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20 Designers to Watch in 2020 and Beyond: The New Classics
These four designers have perfected everyday fine jewelry staples.
In the first two installments of my 20 Designers to Watch in 2020 and Beyond series, I recognized brands that will influence the next decade of jewelry design with their singular contributions to colorful jewelry and bridal styles.
Part III focuses on designers making an impact in the realm of everyday fine jewelry staples.
They’re brands that bring an elegant, artistic flair to classic styles that women will revisit again and again in their jewelry boxes, taking them from day to evening.
The New Classics: Foundrae, Jemma Wynne, Lizzie Mandler, Melissa Kaye
Designer: Beth Bugdaycay
Based In: New York
Key Retailers: Net-a-Porter, Ylang 23, Hirshleifers, Browns
Foundrae’s launch caused an instant stir among jewelry editors with its unusually distinctive and well-executed voice, which was so well-formed that it’s hardly deviated from its core design principles since.
The fine jewelry line from Beth Bugdaycay made a case for hefty, totem-like stalwarts, putting its own spin on cigar bands and medallions.
It also tapped into the power of symbols, referencing ancient, and occasionally modern, emblems and educating its customer base on their meanings, imbuing each piece with a distinct set of values.
No other brand in recent memory has so deftly honed in on the best qualities of jewelry past—both stylistically and sentimentally—and brought it into the future, particularly via its sexy cache of handmade chains.
Designers: Jenny Klatt and Stephanie Wynne Lalin
Based In: New York
Key Retailers: Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Net-a-Porter, Twist
Jemma Wynne, from design duo Jenny Klatt and Stephanie Wynne Lalin, knows how to make a hit.
The brand hones in on certain ultra-flattering styles, pieces one gets the feeling they originally created for themselves, and perfects them, creating an identifiable artistic signature in the process.
This is exemplified in styles like their “Open Rings,” or adjustable, graduated stone “Slider” bracelets, meticulous updates to the classic moi et toi rings and the diamond tennis bracelet, made ultra-contemporary in clean, strong settings.
The Jemma Wynne aesthetic is unabashedly feminine. It’s one of the brands that can be credited with ushering in the current wave of modern pearl jewelry.
Based In: Los Angeles
Key Retailers: Dover Street Market, Bergdorfs, Twist, Browns, Matches
Lizzie Mandler applies a laser-like focus and precision to jewelry essentials, crafting the ideal version of a simple gold band or chain link.
She applies the
A master in subtle dimension and proportion, Mandler’s aesthetic has a unisex feel, veering away from the overwrought or fussy to instead present pieces with a universal appeal.
Her signatures are a knife-edge, an element which provides interest and depth to even the most seemingly simple piece, and the universally flattering combination of black and white diamonds.
Based on unshowy classicism, Mandler’s slow-burning career is built to last, with pieces women and men want to live in.
Based In: New York
Key Retailers: Saks Fifth Avenue, Elyse Walker, Net-a-Porter, D.C. Johnson
“Melissa Kaye’s jewelry is the definition of the term ‘new classic,’” said Elyse Walker’s CMO and Jewelry and Art Buyer Alexandra Lippin.
“Her everyday-wear designs in solid gold are timeless, and layering them with her neon pink, orange, and yellow enamel provides a whole new fun update.”
Kaye’s ability to incorporate the trendy and novel—as in her raved-about neon enamel collection launched last year—into her perpetually appealing eponymous line gives her customers new elements to get excited about.
D.C. Johnson Ltd. owner David Johnson agreed, saying, “Her addition of neon last year was genius. To be able to add that type of detail while maintaining simplicity makes her one to watch.”
It is Kaye’s becoming stable of gold and diamond pieces, however, that will continue to excite women over the next decade, regardless of trend updates.
“Melissa’s ability to reimagine classic pieces without overdesigning makes her such a force,” Johnson said. “The bold, timeless look she creates comes from being able to keep it simple.”
That simplicity is achieved through an excellence sense of scale, with graduated diamonds creating flattering, curving lines.
Kaye also incorporates some kind of unexpected edge into every piece, making each feel thoroughly modern and dynamic.
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