Archive for the Nouveau Spotlight Category

Nouveau Spotlight: Sergio Wonder Fall/Winter 2016 Menswear Presentation

Posted in Nouveau Spotlight with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 14, 2016 by James Field

Last weekend in Brooklyn I experienced a wonderful presentation of menswear for Fall 2016, by a very special designer.

Mr. Sergio Wonder, my former design partner on the highly successful and innovative custom-made jewelry and accessories line  “Sergio + James” debuted his second consecutive clothing presentation among 5  other designers, in a showcase curated by our good friend Curtis Bryant.

Sergio’s aesthetic stems from his incredibly deep and complex love for Fashion, and the art of presentation on the human form. When we worked on the design concepts for Sergio + James, I was continuously awed and dazzled by his love of fabric selection, research, and of course the design process itself.

This collection showcased for Fall 2016 revealed both an expert attention to detail and a touch of urban sophistication in the form of tailored cotton bomber jackets with hand worked knit detailing, to tapered black & white cotton checked-pattered pants worn under a black knit tee topped off by a black cotton collar & button-less jacket.

Two of my favorite looks. Fifty Shades of Chic is the vibe here.

Two of my favorite looks. Fifty Shades of Chic was the vibe here.

The main idea presented in  Sergio’s collection is a simple concept of utility and wearability, so often lost in independent designers so set in the conviction of bold statement pieces to garner press. He achieves this soft yet modern take on classic looks with various pocket details, pleated shorts, and 4 pocket trousers that create a uniformity to the collection. The more whimsical pieces like the bomber jackets, grey knit and jersey sleeve crew neck pull overs and long sleeve black & white jumpsuit, with pleats are fresh and modern urban chic silhouettes that are right on par with the current “revolution” as its been described of new, different and exciting shapes in menswear.

Form & Function displayed in the balance menswear presentation at Sergio Wonder Fall 2016

Form & Function presented in the balance menswear presentation at Sergio Wonder Fall 2016.

This color scheme of mostly black, white, and grey is simple yet incredibly powerful in its ability to reveal Sergio’s tailoring skills. Custom hand worked jewelry to jumpsuits and bomber jackets, his talent has without a doubt sharpened with time and it was an honor to witness the wonderful expression of said skills.

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The black cotton and knit zip bomber jacket that I absolutely fell in love with, paired with black cropped pants featuring a black side leg stripe.

 

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Sergio with two of the shows models.

 

The entire presentation was quite poetic and fresh, and a well received display of tailoring, craftsmanship and passion by a very talented young artist.

Sergio’s collection was debuted during Brooklyn Fashion Week 2016, which seemed to magnetically attract a colorful and fabulously unique flock of artist, designers, makeup and hair stylists, musicians and the like to Bushwick last Saturday afternoon. There was even a reunion with one of our most passionate patrons to our former jewelry collection, Mr. Michael Ibidapo who wore his custom-made black & white, “Jo” necklaces backstage and posed for a photo with myself and Sergio.

James Field, Michael Ibidapo & Sergio Wonder, after the presentation of the Fall 2016 Menswear collection.

James Field, Michael Ibidapo & Sergio Wonder, after the presentation of the Fall 2016 Menswear collection.

 

Sergio Wonder’s collection of Ready to Wear is available exclusively at

www.SergioWonder.com

Also be sure to follow him via his Tumblr page and on Instagram  and Snapchat at: SergioWndr

 

A special thanks and Congratulations to our good friend Curtis Bryant who curated the 6 show designer showcase, doing a wonderful job of getting such great talent together and it was a pleasure to see Sergio and everyone that attended for gathering of superb young talent.

-James

 

 

Nouveau Spotlight: Two Dazzling Days of Fine Jewelry Inspiration

Posted in Nouveau Spotlight with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 26, 2015 by James Field

Hello darlings! Long time no post huh? I feel terrible that I have not written anything in a few months, so what better way to make me feel better that a jewelry post!

This past weekend I received press passes to attend the New York Antique and Fine Jewelry show at the Metropolitan Pavilion and the JANY Jewelry Trade show at the Jacob Javitz center. It was two days packed full of 18th century old mine cut diamonds the size of goose eggs, South Sea pearls, Brazilian and Colombian emeralds that looked like green pieces of candy and design inspiration all around.

