Tag Archives: jewelry

L’ÉCOLE Van Cleef & Arpels

Van Cleef & Arpels is a french jewelry house known for their whimsical designs from florals to fairies and charming ballerinas.  They are also known for is their jewelry making school called L’ÉCOLE which, until recently, was only offered in Paris. Now, L’ÉCOLE has found a temporary new home in New York offering classes until mid-June for people like me that are interested in how things are created and learning by doing. Tucked elegantly into the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, you can’t help but feel like you are transported to Paris in a classroom wrapped in crown molding and french accented teachers who are skilled jewelers guiding you.

The course I took was Savoir-Faire, a four hour class where skilled instructors walk you through the first six steps of jewelry making. I loved learning how to paint a diamond in gouache, and how a little flat butterfly design becomes something you learn how to cut out, shape, hold and glue diamonds (ok, rhinestones) into as they teach you the jeweler’s gestures.

These classes are very intimate, only 12 students, and run from now through June 18th. Other courses include looking into the world of watchmaking, gemstones, and the art history of jewelry

I’ve always appreciated the beauty of high jewelry but until I actually tried my hand at it, I didn’t understand the intense skill it requires to make the charming pieces I am so lucky to get to wear to events like this past year’s School of American Ballet Winter Ball. I wouldn’t exactly say I learned a new skill yesterday (in fact I learned it takes 10-15 years as an apprentice before you can begin to make high jewelry) but I certainly did gain a new level of understanding into a world that makes life sparkle.   

LECOLE_NewYork_004 LECOLE_NewYork_005 LECOLE_NewYork_006 Continue reading…

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Appreciate the Ones You Love


Pandora Jewelry is all about appreciating the ones that you love and when they approached me about gifting charms to someone in my life I immediately thought of two of my best friends, Claire Mazur and Erica Cerulo, who have impacted my life greatly over the years.


We first met back in 2010 at a little coffee shop on the Upper West Side and they told me about their dreams of starting an emerging designers platform called Of a Kind. Not only did I come to learn these were two of the most intelligent, visionary women I have ever met, I would also find out that bonds between women are so important and powerful not only in our personal friendship but in the bond these two share.

We shot together, we shared the original Ann Street Studio in the financial district together, I photographed Erica’s wedding (something I never do – but for her, anything), unofficially Claire’s and even all the way down to Texas for SXSW. We’ve laughed and cried, swapped beauty tips and fashion tricks, and seen each other though relationships and moves, business ups and downs, and endless conversations about that future of our lives. I even bought one of Claire’s Grandmother’s paintings!

10 Things

This is all very personal, so what do you need to know? First off, aside from being women entrepreneurs in New York City (BRAVO!) they write THE BEST NEWSLETTER ON THE INTERNET. It’s called “10 Things” and comes out once a week. I’ve literally been on photo-shoots where art directors have stopped the shoot because “10 things” that week just arrived in their inbox and they needed to “know what’s in the know”. It’s full of everything from the best chickpea kale salad recipe of the week to where to rolodex your go-to restaurants and the best new beauty products in the industry.

On being friends

Being the good friends they are they are always up for my antics. I’ve shown up to shoots with my hair in rollers, or that time I got bangs (MISTAKE) or my bachelorette party at the 21 club somehow got very fuzzy towards the end. I got them to join snapchat, which proudly I will state on the record it is now the main form in which we communicate. Then, they were brave enough to have me on their radio / podcast show (an extension of “10 things”) knowing the loose canon I am.

Growing together

It’s a funny thing to take a step back after five years of growing together, growing businesses, growing friendships, growing relationships, and put that into powerful words such as “loyalty“, “heath“, “creativity“, “courage” and think about what these two inspiring women mean to me on a greater scale. To go back to the beginning when I was emerging in the digital space, they were two of my biggest champions and I realized with this project I have never taken the time to tell them how special I think THEY are.

As they have been my champions I hope, in my own weird way, I have been theirs. I’m happy Pandora offered this opportunity for me to tell them how much they mean to me, something I don’t think we regularly take the time enough to do. I gifted them each 6 Pandora Essence Collection charms that to me, represent which each of these women are… and isn’t it nice sometimes to have someone say, “Hey, you’re special for these reasons and here’s why….”

