Lisa Salzer (left) with her latest collection (right)
I first discovered Lulu Frost jewellery when I featured their Plaza number rings on this blog last year. I have always been a fan of vintage jewellery (I remember my days of hunting for Chanel pieces on eBay vividly!) but I have become too busy to search for cool pieces. Lulu Frost jewellery is the perfect solution for me because it features antique jewels reworked into contemporary styles giving them a cool new edge.
Lulu Frost is actually the brainchild of designer Lisa Salzer and was launched in 2004 in New York. Since its launch the brand has become a favourite with magazines such as Vogue and Elle, and is available at hip boutiques including Barneys and Bergdorf Goodman. More recently Lisa has collaborated with retailers such as J Crew and Whistles (in the UK) on special collections.
Fortunately for us Hong Kongers, Lisa will be making an official appearance today at Harvey Nichols to show off her latest collections. I managed to sit her down for a quick chat about hunting for the best vintage pieces and tips on starting your own vintage collection. Read on!
Why did you decide to become a jewellery designer?
I grew up in a family that has always loved antique and vintage jewellery – my grandmother, Elizabeth Frost, managed a wonderful jewellery store in Pennsylvania for over 40 years that I grew up visiting. I always admired her so I think it’s in my genes. I love how jewellery can transform a person’s style from bland to interesting with just a few key pieces.
How do you stay faithful to the character of an antique piece while transforming it into something modern and wearable?
Vintage pieces are my starting point - I am deeply influenced by the classic style and tradition of the particular piece I am working with. By combining the style or idea of a vintage piece with other elements, such as new chain or unexpected pops and combinations of colour, I achieve something more modern while still incorporating the special vintage aspects.
Describe Lulu Frost’s aesthetic in one sentence…
Forward-thinking design steeped in classic tradition that combines to create something refreshingly modern.
What is your favourite period for antique jewellery?
The Victorian period, because they were so intelligent about the jewellery they created. It’s rich with symbolism and people could communicate ideas or messages through their beautiful jewellery.
How did you get the idea for your bestselling Plaza Numbers series?
I was in New York City in 2005 searching for old pieces to rework into interesting styles. I came across buckets of bronze numbers and was told that they came from the historic Plaza Hotel. I immediately snapped them all up to create very special necklaces, bracelets and charms.
Tell us about your inspiration…
The starting point of any collection comes from my journey searching for special antique pieces and my own personal vintage archive. This is also combined with how I am feeling, and the cultural moments and happenings that matter to me. For example, my most recent collection is called Power and is inspired by powerful women such as Grace Jones. I love her style.
What’s your own personal collection like?
Of course it includes lots of Lulu Frost from seasons past! I never grow tired of my old designs – I guess they stand up to the test of time! I also wear number rings from my fine jewellery line, Lulu Frost CODE, and love to wear a vintage diamond and gold ring or two to dress up my look. I have loads of Victorian bangles and pins as well.
Where are your favourite places to source vintage jewellery?
I enjoy working with my mum, Linda Salzer – she is our buyer and has an amazing eye and the two of us love to source from antiques dealers throughout Long Island, NY, where I grew up.
What’s the best piece of advice that you can give someone who wants to start collecting vintage jewellery?
Read up on the classics. It’s easy and interesting to learn about styles from varying decades, from the Georgian, Edwardian, Victorian and Nouveau and Art Deco eras. A piece or two from each era, with a good dose of Bakelite and other art plastic thrown in for good measure, would make for the beginnings of a wonderful jewellery collection.
Lulu Frost is available at Harvey Nichols, The Landmark, Central, Hong Kong, tel: +852 3695 3388. www.lulufrost.com