This piece was the first to catch my eye. With its Indian influences featuring beautiful emeralds, freshwater pearls and diamonds sets in white gold it was a great way to kick off the show.

This piece was the first to catch my eye. With its Indian influences featuring beautiful emeralds, freshwater pearls and diamonds sets in white gold it was a great way to kick off the show.

The show began with a beautiful set of white gold tassel necklaces done with diamonds, smooth green emeralds and pearls. The shows themselves were very vast, filled with vendor upon vendor eager to present his treasure trove. One mistake I made was showing too much interest in a particular diamond feather brooch, upon after which I read the price tag of $15,000 I quickly walked away chuckling to myself lol.

A display featuring a glittering array of pieces with classic charm. My favorite is the Art Deco emerald and diamond brooch.

A display featuring a glittering array of pieces with classic charm. My favorite is the Art Deco emerald and diamond brooch by Harry Winston.

Harry Winston without a doubt is one of my favorite houses when I think of classic jewelry design. This display was filled with fabulous pieces including a few by Tiffany & Co.

This young girl looked amazing in this diamond and emerald necklace, I had to take a picture.

This young girl looked amazing in this diamond and emerald necklace, I had to take a picture.

 

As I walked along with my grandmother Ellen, I spotted this young girl wearing this fantastic emerald and diamond number. I immediately ran over and introduced myself and asked for a photo for my blog.

This Opal and diamond set was incredible!

This Opal and diamond set was incredible!

The shows was a fantastic way to spend the weekend, and such a inspiration boost for my collection. Stay tuned as I continue to work on samples hoping to launch a full line very, very soon 🙂

Thankyou for reading as always!

JF

T.B.N Interviews: Wallace Chan

Posted in Nouveau Spotlight, T.B.N Interviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 15, 2014 by James Field

 

“My greatest enjoyment is to express emotions, wisdom of our ancestors and the greatness of Mother Nature through jewelry creation.” –Wallace Chan

 

I am honored and overjoyed to feature a fascinating and extremely inspiring interview that I conducted with Master Sculpture & Jeweler, Mr. Wallace Chan. We discuss his exceptional skill in jewelry design, his inspirations from nature and his outlook on life and creativity.

Enjoy….

 

To begin I would like to formally welcome Master Sculpture & Jeweler Mr. Wallace Chan to The Black Nouveau, I am so honored to speak with you.

TBN: Since your debut as the first Asian designer at the 2012 Biennale des Antiquaires in Paris with the collection “Path to Enlightenment: Art & Zen” your work has been featured in countless publications and has been critically acclaimed as works of sculptural art.

Your style is a whimsical blend of naturalistic themes, fantastical motifs and exceptional craftsmanship, where do you draw inspiration from?

W.C: To create is to live fully, to absorb knowledge in all ways, and to practice repeatedly. The creating process can be described with two words, “life” and “understanding”.

Life is the key to creation, a vital element. Creation changes, and is full of vitality, it reflects the pulse of the heart and the spirit of the age, and motivates the development of history. Creation and life are interactive, for there to be creation, there must be life, and for life to have meanings, creativity is a must.

“Understanding” involves communication and channels. The creator must understand the skies, the earth and in between the two, human beings. It may sound a bit vague, but to put it in simple words, it means the creator should learn about the past, the present and the future, and he should dig into different kinds of knowledge e.g. astrology, geography, technology, history, psychology and philosophy etc.

As for inspiration, when you understand life and the universe, you will naturally understand that, there is humanity in everything, from a piece of wood to an elephant. When you treat them with emotions, they respond to you in the same way. Inspiration comes from the accumulation of our everyday experience. Like the herbal cabinet of the Chinese doctors, each little piece of our memories is stored in one little drawer, and when I see a gemstone, these pieces of memories come out from different drawers, they entwine, merge and transform with one another, and this interaction generates creativity.

I hope to re-interpret and enliven the elements of Mother Nature and culture through jewelry creation, and pass the wisdom of the skies, the earth and human beings on to the next generation. But to make it happen, solid and cultivated craftsmanship is crucial, from techniques to materials and tools, it is important to invent new ways in order to have our imagination actualized.

