Monday, October 24, 2011

Scarlett Garnet "makes it work" with Laura Kathleen on Project Runway

Scarlett Garnet had the honor of working with the talented and lovely Laura Kathleen for Project Runway Season 9. We have been so excited about our jewelry pairing with her garments, we just had to share our perspective online! While there is a distinct difference in our overall brands' aesthetic, Scarlett Garnet jewelry went perfectly with Laura Kathleen's looks, in what Tom and Lorenzo call, "earthy glam."
I met Laura in the fall of 2010 when a group of fashion designers in St. Louis were getting together to discuss ways to expand our businesses and fashion in the Midwest. Upon our first meeting, Laura said right away, "I'd love to use your jewelry for the upcoming runway show!" We met several times and she showed me swatches of fabric and sketches for the Crush Wine and Fashion Show, benefitting Sunnyhill, Inc. Below are some of the pics from that show, where she wowed the crowd with her beautiful flowing gowns, edited detailing, luminescent fabrics and asymmetrical cuts.

The Multi Metal Chevron Necklace stood out with her lightly boned top and loose jacket. We were able to pair several pieces from our newly released (at the time), Spaghetti Western Sunset Line, as well as our steady Nautical Nouveau Line. The Multi Metal Chevron Necklace and similar Multi Metal Chevron Earrings have turned out to be our most popular products to date.

Laura Kathleen's pagoda dress really showed off our Brothel Bling Necklace. I love how the sleeves extending past the hemline creates a bit of drama.

Rocking the Mercury's Wing Earrings with the one shoulder dress.

The Feather Duster Necklace is a huge piece to wear and not for the faint of heart, but Laura's asymmetrical look pulls it in.
You'll also notice the work of milliner Miriam Wiegand. Miriam does amazing hats, completely from scratch, and was recently an artist at the strictly juried St. Louis Art Fair.
We continued networking with Laura through the year as the fashion designers convened and reconvened about potential showrooms, reps and fashion incubator programs in downtown St. Louis. We were all exploring how we could help each other while trying to attain our vastly different goals. I ran in to Laura while I was dogsitting in her new apartment building. She was moving in furniture and I was corralling the most slobbery dog imaginable but she did not shy away from giving Winston a proper greeting!
She told me she was once again trying out for Project Runway, for the fourth time. After speaking with Michael Drummond, contestant on Season 8 and fellow downtown St. Louis resident, she decided to play the card of "privileged girl" for the producers, which ended up being her golden ticket. Before she left for filming, she borrowed and bought several pieces of jewelry to wear on the show. It was hard to grasp at that moment that she was about to be thrust on to the world stage as a contender for Top Designer! She also mentioned that if she should make it as far as New York Fashion Week, she'd love our help accessorizing her runway show.
Laura rocked out several of our designs during the first round of filming, below:
Her team captured the hectic NYC streets as Laura glammed it up, jumping in and out of cabs like a pro! Our Brothel Bling Necklace adds the perfect amount of gold to her black silhouette. Traced from one of the huge chandelier pieces that line the ceiling of our St. Louis studio, this large brass pendant is accented with an asymmetrically placed diamond shaped tiger eye. We also have Brothel Bling Earrings, slightly smaller and paired with a purple Iolite.

Like I said, the paring of SG with LK is not an obvious match made in heaven, but Laura wears the Big Bull by the Horns Necklace well! She paired the longhorn skull with vintage prints in Episode 1, and with a ruffled basic top, above. The piece is water-jet cut from copper and hung on 16" of copper chain. Too big? No, girl. You got it. We do have a smaller, more corralled, version in laser cut stainless, the Steel Steer Necklace.

I think the Crystal Bullet Necklace personifies Laura Kathleen perfectly. She herself is girly and glamorous, shown in the vintage chandelier crystal, but has a little bit of an edge, seen in the bullet casing holding the crystal. "I may look like Barbie, but I bite" Laura said on her Twitter profile. We can't agree more, or make better jewelry to describe it.

Laura bought the Nautilus Skeleton Skeleton, from our Nautical Nouveau line, right after we first met. The Nautilus was an important symbol in her college sorority.

Laura called me in July of 2011 saying, "I need your help with a very special Spring/Summer 2012 collection!" She had just returned from lockdown during the first round of filming and was setting to work on 10 looks for the Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week! In the magic of TV, you only see the top 3 (or 4...) are shown during Fashion Week, but in reality, the top 10 (or 9...) get to create a line for that big night. Laura was on strict hush-hush about how far she made it in the show. I can't imagine how hard it was for her to smile and say, "I am not at liberty to talk about it" when questioned about the outcome or pressed for hints!

