For those of you who tune into Project Acessories every Thurday on Lifetime like myself are in for a treat. I was granted the opportunity to have Christina Carusso do a Q&A for Style Incorporated readers. Christina has accomplished alot for herself in the fashion industry. Many of Christina’s jewelery and bags were selected by Patricia Field, for Sarah Jessica Parker to wear in “Sex and the City.”
Her line has been sold at Bendels, Fred Segal in Santa Monica, California, Patricia Field boutique, Hotel Venus and Takashimaya. Her designs have also been featured in magazines such as W, Vogue, Allure, Seventeen and Lucky. Celebrities Sarah Jessica Parker, Britney Spears, Kim Cattrall, Claire Danes and Rosario Dawson have all worn Christina’s pieces.
Who is Christina Caruso?
Christina Caruso: I am a accessory designer/ Design Director and native NYer
Tell us more about yourself. Where are you from? What is your educational background? Who
are you currently working with?
Christina Caruso: Born and raised in Staten Island, NY. Moved to NYC to go to
Parsons the New School for Design. Majored in Fashion Design. Earned a BFA and Graduated in
2000. Started my own accessory line in 2000. Looks featured on SJP in Sex and the city, sold to
Henri Bendel, Fred Segal (LA) and featured in countless fashion magazines including
INSTYLE, Vogue, Allure, Numero and Lucky.
What is the very first thing you designed professionally/personally?
Christina Caruso: I have been designing all my life. In the early 80s, my sister (Grace) and I made bracelets and necklaces at the beach and sold them at our lemon aide stand.
I read in your bio that in the beginning stages in your career some of your creations were “ripped
off” by other companies and design firms. How did this experience shape how you currently do
Christina Caruso: So they say, “its the highest form of flattery”… In this industry it’s the name of the
game. It taught me that if you can beat them, join them. I got a job as an accessory designer at a
NYC where I was able to give them the creativity and learn about the business.
What are some of your accomplishments as a designer?
- My senior year in high school I interned at Isaac Mizrahi. It was my first taste of the fashion
- Attending Parsons – 1996-2000
- In 2000, I had my accessory line featured on SJP in Sex and the City. Pat Field, the costume
designer, noticed my designs. The next thing I knew I was at Pat’s studio helping her select looks
for SJP and other cast members of the hit show. This was the beginning of my career.
- In 2008 got the chance to work with Isaac Mizrahi again, this time as his Design Director of
jewelry and accessories. I worked on the LCNY line for Liz Claiborne, The Isaac Mizrahi
Collection line and his line for QVC , IM live.
How would you define your personal style?
Christina Caruso: I like to look classic and chic… but I put my spin on it and a little sex appeal too 🙂 I Love vintage… right now I am feeling 70’s Halston. I divide my time between NYC and the beach, so sometimes I feel like an URBAN boho.
Who or what inspires you?
Christina Caruso: NYC inspires me. The energy, The people in the street. You can get
inspiration from anywhere… Its the passion that drives you to create something from it.
What is the name of your jewelry line?
Christina Caruso: Christina Caruso- I launched it in 2000. I focused on it for a good 5 years then went to work in the industry to get a different kind of professional experience. I am currently working as a Design Director and focusing on that right now.
Describe the woman that wears jewelry designed by Christina Caruso?
Christina Caruso: She is confident, boldand chic. She is not afraid to make a statement with out over doing it.
Tell us about your design process.
1. Find inspiration / GET INSPIRED…. I try and find something that talks to me weather it’s a piece of vintage jewelry, a photograph or experiencing a great art exhibit.
2. create a mood board- I display my inspiration on a board. I describe who my woman is visually using magazine tears, Images from books, colors, materials etc.
3. select materials
4. sketch by hand
6. refine sketches,
7. create a mock up or sample
What are your favorite colors and materials to work with and why?
Christina Caruso: I can work in anything. I love vintage findings and brass. When I design for a company- the sky is the limit. Clean metals, Swarovski crystals, resin… you name it. They have the factories and the capabilities to produce my creative designs and do it in a timely manor so I can focus on the next thing. I tend to love more natural colors.
How long does it usually take you to construct a piece of jewelry? Are your pieces done by hand? Do you work alone?
Christina Caruso: It really depends on the piece and what I am designing. If I am creating one of my signature pieces I can do that in the luxury of my own home. If I am designing for a company / or major designer. They usually have vendors or factories that can produce the product. I work with a fantastic local vendor in NYC that can make make all my design dreams come true.
What would you say is your trademark?
Christina Caruso: My nod to the past, but modern and chic aesthetic.
What is your best seller now?
Christina Caruso: People still inquire about the hand kit bags featured on SJP in SATC.
What are the top jewelry trends for the fall/winter?
Christina Caruso: Clean Metals- Big jewelry. Statement pieces. Bangles!!!
What do you believe makes a quality piece of jewelry?
Christina Caruso: Good execution, something that is well made using top of the line materials i.e.: Swarovski crystals.
What advice do you have for aspiring jewelry designers?
Christina Caruso: Get inspired. Draw. Keep a book of sketches. Have fun! If you are serious about getting into the industry I suggest an internship to get hands on experience.
You are currently a contestant on the Lifetime series Project Accessories. How does it feel to be a contestant on the first season? Has this experience created more opportunities for you?
Christina Caruso: It was a fantastic experience. I am very honored to be a part of the first season. I have to say the experience is a designer’s dream… to be in a room with 11 other designers, feed off their creative energy, and make magic! It felt like going back to school but there are cameras and crazier deadlines. Right now I am just enjoying watching the show like everybody else. I’m excited to see what the future brings.
Tell us about future plans for Christina Caruso.
Christina Caruso: I plan to continue my creative journey as an accessory designer/ director and to work with some amazing designers/ brands.
Where can readers find out more about you and your work?
Christina Caruso: www.christinacaruso.com
Christina Caruso’s favorite…
Movies: Grey Gardens (The original) . Zoolander (I was in it), Clueless (Its a silly favorite), Mommy Dearest, Unzipped
Animals: Muffie my Italian Greyhound
Magazines: Bazaar, V, LuLu (for their lovely whimsical spreads), InStyle
Places to shop: Michael Kors (I get a discount there – so its my “go to”), I also love Blonde in London for vintage. Gap (mens)… right now I love an oversized sweater with jeans and riding boots!
Pastime or hobby: S factor dance classes, running the NYC marathon, vintage shopping, Stand up Paddle Boarding in the Atlantic Ocean,
TV shows: Project Accessory! Anything on the cooking channel (I can’t cook so it amazes me!)
Vacation spots: SOBE, Miami. Palm Springs, CA. Hanging out in the Chateau Marmont in LA… Locally the NJ shore (not the one you see on TV)!
Check out some of Christina ‘s past work below.