T.B.N: You have been credited as the creator of the “Wallace Cut” may I ask what this means, how did you come about designing it?

W.C: Why did I invent “Wallace Cut”?  One time I went to a photography exhibition, in one of the photographs I saw the images of a man overlapped.  They said it was a dark room technique called “multiple exposures”.  I wondered if I could achieve the same effect with carving.  I kept this piece of memory and the curiosity on my mind. When I finally started learning about gemstone cutting, I saw how the light entered the gemstone’s body through its surface, and how the light interacts intensively inside it.  This experience recalled my impression on “multiple exposure”, and since I had acquired the knowledge to carve and design with gemstones, I could try to realize my idea this time.

The Wallace Cut is a carving technique which creates an illusion in transparent materials by combining medieval 360-degree intaglio into 3-dimension engraving.  The resulting quintuple reflection unifies these features with precise calculation and angle casting and forms a 3-dimension and multi-line reflection.

The "Now and Always" necklace featuring a signature 35.4ct Wallace Cut aquamarine with the image of Horae the Greek Goddess of nature, with amethysts, diamonds, blue topaz, sapphires and opals.

The “Now and Always” necklace featuring a signature 35.4ct Wallace Cut aquamarine with the image of Horae the Greek Goddess of nature, with amethysts, diamonds, blue topaz, sapphires and opals.

The concept sounds simple, but the execution was near impossible.  Let’s take my “Horae” design as an example.  To get a full-bodied, 3-dimensional face for this work, I had to empty out precisely just such a face at the back.  First, I bored a tiny hole right in the center.  That’s the starting point, which is the nose.  Then I slowly widened the space from inside out.  As it was done in reverse, every drill was an act of reverse thinking: left is right, deep is shallow, and front is back.  Since the space inside is the face of the Goddess itself, there was no space to move around. But that’s how the image acquired multiple reflections, creating different angles of the face.  I carved the front view of the Goddess, and she would be looking at me sideways

Moreover, the tools that were available on the market were not sophisticated enough.  I had to make some of the tools specifically for this work.  I went to a factory and became an apprentice in order to learn about the mechanics it took to invent the tools. After six months in the factory, I found out that I could use the dentist’s tool for it.  But the drill rotated for 36,000 times per minute, which was too fast, and the heat it generated while carving would damage the stone.  At last I realized that I had to do the carving under water.  So here it went: I carved, I dried the stone, checked to see if it was alright, (because one tiny mistake would be reflected into four more mistakes, and the whole piece of work would be ruined,) and then I put it into water to carve again. It was a stroke by stroke process, I forgot how many hours I worked on each piece, but at the end I felt that my mind, my hand, and the tool were all working as one, it was my consciousness doing the carving. It was 1987, and it was one of the craziest carving periods in my life. I surrendered myself to the magic of light and shadow, and found great happiness in it.

I had to do a lot of calculations to determine where the center was – where exactly would the face be situated.  The next step was the amount of space for each half of the face; both sides have to be symmetrical.  Then there were the angles of the faceting on the periphery of the face in order to achieve the number of reflections that I wanted.   And even if the calculations were all correct, I still needed to put them through some trials before I committed them to the stone.  All in all, this piece took me two years to finish, not counting the years I spent in perfecting the 3-dimensional technique. Life was not easy during those two years, I had to earn a living, and at the same time keep inventing.

T.B.N: With your vast knowledge of Gemology, metallurgy and sculpture, what sort of obstacles do you encounter when designing a piece? You have been known to completely destroy pieces if they are not up to your standards, would you call yourself a perfectionist when it comes to your art?

W.C: Since I began my creative journey in 1973, I have gotten used to absorbing knowledge and techniques from all directions. The wisdom left to us by our ancestors benefits us throughout life, but no matter what we do, we must not depend it all on existing knowledge. We have to explore and pave new paths. We have to turn our world upside down. Upon the old foundation, we have to build something new for the development of our future.

Difficulty has an intimate relationship with creation. It nurtures creativity and through challenges we grow. Difficulty comes from everywhere, from tools to techniques, materials and our mentality. But as long as we can overcome our own desires, we know how to deal with difficulty without backing down, as well as without fear, anxiety and disgust. The path of creation is often lonely, but this lonesome feeling makes us strong and helps us persist. Creativity grows as a result. I feel that I have entered a fairyland every time I meet obstacles, and once I solve my problems, I go back on earth with a sense of satisfaction and joy that is beyond words.

