The Story Behind Tome's Fresh Flower Necklaces

The Lizzie Fortunato girls talk runway collaborations.
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Dhani Mau
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The Lizzie Fortunato girls talk runway collaborations.
Photo: Imaxtree

Photo: Imaxtree

Often times, accessories brands will loan pieces to clothing designers to style into their runway shows and presentations during Fashion Week. But sometimes the two collaborate on an entirely new range of shoes or jewelry. For instance, Manolo Blahnik has collaborated with brands like Band of Outsiders and J.Crew on shoes, while Erickson Beamon often teams up with Creatures of the Wind. We often wonder why jewelry designers take the time to do these collaborations, as they are frequently just one-offs that never make it into stores.

To find out, we chatted with twin sister duo Lizzie and Kathryn Fotunato — the co-founders of the brand Lizzie Fortunato who've done a handful of runway collabs in the past — about the gorgeous pieces they created for Tome's (equally gorgeous) spring 2015 collection: brass neck collars featuring fresh flowers, which were styled so that the flowers were at the back of the neck, visible from the front.

"I use so many faux flowers in our own designs and do a lot of flower bibs and really embellished things, but when they said fresh I was like, 'That sounds challenging and cool, let's do it,'" explained Lizzie Fortunato. "It just seemed really relevant for us since we're such a mixed media-based brand." One of the sisters' best friends owns Brooklyn's Fox Fodder Farms, which supplied the flowers.

Photo: Imaxtree

Photo: Imaxtree

But beyond that, it wasn't all easy: "Once everything came together like hair and making sure it didn't interfere with the dress, it was just challenging making all the components fit together," says Lizzie.

So, aside from getting to create a pretty piece of jewelry, why do it? "The point of collaborations is to push yourself, and in the past when we've done them, it always gets us into a new medium or a new technique," added Kathryn Fortunato. Though, there's a marketing aspect as well. "It is a good way for accessories designers to get exposure, says Lizzie. "We don't do presentations. We participate in market week, but in general we're not very involved in the Lincoln Center scene, so it's nice to be out and about." Plus, Kathryn added that they share some retail accounts with Tome, "so we're optimistic that those accounts will recognize both lines on the runway."

The girls are hoping to create a faux flower version for retail, but are still working out the kinks.

The subtle necklaces perfectly complemented Ryan Lobo and Ramon Martin's collection, which was inspired by two female Indian artists: Rukmini Devi, a classical dancer, and Dayanita Singh, a contemporary photographer. They took ideas from old and new India and translated that into modern, feminine, very wearable pieces. See the whole thing below.