As we were preparing for our first big wholesale show, POOL Tradeshow (you can look here for our blog on POOL), Laura brainstormed in Florida and returned with a plan. We met at my studio where Laura explained how she had been inspired by our cut metal in developing her line! She describes her inspiration in this article in the Post-Dispatch, but in short, was going for a "glamorous armor" feeling representing the walls one puts up, or breaks down, during relationships.
She showed some amazing sketches of thee metal dress made from plates of brass and other garments with brass ribbing, and discussed the possibility for further detailing with metal on more of the looks. She knew we had relationships with companies to cut sheet metal and needed our assistance with sourcing the materials. Garnet and I set to work on drawings and the logistics of getting metal cut in the sizes and quantities that would build an entire wearable dress! She needed yards of metal, just as she would need yards of fabric, which was way more than we had ever had cut before, at one time. Luckily for us, our water-jet cutters in St. Louis had some open machine time, and were able to rush Laura's metal cutting through. They raised their eyebrows at the notion of a metal dress, but they were up for the challenge. Laura had a vision for the cuff bracelets which at first involved processes beyond our repertoire. Large scale casting or metal smelting was just a tad out of our range. We later decided to go with a water-jet cut brass, and Laura whipped up a drawing and hand delivered it to the cutters just in time.
To compliment the fabric and style of the garments, our "Glam and Neon" line, then in development, was the perfect pairing. We utilized yards and yards of a chain Garnet and I refer to as "disco chain." Our travel for shows all over the country has allowed us to source materials uncommon in the Midwest, and this chain was perfect. It is brass with black plating that allows the brass shine to come through. It is sparkly without being overwhelmingly bling, and looks great in motion, especially on the runway. Bullet casings were also prevalent as they have a beautiful vintage brass hue and glow, and lend that little bit of bad ass to an otherwise delicate look. We were also able to use some of the actual metal left over from making the armor dress. We rose to the challenge of creating beautiful jewelry that complimented, and not overshadowed, the luxurious fabrics overflowing from MOOD bags in Laura's apartment.
The night before I left to go to Kansas City for final preparations for POOL, I delivered our first round of jewelry to Laura's studio. At about 2 a.m. I got the sneak peak of her gowns and garments for New York Fashion Week and I was blown away. Laura has amazing skills and an attention to detail. She used reoccurring style lines at the hips, black lace overlay, ah-maz-ing fabrics with earthy jewel tones and sheen, and some woven pieces by Michael Drummond. The metal dress was being pieced together on the floor, and varying shoes, boots and belts laid in wait. She has the crucial skill to make a decision and stay on track. Of course she had made changes from the initial sketches I had seen a few weeks prior, but she remained steady on the course.
The deadline for Laura to ship her looks to Lifetime was while we were in Las Vegas at POOL, and we spent part of the second day of that show finishing up her jewelry behind our displays. We overnighted our next batch of jewelry to her from Vegas, after a cab ride and hunt for a late-day last pick-up at UPS! The work of our hands was about to flaunt it on the runway during New York Fashion Week!

Her looks were chosen by Tim Gunn to open the Project Runway Show during Mercedez Benz New York Fashion Week, Spring/Summer 2012. You can see all of the looks on, but we'll highlight the Scarlett Garnet below:

The show opener! Parallelograms of brass were water-jet cut in varying sizes to create glamorous armor. Garnet and I toyed around with the initial drawing of the metal so that it would not create a fish-scale look or be confused for actual medieval armor. Some shapes were solid, other were just an outline to reduce the weight and show the black underneath. I love the uneven "hemline" that creates an almost spiral effect. The plates of brass were held together with an insane number of jumprings. Laura added brass to the shoes as well, strips ordered from an industrial materials supplier!

These Draped Orb Earrings earrings were created using extra metal from the dress. A sliver of brass was bent and draped with black disco chain on the inside and outside. They have a great swing and shimmer of movement. Laura had the awesome idea of using some of the bent metal pieces to create almost Edward Scissorhand-esque rings. Subtle, yet vicious.

This Bullet Bling Cascade Necklace uses over 15 feet of chain draped together in a complex web of rings and 22 caliber bullet casings. Still pictures do it no justice, it is so beautiful as it sways from side to side. The cuff bracelet makes its first appearance in this look as well. We had originally attempted to create the cuff using thick brass wire hammered into overlapping spirals, but the cut brass was even stronger.

Laura wired together dozens of slivers of brass to create the shoulder strap of this look. The back is equally impressive. Scarlett Garnet did not create it, but we think it is so killer.

These Crystal Bullet Earrings are similar to the necklace in Laura's Lifetime profile picture. Vintage chandelier spikes are set in 9mm bullet casings. We love combining vintage glam with that element of danger.

The Shredded Disco necklace becomes one with the outfit. Varying lengths of brass and disco chain are draped, with loose pieces hanging to the side. Bullet casings bring all of the chain together in the back, with an adjustable clasp.