I pursue perfection, but there is no perfection in this world, there is nothing you can call the highest, or the best. But this is the reason why there are limitless possibilities. As there is no limitation, I can pursue perfection without fear, I can try, I can fail, and there is no need to compromise. I am used to absorbing new knowledge with open arms and an open heart. I am always under pressure, and upon the existing pressure I pressure myself even more, to explore the depth and width of knowledge and work my mind out.

T.B.N: My absolute favorite pieces are your exquisite butterflies. They represent your work very well and are a reoccurring theme in your collections. Do you have a favorite piece that you consider your greatest achievement?

 

W.C: Underneath the sugar-coated idea – “greatest achievement”, you can only find stumbling blocks. I do not have anything that I can call my “greatest achievement”, but I am happy to share with you a creation that I have recently completed. This creation has been on my mind for more than a decade, until about 4 or 5 years ago, I started to have it realized. In the process of creation, I went through tons of struggles and was often close to giving it up, but I couldn’t help continuing. Finally, it was completed right before the 27th Biennale des Antiquaires.

The Wallace Chan "Secret Abyss" necklace has a yellow diamond of 10.05 cts set in a rutilated quartz shell of 211.74ct and complemented with emeralds, fancy colored diamonds, amethysts and rutilated quartz.

The Wallace Chan “Secret Abyss” necklace has a yellow diamond of 10.05 cts set in a rutilated quartz shell of 211.74ct and complemented with emeralds, fancy colored diamonds, amethysts and rutilated quartz.

This creation is titled “Secret Abyss”; it expresses my exploration on the meaning of existence.

More than 10 years ago, I saw a magician trying to escape from a glass tank of water whilst chained and handcuffed; logic said that it wasn’t possible, yet he escaped. I was moved by the performance; I was, in fact, extremely impressed. And after some years the idea of “Secret Abyss” came alive on my mind.

When you try to make an idea reality, it is often the case that a series of difficulties, sacrifices and failures tag along. I was looking for the materials for this creation, at first I thought crystal would do, but it was too clear, so it could not create the dream-like feeling I wanted. I gave up the idea of using crystal and turned to rutilated quartz instead. The texture of rutilated quartz gives the feel of a fairyland. But it is not easy to find rutilated quartz that meets the standard required for my creation, so it took a long time and great efforts.

After acquiring the suitable materials, I created a 6.5MM opening on the rutilated quartz, through this small opening my tools got in and empty the stone out. Where could I find the right tools to do this? As the creation has never been done before, naturally no one had invented the tools I needed. So it was another long process of consideration, calculation, design and experiment to have the right tools invented. I’d better not go into details here.

After a series of failures and tons of broken materials, I finally found a way to empty the stone out in a satisfying state. The 43MM wide space inside the stone became my creative space. My tools entered the space through the 6.5MM opening, and gemstone clouds were set. I would say that the 6.5MM opening was the entrance and exit of my soul, it extended my existence. Inside the rutilated quartz there was this metaphysical world, in which there were materials. What is empty is no longer empty, the clouds float in light and colors… – that denotes a state of mind, as well as a state of life.

T.B.N: What do you enjoy most about your career? What advice would you give to aspiring designers and business owners?

 

W.C: Accessories have existed in human history for a long, long time. It appeared way earlier than other forms of art. It is an ancient culture, and this culture has then become evidence of civilization, and an embodiment of knowledge aesthetics, wisdom and emotions. And my greatest enjoyment is to express emotions, wisdom of our ancestors and the greatness of Mother Nature through jewelry creation. Jewelry stands for eternity, and through this eternal media I can share the stories and meanings of life with others.

Designer and creator are different, and they are different from merchant or dealer. Very often, designers come up with ideas and sketches, and then they hand over their ideas and sketches to craftsmen to work on. However, I encourage designers who are interested in the jewelry field to learn with patience, and to train up their ability to reach out to all directions – on the top there is culture, philosophy and art, beneath these there is knowledge of a craftsman that includes optics, physics, ergonomics, metallurgy etc., on the left you find technology, and on the right there are trends and markets… The mastery of all allows greater creative freedom.

