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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

When Jennifer Heebner of JCK Magazine interviewed me last month about my growing FitzRoy-the-Cat jewelry collection, I told her I had just finished ear climbers. Here they are … May’s Jewel of the Month!


Click to shop.

These kittehs are handmade in 18K yellow gold here in New York City, and modeled after my own Exotic Shorthair, FitzRoy the Cat. Fitz has 10,600 followers on Instagram and if you want to join in the fun, you can find him here. (His brother Purrkoy the Kitten has almost 4,500 followers.)

To wear ear climbers, you put the wire through your lobe piercing and then swivel the piece so the entire cat sits on your lobe.  Our gorgeous friend Alyssa of the Jewelry Altar modeled them for us.


Click to see on my website.

I need to do a video to show ear-climber newbies how it’s done, but, until then, you can search YouTube for some how-to advice. I will say that if you have very small or unusually sensitive earlobes, climbers might not be for you. They need something to grab onto and you have to be able to tolerate the little twisting motion. That said, it’s a great style for the right people.

Here’s a closer look at the climbers.


My photographer was getting artsy with the poses!

And here’s another shot of Alyssa. She said the climbers felt very comfortable.


Thanks for posing!

While I was putting these on my website, I also put up the FitzRoy the Cat earring jackets with ruby studs. Ruby is July’s birthstone, so put these on your wishlist if your birthday is coming up.


The rubies total two carats.

The ruby studs are also available separately, without the earring jackets. Contact me at info at wendybrandes dot com to inquire about pricing.

Monday, May 11, 2015

I was cleaning out my nightstand and discovered this greeting card I bought at the Saatchi Gallery in London last summer.


I remember being in being thoroughly entertained by the greeting-card selection that day, but I wasn’t as amused when I rediscovered this today. In fact, I thought, “What asshat gave me this?!”

I bought this slightly more upbeat card at the same time.


Hmmm. Is it more upbeat? I think it is. Maybe not.

Both cards are by Glasgow-based artist David Shrigley. You can buy more Shrigley greeting cards at Polite cards, throw them in a drawer and scare yourself with them a year later. Or you can buy me these bone-china salt and pepper shakers, also at Polite.


Click to purchase.

My favorite part of this shaker set is the note on the product page: “Please note: We at Polite do not endorse the consumption of salt, pepper or otherwise stated contents.” No pepper pushers at Polite!


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!


Me and BarbaraB. I was about 2 1/2 here.

Believe it or not, Mother’s Day wasn’t created by Hallmark. It wasn’t even created by a mother. A child-free woman named Anna Jarvis organized the first Mother’s Day services with her own mother in mind in 1908.  Activist Julia Ward Howe had proposed a similar idea 36 years earlier, but it was Jarvis whose lobbying efforts got President Woodrow Wilson to issue — on May 9, 1914 — a presidential proclamation that established Mother’s Day as the second Sunday of May.

The holiday quickly became commercialized, to Jarvis’s dismay. In the 1920s, she wrote, “To have Mother’s Day the burdensome, wasteful, expensive gift day that Christmas and other special days have become, is not our pleasure.”

She actually went broke fighting the holiday she fought to establish.  She also fought the notion of a more-inclusive Parents’ Day. As Smithsonian Magazine notes, Jarvis felt there were plenty of U.S. holidays honoring men as fathers of their country. “When a son or daughter cannot endure the name ‘mother’ for a single day of the year it would seem there is something wrong,” Jarvis argued. “One day out of all the ages, and one day out of all the year to bear the name ‘mother’ is surely not too much for her.”

Personally, I enjoy getting cards, flowers and jewelry, so if anyone wants to give me those for being mommy to four adult stepchildren and three animals, I’m not going to turn you away out of principle. Just sayin’.

Today also marks the 50th birthday of the mother of all runway supermodels: My all-time favorite, Linda Evangelista. I was thrilled to see her posing fiercely on at the Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum on Monday.

How much do I love Linda? Enough to have her January 1995 Harper’s Bazaar cover framed and hanging on my bedroom wall.


When I saw this cover, I knew I’d keep it forever.

On that cover, Linda is wearing the same feathered John Galliano gown that she modeled in the designer’s legendary Spring 1995 runway show. That show, happily, is on YouTube now. Here is Part I and Part II. Linda walks out at 5:17 in Part II to a round of applause.


I’m sad and kind of surprised that I didn’t keep and frame this iconic Linda cover from September 1992 — this was editor in chief Liz Tilberis’s first cover for Bazaar.  God, I loved that magazine during the Tilberis years!

Like the 1995 cover above, it was shot by Patrick Demarchelier. Tilberis really had exquisite taste. She died of ovarian cancer at age 51 in 1999. The New York Times reported that she had worked on the June issue until days before her death.

