Every once in a while I see a designer working in fashion jewelry with a particularly deft hand. Someone who has their finger on the pulse of what is going on trend-wise–true to fashion–but who also has a sense of refinement and elegance more reminiscent of fine jewelry. I have discovered Mary Louise Designs, and want to share her aesthetic with you. I recently featured her delightful (and appealingly priced) pearl earrings in my Mother’s Day Gift Guide.
The aesthetic in Mary Louise’s collections is clearly impacted by her life journey. The finely-crafted nature of the jewelry is likely influenced by her childhood memories of family jewelry gifts from the gold market in Lebanon. Years spent in Malibu has resulted in an easy, wearable style. And a life long interest in yoga–and the study of the Dalai Lama–provides inspiration for the symbolic and spiritual influences in her jewelry collections.
This is jewelry that is scaled to wear in layers, but you can easily still make a statement with just a piece or two. Faceted gemstone beads, elegant and meaningful pave charms, and faceted gems and unusual materials such as horn are all hallmarks of her designs.
Mary Louise makes jewelry that is eminently giftable, and seems particularly suited to purchasing for yourself. With the season of weddings approaching, I could see this as a very attractive gift for bridesmaids, or something feminine and lovely for the bride herself. Summer’s fabrics and styles seem suited for layering her jewelry for texture and contrast, without overwhelming.
Interview with Mary Louise
idazzle.com: This is not chunky, blocky fashion jewelry. Do you think that your childhood memories of family jewelry from Lebanon has an impact on the exquisite nature of your designs?
Mary Louise of Mary Louise Designs: Absolutely it did! The 22K yellow gold color was conditioned in my mind at an early age. The gifts of yellow gold bangles and stone necklaces have been a staple in my wardrobe for years!
How has your jewelry changed from when you first launched (in 1994) to now? How do you balance paying attention to trends with staying true to your own aesthetic?
Good question! When I first started designing, I did a lot of small, sweet angel coin necklaces. Now, I stay in tune to color, trends, and mostly my interpretation of the inspiration. Many times, I do my own trend setting. For example my M & M, Chicklet, and Bali Bead bracelets that are in 22K yellow gold dipped, 22K white gold dipped, and rose gold. I was one of the first to start this trend! Neiman Marcus could not keep them in stock! What Mary Louise Designs does well is give the customer a wide variety of choices to choose from that you can layer together. You can always add to your collection.
How does it feel to have First Lady Michelle Obama wearing your designs recently? (Maybe this will result in a “Jason Wu” effect–your collections will sell out immediately on release!)
It feels really amazing to have The First Lady wearing Mary Louise Designs. So honored, proud and grateful to see such an empowering, gorgeous, fit woman, who just happens to be Mrs. Obama in MLD. A little lucky too, but mostly thrilled!
What accomplishment in design are you most proud of so far?
My bracelets I described above mostly, and all my different spiritual coins. It started with the angel coin and now we do pave CZ disk coins, Buddha, evil eve, cross, horn…..and many more!
Lots of accomplishments to celebrate! What’s next for Mary Louise Designs?
I have just designed some incredible oxidized diamond multi-pendant necklaces, and I am in the process of doing the same kind of bracelets and necklaces with my coins. I continue to add to my semi-precious stone line every season. We have a very colorful multi CZ line, which is mixed with semi precious stones and continues to grow!