I am not very good at commercial activities, certainly not an expert in business. But I believe that as a merchant, dealer or investor of this field, it is important to acquire thorough knowledge of the field in order to recognize the talents of a creator. Designers and creators live in their own worlds, their pursuits tend to be more spiritual, but merchants live in a collective world, and economic growth is their fundamental consideration. But the former and the latter join hands to create the many legends we have seen in this industry.

T.B.N: Your pieces are considered to be works of art in their own right, and I would certainly agree that they are extraordinarily beautiful yet delicate and complex. Was that always the goal when you were designing your first pieces?

 

Wallace Chan “Fleur de la Dynastie Tang” brooch with rubies, yellow diamonds, pink sapphires, tsavorites, garnets, emeralds and diamonds.

 

Featuring the world’s largest flawless purple sapphire weighing 164.39ct this is the “Gabriella Rose” necklace symbolizing femininity, harmony and tranquility.

 

W.C: If I must define the goal of my creation, it is the true, the good and the beautiful. When I feel that my creations are far from meeting the standard, that is when I have to destroy them and start over, or I may put them aside for a period of time, and try to enhance and enliven the knowledge on my mind. My creations come alive when I enter a new world of thinking.

I have this very strong belief in my life: only when I have my work done to perfection today can my dreams be realized tomorrow. I maintain the same attitude towards any goals, dreams, obstacles and challenges in my life. It is fair to say that, in life, we may not always be rewarded for our hard work, but it is always true that no pain, no gain.

The aesthetics and craftsmanship of each piece of creation is nothing but the result of hard work.

T.B.N: Lastly, what is the ultimate vision for yourself and your brand? How would you like to be remembered as a designer?

W.C: I enjoy living for the moment, spending every second and every minute on creation. History is vast, and deep, the universe is wide, and limitless, and our existence is so small. I look at the world with the curious eyes of a child. I have to seize the moment, practice on and do my homework. Once I have completed a piece of work, I must move on to something new right away, as I cannot linger in the satisfaction that belongs only to the past. I hope that with my creations I can fulfill my responsibility for history, and I leave it to history to grade my performance.

It was great honor to be given the chance to interview Mr Chan. His passion, seemingly endless creativity and respect for his art only fuels my own career goals. He is, in my eyes the true definition of the word “Craftsman” using his various skills and experience to create one of kind, sublimely beautiful and timeless works of art.

Special thanks to the Atelier of Mr Wallace Chan.

J.F

Nouveau Spotlight: The 26th Annual International Fine Art & Antique Show

Posted in Nouveau Spotlight with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 20, 2014 by James Field

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“I adore wearing gems, but not because they are mine. You can’t possess radiance, you can only admire it.”

-Elizabeth Taylor

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the 26th Annual International Fine Art & Antique show at the Park Avenue Armory on 67th street. Talk about a dose of awesome! This place was packed with vendors from all over the world showing off their wears, ranging from 16th century tapestries, 18th century Indian art work, swords, sculpture, and of course fine jewelry.

I was dazzled by the fine collections of Hancocks of London, Kentshire, Epoque Fine Jewels, and so many more. To see the mesmerizing array of diamonds, emeralds, rubies, sapphires and the like up close was truly a treat and a major inspiration for my work. One of my greatest goals is to become a fine jewelry designer and dealer, and by taking in the sights such as this show, my passion only grows.

Some of the highlights for me were the incredibly detailed and delicate vintage jewelry pieces from the house’s of Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Schumberger for Tiffany’s & Co.

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THE DUCHESS OF WINDSOR, WALLIS SIMPSON, AMETHYST, TURQUOISE AND DIAMOND BRACELET, CARTIER, 1954

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Hey that’s me looking creepy lol

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I enjoyed playing the game of “Guess what gem this is” with many of the vendors and was even allowed to try on a few pieces. Whenever I am around people that are knowledgeable in something that I wish to become knowledgeable in, I almost always ask as many questions as possible. Its a great way to learn, memorize and draw inspiration when visiting exhibitions, trade shows etc.

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I adore these floral brooches of rubies, diamonds and sapphires, one of which (the bottom left blue carnation) belonged to the famous fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli!

