Nanette Lepore Talks Fashion and Jewels

By Alexandra Owens

NEW YORK – With an appreciation for all things beautiful, unique and embellished, Nanette Lepore understands the details that can make a piece truly special – whether it's one of her vibrant, feminine dresses or a vintage necklace. The designer is also devoted to fine craftsmanship, manufacturing all of her clothing within five blocks of her New York City studio. Ahead of Sotheby's 22 September Important Jewels auction, we spoke with Lepore about the importance of quality, how she likes to wear jewellery and the pieces she loves in the sale.


You’re known as a fashion designer who really values craftsmanship. Could you talk a bit about why quality is important to you?
I came from a family of craftsmen and artists. My grandfathers were carpenters and stone masons, and my dad is an Abstract Expressionist painter. I grew up surrounded by handmade, beautifully crafted objects and art.

Art has played a big role in your life. How has that influenced your aesthetic?
Yes, the arts have played a big role and I find that attention to detail and the love of creation drives me and my aesthetic when I am designing my collections. For my upcoming fashion week presentation, I was inspired by the painter Lori Field. Her work is dreamy and fantasy filled. I met Lori through the Lepore Savage Gallery, which my husband and I launched last fall out of our West Village townhouse.

Is there a period or style of fashion that you’re especially inspired by right now?
Right now I'm inspired by pretty elements from every era, especially the elements of lingerie and lacy Victorian details.


Are there any jewellery trends that you’ve noticed are becoming popular or in-demand these days? Any you’re excited to try?
I'm just happy that wearing lots of jewellery feels right again. I've been pulling out my big fun earrings, layering up bracelets from Victorian to Navajo silver and as many rings that I can get on my fingers!

Why do you think women seek out vintage or estate pieces?
It's the fun of the experience and the uniqueness of a one-of-a-kind estate piece. Also, it's fabulous to discover the history of your pieces.

What’s the best styling advice, regarding jewellery, that you ever received?
To quote Coco Chanel, "Before leaving the house, a lady should look in the mirror and remove one accessory" – but only after layering on everything that you have!

Click below to see which pieces from Sotheby's Important Jewels auction stood out to Lepore.

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