August 21 2014

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Gem Hunting at Vena Cava


You know how it is with inspiration: Sometimes you have to go looking for it, and sometimes you get lucky and it comes to you. And sometimes, if you’re really lucky, like Vena Cava designer Lisa Mayock, inspiration used to live right next door to you. Mayock and her co-designer Sophie Buhai had already decided on a gem and mineral theme for the Fall ’09 collection, and were pretty well immersed in researching the stuff, when it occurred to Mayock that her former neighbor was a gem hunter. “Basically, she just travels around looking for unusual stones, and then she cuts and polishes them herself,” explained Mayock. “We went to visit her in California, and her house is just insane—there are gems everywhere. The place sparkles.” Buhai, for her part, pointed out that Mayock’s peculiarly rad ex-neighbor also lived in a house with a strong whiff of the eighties about it. “Which is funny,” she noted, “because the Hall of Gems and Minerals at the Museum of Natural History was built in the eighties. So that wound up informing the collection as well.” If gem faceting and eighties architecture influenced Mayock and Buhai to introduce a new angularity to their Fall clothes, a third reference softened the edges. “We were listening to a lot of new age music,” Buhai noted. “And a lot of Cocteau Twins, and a lot of Kate Bush. We think of this collection’s mood as being ‘Neo-New Age.’” And what does “Neo-New Age” mean, exactly? “Like New Age,” said Mayock. “Only tougher.”

Photo: Sherly Rabbani and Josephine Solimene

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