jewellery I love to have those pieces with bright colours and interesting charms,” explains Arizaga.
Her collections are filled with bright, playful charms and contrasting imagery. The charms range from skulls and crosses to simple refined flowers, and almost everything in between. (Some of her bracelets even have charms shaped like ears and limbs.)
“The girl I design for definitely needs to have a sense of humour, she loves anything loud and bright and she’s kind of an international girl from New York to Paris,” shares Arizaga. “She just loves to travel, loves to go out, and loves to wear shocking things.”
Following her graduation from Parsons The New School for Design in New York City, Arizaga found a job with the label Tuleh, where she says President, Brian Bradley took her under his wing.
“It was super small so I was able to do everything from making patterns to sewing to picking fabrics and going to Paris for conventions and PR, so that was my big start,” says Arizaga. “Brian just kind of threw me in and let me experience all these amazing things that not a lot of kids just graduating school get to experience.”
Arizaga worked under Bradley for three and half years before going to Carolina Herrera, where she worked as part of the design team for another three and a half years. It was there that Arizaga says she was able to design for a wide-range of clientele from red carpet to runway to bridal.
“It was amazing because it was a different house, different aesthetics, different women,” she reminiscences.
Finally, in what Arizaga refers to as her “evolution in fashion”, she worked as Creative Director at Zac Posen. It was there that she oversaw the design team and atelier, took care of schedules and prepared for runway shows.
The designer says her work experience prepared her to start her own line.
“You have to put your ear to the ground and really look and see what’s out there; look to designers that you like, you don’t like,” says Arizaga. “In fashion and in accessories, I have a long list of people that I admire that sell on the same floors as me. You really have to study, do your research and see who your market is.”
Arizaga says the Mexican celebration of The Day of The Dead is an ongoing theme in her aesthetic. The designer says a lot of the charms she uses are hand-painted in Mexico and Peru. However, that was not her only influence in her Pre-spring 2012 collection. “It was based on the Holy festival in India and it kind of incorporates all these beautiful pigments, colours, and lots of tie-dye. I had fun with that,” explains Arizaga. “I went all the way with the colours, and the golds and the silvers.”
Arizaga says she continues to learn with every collection. Though she remains true to some of her running themes, she works to bring something new and fresh to every collection. “I try to work in and develop a new technique, whether it’s crocheting with threads [and] next season, taking that same crocheting technique and using different materials like chain instead of threadwork,” shares Arizaga. “So there’s definitely an evolution and a learning curve in this market that is somewhat new to me but I really try to take my past experience in fashion design and try to fuse it together.”
Fans of Arizaga can feast their eyes on the exotic and exciting ideas in her jewellery, and wait for the day she decides to liaison back in to clothing design.
“My first love was designing clothes and I’ve been tempted to go back in to it,” shares Arizaga. “My time just isn’t there yet but my next goal in life is to eventually have my own clothing line.”