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Ancient Egyptian Semi Precious Stone Necklaces

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I had a wonderful time and I wish to thank the lovely vendors and staff who made my trip such a special one.

I would also like to thank Natalie from Jewels du Jour for the tickets, thank you so much!

If you wish to check out the show, it will be at the Park Avenue Armory at 67th Street until Oct 23rd.

Visit Jewels du Jour they are giving a way a limited amount of free tickets!

Thank you all for reading.

J.F

L’Amour de Bijoux: The Love of Jewels

Posted in Art Nouveau, Nouveau Spotlight, Obsessions with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 2, 2014 by James Field
The 41 carat "Dresden Green" is the largest naturally green diamond to date.

The 41 carat “Dresden Green” is the largest naturally green Diamond to date.

 

I believe that my love of jewelry design, art and style began when I was a young boy. I remember subtle things such as my mothers engagement ring of white gold and black onyx that my father gave her. I thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen! So chic on her finger and so timeless at the same time. From then on, I would say my mother and her love of jewelry sparked something in my own creative soul.

My mother traveled to Kuwait on a business trip when I was young boy. While she was there she acquired the most beautiful diamond and ruby ring of about 2 carats. I had never seen anything like it, and I dare didn’t asked how much is cost. The irony is that even though I purchased her a small pink sapphire pendant necklace as a gift on the day of her return, her ring was absolutely stunning and I have fallen in love with jewelry design ever since.

So without further ado, this is my Love of Jewels.

Bahadur Shah Zafar II India (Delhi), Mughal, c. 1850 Watercolors on ivory

Bahadur Shah Zafar II
India (Delhi), Mughal, c. 1850
Watercolors on ivory

 

One of my greatest inspirations will always be the great Mughal Emperors of India. The splendor and grandeur of their Pearls, Emeralds, Silks, Diamonds, Rubies and Sapphires rivaled that of any King in the world. They looked so regal and exalted that all who saw them knew, they were royalty and should as such adorn themselves accordingly.

Turban Ornament India (West Bengal), Mughal, c. 1755 Gold, set with diamonds, rubies, a sapphire, Colombian emeralds and a pearl.

Turban Ornament
India (West Bengal), Mughal, c. 1755
Gold, set with diamonds, rubies, a sapphire, Colombian emeralds and a pearl.

 

I love the elegance that something like this Turban Ornament gives to the wearer. As an option this item could also be styled as a brooch on a great jacket. Great jewelry design for me is about timeless design and the highest quality of gemstones, and also versatility.

 

Mango-shaped rock crystal Flask India, Mughal, mid-17th century Rock crystal; set with gold, enamel, rubies, and emeralds

Mango-shaped rock crystal Flask
India, Mughal, mid-17th century
Rock crystal; set with gold, enamel, rubies, and emeralds

 

This whimsical and charming flask is from the time of Shah Jahan, the Emperor who built the Taj Mahal in the 17th century. This is a truly wonderful example of imagination and the mix of timeless design, exceptional taste, and quality materials.

My collection grows.

My collection grows.

 

Though my collection is certainly not on the level of the Great Emperors of India whom I admire, it still holds dear to my heart. Most of my pieces are vintage or hand crafted using emeralds, gold, pearls and silver. I hope to one day expand my collection to higher end pieces with more historical importance. My collection is a mix of vintage, gifted and purchased items with the silver rhinestone panther ring and brooch both being vintage finds for example, and the silver beaded bracelet with black onyx, a gift from my mother.

The long adored and cherished pearl is my zodiac birthstone, so the two strand freshwater pearl bracelet is something I was lucky enough to find at a vintage jewelry fair in New York City. The emerald stone and pearl bracelet with matching silver and emerald stone ring where hand-made for me in India and are my latest additions. The black rhinestone bracelet was a gift, and the gold Damascene bracelet next to it, a purchase on trip to Miami, Florida. The gold floral scroll cuff was an online vintage find, and the gold Damascene bracelet above it a vintage fair find as well.