I saved this September 1994 Bazaar cover — another Demarchelier photo– featuring Nadja Auermann for many years. I wonder if I still have it somewhere.


Can we bring back magazine covers like this? Pretty please?

And now for the week in review. Here’s what was on the blog, in case you missed anything:

Is everyone ready for the second-to-last episode of Mad Men? I’m so nervous!

Friday, May 8, 2015

My concert-going friend Jessie and I have been busy lately, with the highlight being Wednesday’s Paramore show at the Beacon Theatre. Thanks to StubHub, I got second-row center seats … and thanks to Eminem and Rihanna, I had Jessie to go with. I met Jessie when I was waiting in line for Em and Rih’s joint Monster Tour show at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, and we’ve been going to shows together ever since. This time, I finally took a selfie with her to prove she really exists.

2015-05-06 20.46.12

See? She’s real!

Paramore’s self-titled fourth album went gold recently — two years after it came out — and the band members received their plaques earlier that day, so it felt like an extra-special concert. Here’s lead singer Hayley Williams getting choked up while talking about ending the tour for the self-titled album and preparing to working on the next album.

Another emotional moment was when the group chose an audience member to get on stage and sing “Misery Business” with them. That’s a thing that they do regularly, so a diehard fan named Kelly Longaker came prepared. The second row was full of people waving signs saying, “Pick Kelly!” She kicked ass!

I got some great photos, even though it was a challenge to keep up with Hayley as she zoomed around the stage. That gal has a lot of energy!


When this is full-size, her tattoo is perfectly legible!


More of my best shots are in a Flickr album here. Paramore fans, feel free to repost these as much as you like but please do not photoshop my watermark off especially if you’re going to put yours there instead! Jebus!

I got zero photos when Jessie and I went to see Bjork twice — once in March at Carnegie Hall, and once in April at New York City Center.


Bjork had a no-photo-taking policy. Seth MacFarlane annoyed me with that at the Highline Ballroom in 2012, but with Bjork’s venues, it made more sense. I’ve gone to a lot of performances at Carnegie Hall and New York City Center during which it’s a given that photography is banned (though I have absolutely no regrets about sneaking video of Neil Young performing “Ohio” at Carnegie Hall last year). Still, I wish I could have photographed Bjork, especially because I was fascinated by the big round headpiece that made her look like dandelion fluff. A lot of people these days clutch their pearls and complain about concertgoers not being in the moment at shows due to photography, which apparently was Bjork’s concern. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I feel perfectly fine about the amount of time I take photos and videos compared with the amount of time (plenty!) that I give the camera a rest. I don’t feel less connected to the performance and, in fact, the photos later help me re-experience the emotional impact of the show. Memory alone doesn’t do it justice, but when you have a visual prompt for what happened during a specific song, you’re right back there again.

In between Bjork shows (and after Ariana Grande), Jessie and I went to see Marina and the Diamonds at Rough Trade in Brooklyn. It was a blink-and-you-missed-it three-song performance ahead of a meet-and-greet with fans.


It was interesting to be surrounded for a couple of hours by a horde of teenage girls, many of whom gave stuffed unicorns and other toys to Marina before bursting into tears of excitement. They all had their cute teen fashions on too … now I’m kicking myself for not taking photos of the fans!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Thanks to these peeps who have shouted me out recently!

Love & Pieces made me No. 4 on its list of “12 Jewelry Bloggers You Want to Follow,” saying, “Wendy is a firm believer that you should be creative, break the traditional fashion rules, and wear what you want!”

Katerina Perez included my award-winning Pink Elephant and Tipsy Writer Maneater ring in a gallery of elephant-inspired fine jewelry. I’m in great company, including Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels. Plus she placed all of the designs against a beautiful background.


Click to see on KaterinaPerez.com.

Finally, the high-fucking-larious Barbara Palumbo, who blogs at Adornmentality, did a Mother’s Day gift list called “Jewelry Fo Yo Momma.” She says my STFU necklace is the perfect present for the Judgy McJudgerson Mom, aka the mother who “spends too many hours posting scathing, anti-baby-formula rants on Similac forums.”


Click this, beyotch!

Shoot, now I feel pressure to come up with a crazy new design to ensure that I’m on Barbara’s Mother’s Day list next year!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

First, let me ask …



… got into people at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala last night?

