Tag Archives: art

Maria Brito


I met Maria Brito last year when she began working with and advising Kevin and I on our personal work and where to take it. We started doing artist studio tours together around Brooklyn – Maria has an amazing knowledge of the art world, not only in New York but around the world. Her blog and Instagram do a great job of taking you along for the ride! And in case that doesn’t sound chic enough, she covers art fairs like Basel for publications such as Elle; she was featured in Vogue Brazil; she buys art for P. Diddy’s (Sean Combs’) homes; she’s written a book about living with art; she’s a wife and a mother of two; and now, because she has soooooo much free time 😉 she is marrying her two passions, fashion and art, by launching a very limited edition capsule collection of clutches. These pieces feature three different artists –  Kenny ScharfErik Parker and Carlos Rolón/Dzine – in editions of 20 exclusively at Kirna Zabete in SoHo and online. They are truly “wearable art”, pieces that will increase their value through time, and that are themselves timeless.

Below are a few questions I had for Maria about what she wants to do now, what other A-listers are on her client roster, and her thoughts on how to buy art…


So these clutches are amazing! Where did you get the idea for them?

“I had been looking at the idea of doing product. I wrote a book, I do design services, I post things on my blog, so I thought it was about time to do something else. I had been looking at art collaborations, and while I thought some of them were very cool, I realized I wouldn’t necessarily wear what’s available right now. I wanted to create something that my friends or my clients or that I would actually wear, so I came to the idea of doing these clutches. I emailed a few artist friends about the idea to validate that the prototypes were going to work, and they all said, Yes. And the beautiful thing is that in the end, it worked out. So really it came as a natural progression of what I do.”


 So tell me about each of the three pieces of art…

“The zebra print one is by Dzine, his name is Carlos Rolón, he’s an artist who’s based in Chicago. He’s from a Puerto Rican background, so we connect really well because we’re both Latin. This was a piece made for a show that was at Paul Kasmin at the beginning of the year. I took a detail, because it’s a big square, so I had to crop it so it would work for this shape…I feel it works really well for this type of thing.

The white clutch is from Erik Parker. The original is a diptych – it is actually hanging in the house of one of my clients. It’s huge – 6 feet in height by probably 9 feet in length. It’s separate because it’s a diptych, so I decided to play with it and put it together. It worked out really well! This one came full circle because it’s in the house of my client and now…well, you know what I mean.

And the Kenny Scharf one came from a piece that he did in the 90s. It’s also a detail. He’s very known for doing those creatures and little animals, so of course he told me, “Choose one in my archive of 600,” and it was kind of hard. I mean, it’s not that it was hard, having 600 pieces to choose from, but I wanted in particular to have the little creatures! I loved how this turned out to be. It’s very playful.”


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What comes of all the creativity that pours out of Savannah School of Art and Design?… SCAD President and co-founder Paula S. Wallace answered that question with shopSCAD, a unique store in the heart of historic Savannah, Georgia where students and alumni can showcase their talents though innovative handmade works of jewelry, paintings, sculpture, pottery, housewares and more available for purchase. ShopSCAD is always on my list of *must do* Savannah visits every time we are in town! So inspiring!

shopSCAD_003 shopSCAD_004 shopSCAD_005


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Savannah College of Art and Design


So you want to be a designer… an illustrator… a jewelry maker… an animator… you want to be a buyer for SAKS, animate characters for Pixar or make jewelry for Tiffany & Co… but how does one begin? What is that first step on the road to forever? Enter SCAD.

I don’t have a lot of regrets; I find it a waste of energy to regret something, and yet… I regret I did not go to school at Savannah College of Art and Design. I have toured the campus twice, that’s how impressed I am with it. I’ve made friends throughout the years with SCAD graduates and know many colleagues who have SCAD alumni working with them. I hear their name in the creative industry more than any other!

Let’s talk about the campus – first off, there are SCAD campuses not only in Savannah, but in Atlanta, Lacoste, France, and Hong Kong (um, amazing). But the main campus in Savannah is so beautiful I just can’t help but admire it…nestled in historic downtown Savannah, Georgia (you *know* how I feel about that) SCAD has saved and renovated / restored / preserved 70% of the historic buildings. I’m always one for subtle inspiration and I find that a college interlacing perfectly into a city, tucked away behind plaster moulding from the 1800s and beautiful old wooden floors, to be beyond inspiring. The Fashion Marketing building was so beautiful and so whimsically decorated with its wall of eclectic paintings and research room with a fireplace and bookshelf of artifacts that I told our guide it was just rude the students get to have such beauty.

So here we are in my beloved Savannah; let me take you on a tour of one of the most impressive creative institutions I know…


Before we “go to class”, let’s talk about first impressions – they say that’s everything, right?

While we were down in Savannah, everyone was abuzz about SCADstyle, a campuses-wide event happening April 14th-17th which brings together luminaries from the worlds of fashion, jewelry, interior design and other fields for a series of discussions and lectures about the state of design and fashion. This time guests include fashion designer Alexander Wang, renowned graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister, and Domenico De Sole, Chairman at Tom Ford. I want to go back just to hear the digital content panel with Sally Singer, Quentin Jones, Cass Bird (OBSESSED), Sara Moonves and Arnaud Boutin! Even our friends from Dannijo will be speaking!