Lauren Hutton by Milton Greene, 1966

Lauren Hutton by Milton Greene, 1966

 

I absolutely love this classic ad of Lauren Hutton dripping in jewels. I wish to one day create quality of this nature. I formerly owned and produced a jewelry designing brand called Sergio James with an old friend of mine, based out of New York City. We crafted jewelry using simple materials such as wood, spray paint, gold and silver leaf and metal filigree accents. I do miss the times that we created elegant yet simple collections, but its time to move on to more glittering pursuits. My goal is to achieve Master Jeweler status which is a very high honor.

I finally have had time as of late to start crafting and brainstorming jewelry concepts. Check out what I have been working on so far…

I present my little sample collection which I call "The Golden Black Pearl Collection"

I present my little sample collection which I call “The Golden Black Pearl Collection”

 

Yes! I love how they turned out, the are my perfect whimsical items all in gold. The black freshwater pearl is hand-woven with gold wire through a gold feather pendant at the end of a gold and black enamel chain. The diadems are gold bands with gold feather scroll pendants that I have hand-woven with gold wire to form this leaf crest pattern and this branch like design. The set is my perfect royal nod to history. This is only the start and more creations are to come.  I am so happy to FINALLY start designing again. Please stay tuned for more.

 

Thank you all for reading!

Cheers!

James Field

 

Nouveau Spotlight: Martin de Tours

Posted in Nouveau Spotlight with tags , , , , , , , on March 3, 2014 by James Field

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In our current economic climate, many people are finding themselves spending less on “fast fashion” and investing in more quality pieces with longevity. I  (reluctantly) have discovered the value in purchasing slightly more expensive, but longer lasting pieces for my own wardrobe that I may rotate through the seasons. However, at times the best alternative is made to measure and when it comes to fine suiting and tailoring, that is where quality craftsmanship vs “off the rack” prevails.

Enter a new such made to measure label by the name of Martin de Tours. Founded on the principles of accessibility, efficiency and the revolution of men taking pride in their appearance again, they have created a unique and exceptional tailoring experience for all.

Combining old world techniques and new technology to create custom fitted suits and shirting, this new brand is on its way to menswear sartorial importance.  The use of cut seems to be the most obvious statement as these looks will illustrate…

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I think it very important and economically savvy for more men to have a better understanding of their bodies and what fits their personal aesthetic, so that they may shop with greater confidence. Martin de Tours does just that, with a full-time “Valet” of sorts who will take your exact measurements and present material options for all your suiting needs. They are re-introducing the classic style and taste of custom suiting with made to measure, exceptional quality menswear.

Please visit Martin de Tours for more information, also please support the growing of this brand with sponsorship via Kickstarter, click here.

Thank you Alexandra of Martin de Tours and I wish you guys all the best. I will be meeting you soon for my measurements!

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JF

T.B.N Interviews: Chef Jack Lee

Posted in Nouveau Spotlight with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2013 by James Field
Chef Jack Lee

Chef Jack Lee

“You must have Passion, Dedication and Persistence”- Chef Jack Lee

I would like to begin by thanking Chef Lee for taking the time out of his schedule to answer a few questions about his dazzling work and exciting career as a celebrity Chef for the re-launch of my T.B.N Interviews segment.

The Black Nouveau is pleased to introduce Celebrity Chef Jack Lee.

Welcome Mr. Lee, I am honored to speak with you today….

TBN: Lets begin with your love of food, what sparked your fascination with it? Also share with us a little about yourself and your background. How did the Asian/French fusion style flourish into your trademark?

Chef Lee: I see food very differently. I want to honor each ingredient’s natural properties. I want to enhance the unique textures and colors. I believe the food we consume should be as much of a treat for the eyes as it is for the palate. I love dishes to be full of flavor, color and dimension so that you get drawn into each bite. Every bite should be a meaningful, lasting memory.

I came to the US from Vietnam when I was only 10 years old.  I always loved food but at such a young age, I didn’t understand it as a career option. I watched the TV show “Three’s Company” to learn English and I loved how funny Jack Tripper was. When I saw him become a chef, I realized I could become a chef, too. It became my job to cook for my entire family and eventually I started working in kitchens.

As I learned more, I realized I wanted to combine Eastern and Western culinary concepts. I drew inspiration from street food of the Far East and merged it with the elegant plating and presentation of French cuisine. This Asian French technique has become my signature style and I’m always looking at ways to elevate the beauty as well as the flavors of food.