In 2013, when the gala celebrated the opening of the “Punk: Chaos to Couture” exhibit, I was let down by the dearth of crazy, punk-inspired fashion. There were a lot of standard-issue, red-carpet ballgowns that night. At last year’s gala, we saw more gowns, though those made sense for an exhibit devoted to designer Charles James. After that, I didn’t expect this year’s attendees to go wild with huge headdresses, near nudity, mile-long trains, and body art. Basically, everything you might have expected to see at the punk gala finally appeared, except it was at the opening of the “China: Through the Looking Glass” exhibit.  Why push the fashion envelope now? I’m going with the theory that folks belatedly realized that a themed event is a rare chance to go over the top. They’ve had a couple of years to ponder what they should have worn to the punk event and now they’re ready to make a statement. It’s the party edition of “Never Is the Next New Thing™.” It takes a while, but people eventually get from “I’d never do that!” to “BRING IT!”

This made it challenging to choose the recipient of my coveted Best Dressed/Wear What You Want award. I’ve written before that my combo award goes to someone who is dressed beautifully and interestingly, but I take that back. Beauty isn’t mandatory.  It’s more important to be eye-catching. If I can’t stop looking, that’s my winner. I keep thinking of the iconic, museum-worthy spring 1997 collection that designer Rei Kawakubo did for Comme des Garçons.


From the collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute. Click for source.

The “Body Meets Dress, Dress Meets Body” collection was nicknamed “lumps and bumps” and “Quasimodo” by the press because of the padded inserts that created a deformed-looking, alien silhouette.


A two-piece bumpy dress now owned by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Click for source.

Elle UK has said, “Rei Kawakubo is unfathomable. And that is part of the point. We are not meant to understand. We are meant to feel.” Yep! When I’m choosing my best dressed, I want — as the kids say today — to “feel some type of way.”

I had lots of feelings watching last night’s red carpet. I felt that Sarah Jessica Parker’s headpiece by Philip Treacy was fabulous.

But her big headdress wasn’t unique like it was in 2013 when she wore a Mohawk-inspired one. This time around, Tabitha Simmons wore a gold headpiece that was nearly as towering as Parker’s, while Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Zendaya, Karen Elson, Selena Gomez, Courtney Eaton, and Brie Larson all had some kind of striking head decoration.

Model Cara Delevingne was clever to accessorize her jumpsuit with temporary body art, making a big statement without having to balance a great weight like the headpiece wearers. Pants are comfortable too. If I had an award for “Edgy but Practical” she would win it.

I was briefly tempted to give model Constance Jablonski the nod for the “Wear What You Want” part of my award, just because she was bold enough to show up dressed for a yoga class. I mean, are those pool slides on her feet?

She was daring but not fascinating to look at.

I loved Anne Hathaway’s gold hooded dress by Ralph Lauren because I’ve always had a thing for hooded ensembles.

Plus, I wore a gold hood of my own in 2013!

Click for original post.

Click for original post.

But I didn’t want to show personal gold-hood bias.

Kim Kardashian went for the naked look …

… as did late arrival Beyonce.

I enjoyed the sexiness, but they had too tough of an act to follow: Rihanna’s nipple-baring naked dress from the Council of Fashion Designers of America awards last summer. Rihanna owns red-carpet nudity. Also, Beyonce reminded me of early ’90s Madonna with both the sheer outfit and the high ponytail.

Speaking of Rihanna, I appreciated that she wore a Chinese designer, Guo Pei. The train on her fur-trimmed cape required multiple handlers. “I can’t really walk in it without any help. But it’s so worth it,” she told Vanity Fair. Now that’s a woman who loves fashion!

But could another woman wear that piece if she had enough staff to carry her around all night? Yes. That cape would look beautiful on anyone. So I kept going back to the one woman who was wearing something that almost no one else would dare to wear. It’s not quite “lumps and bumps” level fashion insanity, but my Best Dressed/Wear What You Want award must go to singer Solange in her circular Giles minidress.

The only other gala attendee who I could imagine in this dress would be Lady Gaga — that is, Lady Gaga circa 2010-2011, the era of her meat dress and Grammy egg. The Giles does make me think of Rei Kawakubo in a way because it veers from a traditional silhouette. It’s not “beautiful” or “sexy” and that’s a good choice if you want to avoid getting in a one-sided competition with your ultra-sex-ay sister Beyonce. In addition, while many of the other style statements paid tribute to the China part of the exhibit, the surreal Giles dress is definitely “Through the Looking Glass.” That’s a very intriguing take on the theme.

Bravo, Solange. Now just remember to behave yourself in the elevator!

And honorary mention goes to author/magazine contributor Amy Fine Collins.

I need some information on what she’s got on here. All I know right now is that it’s the contrarian look I’d want to wear if everyone else was naked. Always follow the fashion road less traveled!

Monday, May 4, 2015

I’m happy to see Chinese actress Gong Li looking stunning as always at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute gala tonight.

She is one of the co-chairs of the event, which marks the opening of the spring fashion exhibit, called “China: Through the Looking Glass.” I love that she combined what appear to be sapphire and emerald earrings with her “Marsala” gown by Roberto Cavalli.