See below for a window into the soul of two friendships I couldn’t have made it through life in New York without and I encourage you to do the same with ones in your own that mean a special something to you.


Claire Mazur

Here are the charms I felt most represented what I appreciate so much about Claire and admire:

Courage- her ability to start her own company and the courage to get it out there to anyone she could talk to

Strength- always problem solving solutions instead of letting them bring her down

Generosity- I’ve received so many special gifts from Claire for birthdays or Christmas to even thank you flowers for shoots, her thoughtfulness and generosity is so wonderful.

Health- Claire runs everyday and makes the most healthy food at home with recipes that appear constantly in “10 things” and makes me want to make healthier choices in my own life.

Passion- She has such a vision and ideas for business and then comes at them with so much passion and energy you can’t help but get behind her in whatever next thing she dreams up.

Appreciation- I have a lot of appreciation for Claire, the way she championed my own career in the beginning while giving me the consistent opportunity to shoot for Of a Kind.

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Erica Cerulo

Here are the charms I felt most represented what I appreciate so much about Erica and admire:

Patience- It takes a lot of patience to start a company with your best friend. In a great balance to Claire’s energy- Erica’s patience keeps it all running smoothly.

Loyalty- I’ve never met someone with as much loyalty in her friendships and relationships. With Erica, you know you have a loyal friend on your side

Trust- I always know I can confide in Erica with anything going on in my life and work.

Creativity- Erica is one of the most talented writers online and in print. She contributes regularly to magazines and is one of the reasons the editorial side to Of a Kind is so amusing to read. Also, her email responses are spot on.

Stability- She never really has ups and downs, she has great emotional stability and mental strength.

Dignity- You’ll never see Erica acting poorly, drinking too much, treating someone badly. She has such a grace and dignity to herself I find wonderfully admirable.

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Claire & Erica

Pandora_Claire_Erica_ofakind__03Claire & Erica’s makeup was provided by Chelsa Crowley for Stowaway Cosmetics

Claire wears a top by Theory, shorts by 3.1 Phillip Lim, Loeffler Randall shoes, Morgan Parish for Of a Kind handbag, Tamaki Niime scarf and Ray Ban sunnies

Erica wears a dress by Jonathan Simkhai, Alice & Olivia shoes, Madewell jean jacket, Atelier Delphine for Of a Kind handbag and Raen sunnies

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Thanks to PANDORA Universe for making this possible.

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Monica Rich Kosann


This past January on a Connecticut estate, I shot my first print ad campaign with my creative collaborator Kelly Framel for a luxury jewelry brand I have been a fan of for many years now: Monica Rich Kosann. As you know,  I have been collaborating with Kelly for close to five years now. She knows what I like, what I gravitate towards, and what will make a good photograph. I feel lucky I get to go to work with one of my best friends and have clients I personally love such as Monica. This time, however, was a bit different. When Monica approached us last year about creating their campaign images for 2015 it wasn’t just digital as we’ve done so many times before. This would be mine and Kelly’s first print ad campaign.

So it was a little different…

They wanted Kelly and I create the entire thing from concept to final selection. Kelly spent a ton of time researching photography books and british magazines and would come to meetings dragging a suitcase full of them. A lot of visual inspiration came from Bruce Weber’s Blood, Sweat and Tears and Peter Lindbergh’s Untitled 116. For me, the story was all about heritage and balancing the timelessness of Monica’s jewelry. The way each piece is something you collect (or dream of collecting) and becomes a part of your life until ultimately being passed it down to a loved one. Monica is also a photographer so there was an element of her photographic spirit I wished to capture in the images, the way she finds these quiet and intimate moments so beautifully. I wanted to shoot in natural light, as Monica chooses to do in her own body of work, and I wanted to give elements of a place or home but never be literal. To feel like a life being lived shown with a delicate simplicity.