In Laura's final look, the metal dress pieces are sprinkled through the bottom of the dress as if the armor had been shredded.

Her show has won rave reviews from industry experts and bloggers alike. Many comment on the "bold yet delicate" jewelry including: found our Nautilus Skeleton Necklace online. thought Laura had the winning collection, if she had the chance. They also loved her jewelry. was obsessed with the collection and jewelry.

After returning from our very successful first go at a tradeshow, I was able to catch up with Laura whenever she was in town. A few lounges in St. Louis hosted "viewing parties" so we could watch Project Runway on a big screen on their outdoor patio! I equate it to local professional sports, but for art and design people.

Watching the first episode of Season 9 at Over/Under in Downtown St. Louis. They projected it onto the wall outside!
In all honesty, watching with Laura, her friends and family, when she won the Episode 3 Challenge was infinitely more fun than watching the St. Louis Cardinals. Sorry, sports folk. The cheer that went up gave me more goose bumps than when Pujols hits a homerun. Or even like 3 in one game during the World Series. Yeah, I said it.
Every week, Garnet and I would tune in from our respective cities, eagerly anticipating Laura's new creations and to see which Scarlett Garnet necklace she would wear next! Although we are not usually big tweeters, we tried to chime in on the hash tag commentary during the show. Because I knew Laura's talent and drive, and I saw how well she was doing on the show, I thought she might win. However, she was eliminated on the 12th episode. I admit, I teared up (watching it the next day on in the privacy of my own studio. The night before I had begged a bar owner to turn just one of his dozen televisions to Lifetime during the last game of the Cardinals winning the National League playoffs). But I knew that Laura was making the most of the huge opportunity -from hosting the opening night of St. Louis Fashion Week's Project Design, sitting front row for every runway show, to living up to her local celebrity status by posing for pictures with fans. Most importantly, with an eye on her goals, she is already working on her next collection for 2012 to be manufactured locally, even while teaching fashion design at Life for Life Academy High School.
Laura and I at Project Design on October 11, the only night of St. Louis Fashion Week that showcases local designers! She hosted the event, wearing her own super hot creation and our jewelry.
Working with Laura has been a pleasure and an inspiration. She knows her market, and where she wants to be in it. She aims high, but will put in all the hard work to make it to her goals. She knew from the start that reality TV may not paint an accurate or complimentary picture of her, but was excited for the challenges and name recognition it would bring to her line. In person, Laura is always professional, polite, and if she was feeling stressed while producing her fashion week line, she never let it change the way she dealt with Scarlett Garnet. When things did not go right in ordering sheet metal or getting it cut, she never dwelled on the negatives but thought quickly of the next step. I had the pleasure of meeting her parents, brother and close friends in the process, and was warmed by seeing their love and support for her, but also her concern for them as well. She never seemed to balk at my availability for jewelry drop off being between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m., because she was up that late, working her fingers off too.
And yes, she is that super cute and sassy in person. :)
I have included a few more pictures of Laura wearing Scarlett Garnet at events and on Lifetime.

The night of Project Runway's New York Fashion Week Show. Laura is going big with the Hinged Chest Plate Necklace

On "After the Runway" show, added on by Lifetime to let designers clear the air. Laura looks so great in the Draped Cairo Necklace.

Right now, Scarlett Garnet is continuously filling wholesale orders for boutiques around the country and Canada. We design 2-3 lines a year, each inspired by a loose theme. Our hand-drawings are translated into digital files, which are then laser cut and water-jet cut, in Missouri, from copper, brass, stainless steel, wood and acrylic. Garnet, myself, and our small production team assemble each piece. We released the "Egypt Noir" line in August at POOL, which has been hugely popular. Close behind has been the "Glam and Neon" line, which includes all of the looks found on the Project Runway and NYC fashion week, as well as our signature shapes cut into neon acrylic. We also have a Men's Line in the works, "Gunslinger," to compliment the "Spaghetti Western Sunset" line we released last year. We are gearing up for the holiday season, booking art shows, trunk shows and home parties, and looking forward to POOL again in February of 2012.

You can purchase Scarlett Garnet at:
One of our many awesome retailers (list here)
Etsy page: ScarlettGarnet

You can follow us at:
Email list: click here
Twitter: @ScarlettGarnet.
We travel all over the country and will be visiting Chicago, Cincinnati, Austin, San Francisco, and Los Angeles in November and December alone, so be sure to follow us as we come to a city near you!

We'd like to thank Laura Kathleen for this wonderful opportunity! It has been magical to see our work on Project Runway, and paired with such talent.
Thank for reading!


Seib said...

Where will you be in San Francisco? I need to tell all my friends to come see you.

Olivia Erlene said...

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