People tend to be shy about combining colors, but jewel tones often look good with other jewel tones. (When I wore a Marsala-hued Zang Toi gown this January, I accessorized with my turquoise skull ring.) From what I can see in tonight’s photos, Gong Li is just wearing one ring tonight … diamonds, perhaps? From a jewelry designer’s perspective, I’m sad she didn’t keep going with the richly colored gems. I think my Empress Wu dragon ring with the lapis lazuli globe in its mouth could have worked well with those earrings.

Coincidentally, last week I spent hours online watching clips from Gong Li’s movies, totally unrelated to the Met Gala. I had been sorting through a big folder of mementos when I found my December 2005 invitation to the New York premiere of Memoirs of a Geisha.


In Geisha, Gong played the bitchy senior geisha, Hatsumomo. She gives great bitch!


Gong Li (right) and Ziyi Zhang in Memoirs of a Geisha, via IMDB.

She really is one of my all-time favorite actresses and I would watch her in practically anything. There’s a saying that a great actor can read a phone book and still hold the audience’s attention; I would watch Gong Li read a phone book in Mandarin.

If you want to have yourself a Gong film festival, I recommend Red Sorghum (1987), Raise the Red Lantern (1991), The Story of Qiu Ju (1992), Farewell My Concubine (1993), and Temptress Moon (1996). Most of these movies are pretty traumatic. Keep tissues, alcohol and comfort food at hand.

By the way, that clip above of Morgan Freeman reading the phone book is from a promotion for 2014’s The LEGO Movie. That had to be something to entertain the parents, right? Does anyone under the age of 10 know what a phone book is? Are phone books still being made? I haven’t seen one in years.

Anyway, I need to get back to the Met Gala red carpet to scout for my Best Dressed/Wear What You Want combo award winner. While Gong Li looks exquisite, my award is about recognizing extreme looks. I see Sarah Jessica Parker in a big headdress. She’s going to be the one to beat!

Monday, May 4, 2015

So sweet! The name of Britain’s new royal princess has been revealed: Charlotte Elizabeth Diana. I’m all choked up about it. I vividly remember getting up early to watch young Diana Spencer get married to Prince Charles in 1981 and now I’ve seen Princess Di’s first granddaughter arrive.

Speaking of arrivals, did you see little Prince George arriving with his father, William, to visit Kate and the new baby at the hospital? Cutest thing ever. Look at the wave!

Most of the jewelry designs in my signature line have been inspired by female royalty, from China’s 7th-century Empress Wu through Britain’s 19th-century Queen Victoria. I’ve only done one tribute to a modern-era royal and that was, of course, for Diana, the late Princess of Wales. I find a lot of ancient royal ladies intriguing due to their wicked ways, but for Diana it was the opposite. What impressed me most about her was the moment in 1987 — at a time when many people still believed that AIDS was spread by casual contact — when an ungloved Diana shook hands with patients at the opening of the U.K.’s first AIDS ward.

That act dramatically changed the public’s understanding of the disease and, because of it, I created my Diana heart design.


The silver Diana heart ring on my customer Susanna.

Mother’s Day in the U.S. is this Sunday (in the U.K., it’s in March — sorry Kate!), and I already had my last Diana ring in 18K yellow gold marked half off for the holiday.

$2,750 through this Sunday. Click to shop.

$2,750 through this Sunday. Click to shop.

I never put any of my silver stud earrings on sale, but I’m so excited about the royal baby that I’m making an exception and offering a 10% discount on the heart studs that were based on my original Diana design. For this week only, you can get a single heart stud for $31.50 …


Click to shop.

… or the “Heart You” mixed stud pair for $63.


Click to shop.

Order priority-mail delivery by this Thursday and I guarantee domestic delivery in time for the holiday this weekend. Every mom should be the queen of someone’s heart! Celebrate royally!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

In case you missed it, here’s what was on the blog this week.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

My gorgeous friend Stacy Lomman designs her own clothing line and teaches up-and-coming designers at the Fashion Institute of Technology. FIT’s year-end student fashion show was held tonight, and Stacy brought me along. Nicole Richie was there too.


I like Nicole’s pink hair. From my Instagram.

I wore a long, faux-ostrich vest from Stacy’s Fall 2012 collection, but I didn’t get an outfit picture, so here are some old photos of it for Throwback Thursday. I first wore the vest to Fashion Group International’s Rising Star Awards in January 2013.


Click for original post and outfit details.

I had the vest on loan that day, but I loved it so much I bought it. I wound up wearing it to another FGI event in October 2013.


Showing off the striped lining. Click for original post.

I think I’ll wear it again tomorrow just so I can take a new photo! Until then, click here for more faux-ostrich Throwback fun.

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