I’m sure all of these people will walk through SCAD’s main admissions building and why would they not?… it’s GORGEOUS.

The Savannah College of Art and Design photographed by Jamie Beck

One of my *favorite* things about SCAD is how they fill the buildings, halls, shops, restaurants, and town with student and alumni work. The piece I always take a moment to look at each time we are in Savannah is in the admissions building; it is a sculpture of a bee which I find amazing and here is why:

Bees should be extinct.

Natural selection should have eradicated them centuries ago, scientists say. Their bodies are too big for their wings. This is SCAD’s mascot; so chosen because it was widely held that the bee should not be able to aerodynamically fly, yet it does; the school was not expected to do well when it started 35 years ago and yet…it does. The principle the college was founded upon was to give students with interest and passion a chance…to fly…even if they weren’t yet aerodynamically prepared.

The Savannah College of Art and Design photographed by Jamie Beck The Savannah College of Art and Design photographed by Jamie Beck The Savannah College of Art and Design photographed by Jamie Beck The Savannah College of Art and Design photographed by Jamie Beck The Savannah College of Art and Design photographed by Jamie Beck The Savannah College of Art and Design photographed by Jamie Beck The Savannah College of Art and Design photographed by Jamie Beck


A couple of years ago I was sitting at Prabal Gurung’s show and I met the man sitting next to me – he was charming and intelligent, and by the end of the conversation I learned that he was Michael Fink, the Dean of Fashion at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Fast forward and here we are, talking about the fashion program of SCAD and reminiscing about that first day we met. He was formerly the Women’s Fashion Director at SAKS for 15 years and now he talks about his student’s work with as much passion as if he just saw a Jason Wu runway show. One of the points he made I found incredibly compelling was that he sees each senior fashion design student’s collection three times throughout the year to advise them and help ultimately guide their success. I asked him where students go on to work after they graduate from the program and as he begin to rattle off a list of the most famous U.S. designers and brands I cut him off and said, “So… basically there are SCAD fashion design alumni everywhere.” and he laughed and said yes.

The fashion design program in Savannah has 400 students in classes that cover fashion illustration, design and accessories. Senior students make six looks for a collection by hand, which they submit to a juried show. Twenty industry professionals narrow the total submissions down to 20 students who are invited to show their collections in a runway show that is well attended by both the local community and recruiters from top fashion houses.

The Savannah College of Art and Design photographed by Jamie Beck The Savannah College of Art and Design photographed by Jamie Beck The Savannah College of Art and Design photographed by Jamie Beck


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Meet Christina Graci

Today is the last installment of our inspiring women series with Pandora Jewelry. From San Francisco with Courtney Klein to Charleston with Helen Rice, this has been an incredible experience for me, being personally inspired by these amazing women all over the country.  I feel so lucky that our roles as women have become so open to any of our hearts’ desires and I have truly loved seeing what these women have chosen to do with their lives. What has been truly meaningful as well is to see the choices each of these women make within the Pandora Essence Collection, selecting charms that are chic and stylish, but also representative of their core tenets. Speaking to them about what beliefs they hold dear has told me so much about each woman, and I have treasured the friendships made through this lovely collection. And so here we are now with the beautiful Christina Graci

Christina is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana. She studied in Baton Rouge and abroad in Denmark, worked for two major interior design firms in New York City, and then came back to New Orleans to live and work. What makes this the city to be in?

“New Orleans has a special place in my heart.  The city is so rich in history and culture that you don’t find everywhere.  It’s such a diverse city that is so full of life.  The people here are also truly unique.  Never a dull moment in this city to say the least!”

With her brother Chad, Christina runs Graci Interiors, an interior design firm known for having exquisite and classic tastes, mixing vintage and modern styles with ease. Christina said her passion for interior design showed before she even knew it could be a job: “Growing up my mother and I would re-decorate my bedroom yearly.  We would get new draperies, bedding, change the wall color, etc.  It was so much fun doing that with her that I guess it just grew on me.  It wasn’t until I went off to college that I had the epiphany that I could do that for a living!”


Christina describes her personal style as “classic traditional but fresh and modern.  Keeping with traditional interiors is important to me but bringing it into our era and how we live today makes is so interesting and fun.”

When I first heard this, I knew Christina and Pandora Jewelry made the perfect pair…classic jewelry with a fresh and modern perspective on the inspiring woman who wears it!


Christina on what her Pandora Essence Charms mean to her ~

Hope and Confidence – I chose these because they primarily have a lot of meaning to me in reference to my career.  I’ve had to have a lot of hope in my career along the way in order to keep moving forward.  Also, in my career you’ve got to have confidence in yourself and in your work to be successful.
Health – A healthy lifestyle is so important to me.  Being healthy is living life to the fullest for me – mind, body, and soul.
LoyaltyStability, and Love – These all relate to me personally in my relationships with friends and family.  I feel as though all three are interwoven.  You can’t have one without the other and vice versa.



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