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All photos Laurel Marcus
On a recent jaunt down Madison Avenue something made me veer slightly off course onto 69th Street. Similar to the way a pig sniffs out white truffles, my nose always steers me to shiny oversized silver jewelry -- I found the mother lode and more at Perez Sanz. This jewel box of a store is the brands' US showcase for artisanal jewelry made of Alpaca (another name for German Silver), semi-precious gemstones, woven leather belts, handbags and shawls, as well as decorative accessories.
|Perez Sanz Cleito Necklace as seen on Lady Gaga ($3,500) |
also available in gold
Everything is handmade in Argentina rather than mass produced, ensuring that you will find one-of-a-kind pieces. Although many of the cuffs and necklaces look like they'd be overwhelmingly heavy they are actually quite manageable due to the relative light weight of the copper, nickel and zinc alloy.
|Luciano Perez Sanz|
The line was created by Julio Perez Sanz over 40 years ago in Buenos Aires and is now co-managed by him and his son Luciano. Originally, the elder Perez Sanz had studied art and architecture with the intent to design and produce sculptures. Upon realizing that it was harder to get a commission for large sculptural pieces, he set about making smaller accessories with an interior design application.
|Cleito Necklace as seen on Lady Gaga ($3,500)|
also available in gold
From geometric shaped jewelry, belt buckles and minaudieres to more whimsical nature inspired items including decorative animal sculptures, animal head drawer pulls and enormous jeweled drapery tie backs (which have been used for the hospitality industry), it's a fun place to browse and shop for the unique.
|Lady Gaga white leather necklace|
Luciano who also studied Art and Architecture, now runs the New York store which opened about six years ago. He explained the "intimate" nature of working with each prototype while watching each piece evolve and change. Argentina is of course known for its craftsmanship particularly with leather and Luciano told me that many of the woven pieces are made by women at home who are working to help support their families.
|A shawl with silver tassels|
"We don't put our label on the outside" he said referring to many status bags that do so. "The quality of the bag speaks for itself." Prices start at around $600 for a smaller woven bag with silver balls, to over a thousand for some of the larger more intricate designs.
|A tray of necklaces including the leather necklace borrowed|
by Lady Gaga in white
On the day I dropped in there was a counter full of jewelry items "for a Vogue shoot;" an awesome woven leather and silver collar in brown was present but one in white leather was absent. Luciano informed me that Lady Gaga " has it" so I thought he meant that she owned it.
|Dramatic mother-of-pearl necklace and wide silver belt|
Only later did I realize that stylist/designer Brandon Maxwell (fresh off his FGI Rising Stars Women's RTW win last week) had borrowed it, along with a ginormous silver choker (which I'm dying to see/try on IRL), for a photo shoot in LA. I am happy to confirm that she did indeed wear something from the line upon viewing the Intel/Grammy's ad featuring "Mother Monster" via the Perez Sanz's Twitter when I got home.
|Mario Testino Vogue shoot of Perez Sanz earrings|
Speaking of Gaga, get ready to see her everywhere! Not only will she be bringing us a Nile Rodgers produced David Bowie tribute at the Grammy's (who better to do that since she used to wear something akin to his trademark Aladdin Sane lightning bolt in her early days), she will also be singing the national anthem at this weekend's Super Bowl, as well as her Oscar nominated song "Til It Happens To You" at the Academy Awards.
Who knows? Maybe she'll even perform in a Perez Sanz piece or two. To view more of the line go to perezsanz.com and click on the words "United States" at the top of the page or visit the store at 20 East 69th Street.
- Laurel Marcus