Suz Somersall's KiraKira Jewelry shimmers and shines with the elegance of a life lived to its fullest. Meet the designer in our exclusive interview!
-Lucia Peters, BettyConfidential.com
A New Yorker by way of New Orleans with a few stops in Italy and Japan along the way,KiraKira Jewelry designer Suz Somersall finds inspiration everywhere she goes-and looking at her beautiful jewelry, you can definitely tell. We fell in love with these gorgeous pieces the second we saw them! Of course we couldn't WAIT to share them with you in one of our fabu BettyConfidential Shop flash sales, going on right now!
Suz sat down to chat with us about her New Orleans roots, where she finds her inspiration, and more. Read on for all the deets!
BettyConfidential: How did you become a designer?
Suz Somersall: My junior year at Brown University, I studied abroad in Florence, Italy and wanted to take fashion design classes. Unfortunately they were all full, so I took an interior design class and talked my way into an intermediate metal smithing class and a stone setting class instead-even though I had no experience! I was a little lost at first, but I quickly fell in love with those arts and knew it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I then studied at the Rhode Island School of Design, where I got to take more classes like CAD (that is, computer aided design), enameling, construction and more. I always knew I wanted to create my own line, so since then, it's been a goal I've actively worked towards.
BC: Can you tell us a little about the history of KiraKira?
SS: I started my luxury line, "Suz Somersall," right out of art school, and then decided to make a more affordable fashion jewelry and accessories line while I was living in Japan. I founded KiraKira while I was over there-it means "shimmering" or "bling bling" in Japanese. Many of my recent collections are influenced by my time in Japan.
BC: You're based in New York, but you're originally from New Orleans. How did you find your way to New York?
SS: My husband's job took us to New York, but it's where I wanted to be anyway after living in Japan, so it's worked out really well. It's great to be here in the city with so many resources at my fingertips! I would love to keep living abroad, though.
BC: So do we! Do your New Orleans roots ever emerge in your work?
SS: I think so! I love color and shimmer, and I've had a lot of fun incorporating these elements in my new enamel pieces. I also think New Orleans is a melting pot of cultural influences-Spanish, French, and Italian, mainly-and my work combines elements from a lot of different cultures as well. I use a lot of Morroccan, Japanese, and Italian influences.
BC: What was it about design that drew you to it?
SS: I've always loved creating! Even as a little girl, I would always be drawing and making things, including jewelry!
BC: Where do you find your inspiration?
SS: The environments around me, as well as history. I love looking at books about antique decorative arts, jewelry, fashion, and ancient architecture and patterns.
BC: Can you tell us a little about what your design process is like?
SS: Often I start with sketches; from there, I decide the best method to go about creating the first model of each piece.
BC: What do your designs mean to you?
SS: They are all memories of different places I have been, periods in my life, and objects or designs that have impacted me.
BC: That sounds wonderfully personal. Do you have a favorite item or design?
SS: Always what I am currently working on! I love the design process; I'm always making something new.
BC: Have you ever created something and ended up not liking it?
SS: Yes! It's hard sometimes when I have an idea for something and it doesn't come out as wearable as I had imagined it to be. It's definitely a process of trial and error. I've learned a lot over the past five years about fabrication and the design process, so I take everything that happens as a learning experience!
BC: Final question: If you could have any celebrity, living or dead wear your stuff, who would it be?
SS: Gwyneth Paltrow! Love her!
Snap up some of Suz's beautiful designs during our exclusive flash sale at BettyConfidential Shop!
Lucia Peters is BettyConfidential's associate editor.Read More at BettyConfidential.com
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