Lele Sadoughi, Dallas-native and former J.Crew jewelry design director, tells us the challenges of growing from designing for a major brand to designing for her own namesake collection. Plus, her personal jewelry style and most treasured pieces.
You were the jewelry design director at J.Crew from 2006 to 2011…do you have any favorite pieces from your J.Crew days that you still wear? Which ones and why?
When J.Crew's jewelry first launched, I made several simple stone necklaces with ribbon closures. The beads had side drill holes and hung on the string in a whimsical way, that looked effortless. I still like to wear these necklaces mixed with a strand of the angular hand cut glass stone necklaces.
What was the biggest challenge for you as designer—growing from designing for such a large brand and now designing for your own namesake collection?
I spent a lot of time thinking about the feeling of my line. Once I actually got the pencil to the paper, I knew what I wanted to create. I was fortunate to work for big companies that exposed me to great manufacturers that exposed me to the possibility of bringing my visions to life. The biggest challenge of designing my own line is running the entire business: I have always been a designer, but now I design, produce, sell, negotiate, merchandise, advertise, etc.
What is your personal jewelry style? Minimalist or pile-it-on?
I am somewhere in between minimalist and pile-it-on. I like clean, architectural elements, but I like to layer them to create a color story or look. I believe jewelry should change every day with your mood, and even swapping the same Lele Sadoughi Stackable Bangle bracelets in a different arrangement creates a new look. I suppose my style is more is more, but layered in a thoughtful, personal way.
What are your favorite pieces from the current collection? Why?
I love wearing the C sliders and garden fence bracelets on both wrists. It is a great way to customize colors and mix geometric and round stones in one look.
Do you make it back to Dallas often…what are your favorite places to visit?
Yes, I go to Dallas every few months. My entire family lives there, and I often need a reprieve from the cold days in New York. I love to get Mexican food at Mi Cocina in Highland Park Village, shop for great designer finds at Clotheshorse Anonymous, and walk through NorthPark Mall to see all the art and end up at Neiman Marcus!
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