We casted two women for the shoot to make it multigenerational, something that is integral to the Monica Rich Kosann brand which we also felt represented the storytelling quality of her jewelry. Though I worked closely with the ad agency, I handled all post production in-house from color grading to retouching. I was very adamant that these would not be overly beauty retouched and aside from a very small few blemishes the women were left as beautifully natural as they are in real life.

When I was growing up it was a pre-digital world everything lived and died by what was physically printed. I dreamed of seeing my work in magazines, on billboards in Times Square (back when they were still billboards), window displays and in mailers. I’m very happy about my career and how things have changed through technology but there is a small piece of me that feels really proud to be able to check off an old fashioned goal of making it in print. When the first ad came out it was so thrilling to see it on the shelf and comb through the pages looking for the shot. If you follow me on snapchat you’ll remember the tears of joy I had sitting there, holding it. I hope I am lucky enough, talented enough, smart enough, to make this the first of many more.

So here are the series of photographs we made on this winter day. Though these are the final four you’ll start to see in Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Town & Country among others, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite moments, and fill you in on what exactly they are wearing these chic creatures and a few behind the scenes stories to some of the shots below…

To Monica & Rod, thank you for believing in Kelly and me.


The above shot of Deborah was the first in the series of ads to come out in this month’s Town and Country. The call time in Manhattan for the crew was 4:30am in order to get everyone up to the house in Connecticut by early morning light. As the models were in hair and makeup, the styling team were steaming the clothes preparing for the fist shot. I was standing in silence watching the light come up minute by minute. I knew I wanted to shoot in that soft delicate time before the sun comes up just over the horizon so I told Kelly she had ten minutes to have them ready by the dock. After we finished the shot just in time, the sun arose and that quiet moment had passed.

Above~ Marissa Webb navy button up dress | Primary funktional stockholm sweater coat | Monica Rich Kosann carpe diem necklace, gold locket, link chain with diamond pave bracelet, planet cocktail ring, cat’s eye stud earrings

Below~ Jill Stuart peach top | A Piece Apart white pants | Monica Rich Kosann earth charm necklace, suppose you love me posey ring, octopus charm necklace, short poesy rings necklace 


The above shot of Ira was taken toward the end of the day. This is the 2nd ad to come out in this month’s Harper’s Bazaar. This photo is really special to me for a variety of reasons. First, I personally own this charm. It was an anniversary gift, a nod to all the world traveling and memories I’ve collected around the world. At this particular moment in the day I was feeling a little worn down from having so many people talking at me while I was trying to shoot. I felt like I couldn’t hear myself think! I told everyone we got the shot and they all started heading back inside. But I pulled Ira back and asked her to hang on for a moment. It was just her, my assistant and this quiet moment on the edge of the ocean and I asked her hold up the earth in front of her eye, like she has the whole world on a string.


Above~ Tibi blue trench | Monica Rich Kosann sugar loaf bracelet, posey bracelets, gate collection hoop earrings, stacked collection of posey rings necklaces

Below~ Karen Millen white tshirt | Zimmerman pinstripe suit | Monica Rich Kosann hoop earrings with scroll detail, collection of poesy ring necklaces,  poesy ring bracelets, & stacked poesy rings


The sports car… that was a surprise. When Kelly and I arrived at the estate the day before the shoot to location scout the grounds keeper took us into the garage were we gasped at the sight of four amazing sports cars. It made for quite the hysterical Snapchat show. On the day of the shoot we had Ira in the previous photo on a yellow couch with a blue jacket on and it just wasn’t sexy or cool enough. The jewelry stayed the same but Kelly put her in a power suit and white tee shirt, we pulled out this little red sports car and that was the right moment. That’s the girl I want to be. This image will also make it to print.

Monica_Rich_Kosann_07 Continue reading…

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Killing Time…


In-between shots, while Jessica was waiting for me to finish setting up, I looked over and there she was, just killing time, running her finger around the ardoise diamond faced IWC Portofino midsize watch and I thought there could not be anything more glamorous than lace, winter light, and a black wool coat so casually and effortless resting against a simple white wall…

See the fashion story here.

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