Lizzie Fortunato Jewels is run out of NYC by twin sisters, Lizzie and Kathryn. They are one out of a carefully selected group of local brands presenting their work at an end-of-summer sample sale curated by Of a Kind. We asked Kathryn about the Pirate’s Delight pouch necklace above, and about their process of working together as twins.
The Pirate’s Delight necklace was a really exciting piece for us because it completely merged the hand-embroidery that we’d been developing in India with jewelry silhouettes that we’ve worked in before. We’ve been traveling to India to design and work with a fair trade production center that produces the most beautiful hand-beading and embroidery on looms. After developing the hand-embroidered fabric, we scratched our heads and thought, “This is too beautiful to use as a simple small accent on a larger necklace… Let’s repurpose it to be the focus of the piece.” Thus evolved the pouch necklace that features that fabric, and from there came the two Pirate’s Delight purses that we also produced for Spring/Summer ‘11. This notion that beading and hand-embroidery does not need to be limited to small accents in jewelry really inspired the growth in soft accessories for our Fall/Winter ‘11 and upcoming Spring/Summer ‘12 seasons. We are now doing purses, iPad cases, card cases and clutches that mix the textiles and handiwork of different regions and cultures — this is a defining principle of the Lizzie Fortunato Jewels brand.
As mentioned above, the fabric was made on looms — with up to half a dozen people working on hand-sewing and beading the beautifully intricate fabric. We then cut it out into the pouches seen in the necklace and back it with peach lambskin — chosen to match the fabric. We then have our head seamstress here in NYC (ex-seamstress for the Joffrey Ballet) assemble the pouch, add the chain and finish it off with chain and gold-plated bullet fringe along the bottom. Of course this takes a while as well, as we cast raw brass materials and then plate them in gold to adorn many of our pieces.
Lizzie and I are very lucky when it comes to being twin sisters and working together. She is the creative, artistic and design-minded of the two of us and I have a head for numbers. As such, we have this great “built-in” symbiosis when it comes to running the brand.
Photo by Glynis Selina Arban