TBN: You are known for creating vibrant and visually appealing dishes that are equally delicious, how important is the presentation to you? How important is color?

Chef Lee: I believe people eat with their eyes first, so good plating presentation is inviting the palate of that taster. It makes the eater anticipate and fantasize about the culinary adventure they will have with forthcoming meal.  Color enhances the taste, since we, as humans, use color to tell us about nutrition and if something is yummy.

Most people prefer eating vegetables that look green and crisp rather than yellowish-green and limp. The second option means all the nutrients have been cooked out and it won’t be fulfilling to eat. It may not be at the front of the brain, but on a deep level we all know that delicious food has certain vibrancy to it.

My presentation centers on five components: high quality protein that will look sexy on the plate, super healthy carb, organic vibrant vegetables, amazing sauce with depth of flavor that embraces the tongue, and beautifully designed garnish. Put all of that together on one plate and it practically dances before your eyes. It’s like food porn.

TBN: How does the inspiration process work for you? When you cook for your clients, many of whom have very high taste levels (Oprah Winfrey, Charlize Theron, Hilary Swank a few among a long list of illustrious names) is there a consultation process? Is a there a balance between what you wish to convey with your dishes, and what the client is requesting?

Chef Lee: Everyone tastes food differently, and a lot can be based on a person’s mood. When you’re in a blissful mood everything tastes good, similarly, when you’re depressed you don’t have appetite. So, I first start thinking about the emotional response I want the taster to have. I deal with clients that don’t just appreciate the Wow Factor, they demand it, so the food needs to excite and even seduce the eater. That’s the main balance that has to be met between myself and the client. This is also where colors and enhancement of the ingredient’s natural beauty starts to come in. It’s the first level of inspiration.

I also get inspired by the people whom I cook for. I often make a plate based on some one’s individual persona. I’ve even named these dishes after the person that inspired the dish. It might start with their favorite type of protein or vegetable, or be based on an item of clothing they wear, or be a place they love to travel. This personalize’s the culinary experience even more.

Chef Lee & Rebbie Jackson

Chef Lee & Rebbie Jackson

Chef Lee & Charlize Theron

Chef Lee & Charlize Theron

Chef Lee & Quincy Jones

Chef Lee & Quincy Jones

All of this lets me use food as my art and outward expression of my voice and vision.

TBN: What was it like when you began your tenure as The Banquet Chef at the prestigious and legendary, Hotel Bel Air?

Chef Lee: I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to work at a Five Star, Five Diamond hotel where we are trained to create gourmet cuisine: Presentation, Authenticity, and Flavors. The training process was hard and intense… and long hours of making garnishes. You have to have the passion in the kitchen or it won’t work. The dispassionate fail quickly in a kitchen like that.

TBN: What advice would you give aspiring culinary students with similar career aspirations?

Chef Lee: You must have Passion, Dedication and Persistence.

I applied to work with esteemed Executive Chef Humberto Contreras. I just wanted to learn from him. At first, he denied me, many times, thinking I didn’t have what it takes. I kept coming back til he finally gave up and started to see my passion and my dedication in culinary arts.

Then, I volunteered at Bel Air for a full year making garnishes 10 hours a day. It wasn’t easy for me, everyone asked me to quit and go home.  It would have been so easy just to walk away but I kept on fighting to stay and believing that all the hard work will pay off.  Which it did. I was hired and eventually became the Banquet Chef of Hotel Bel Air and that was the turning point of my career as a chef.

TBN: Lastly, where do you see yourself in your current career path? What goals would you like to accomplish? What dreams have you always hoped to achieve?

Chef Lee: My first day at CSCA (California School of Culinary Art) I dreamed of being on Food Network one day and I recently served as a guest judge for this season’s finale of “Rachael vs Guy: Kids Cook-off.”  I’m also on a forthcoming episode of Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen” which will air on October 27, 2013. So, many of my dreams are materializing.

I just wish to share my cooking passion and spread the love and food gospel to the World.

Thank you for your time today Chef Lee, it has been an absolute pleasure speaking with one of Hollywood’s most talented and esteemed Chefs.

Be sure to tune into Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen” airing October 27th.

I would like to sincerely thank Ms Joy Donnell at Do It in Public Los Angeles for making this interview possible.

ChefJackLee.com

J.F