1 posts tagged "Detroit"
Few designers can list the struggling metropolis that is Detroit among their muses. Vicki Sarge is one of them. “You can take the girl out of Detroit, but you can’t take Detroit out of the girl!” quipped the jewelry designer, a Motown native, by phone. Though she decamped to London circa 1985 (and to New York before that), Sarge spoke to us during a recent visit to her mother’s Detroit abode. “I never wanted to live here,” she admitted. “But the amazing roots that I have here from my youth have stayed with me the whole time.”
While you may not know her name, you’ve most certainly seen the over-the-top, often dark-tinged baubles Sarge designed during her nearly 40-year tenure at celebrated bijoux brand Erickson Beamon. Together with her co-founders, Karen and Erik Erickson and Eric Beamon, Sarge adorned countless celebrities (Madonna, Beyoncé, Kate Moss, and Lady Gaga among them), collaborated with a bevy of designers (like John Galliano and Dries Van Noten), and transformed “costume jewelry” from a dirty secret to a coveted accoutrement.
But four decades in the same gig is a long time—especially for someone like Sarge, whose colorful path to accessories stardom included a job as the coat-check girl at New York’s Mudd Club (Keith Haring was the creative director at the time), spells as a regular at both Studio 54 and London’s Taboo, and a stint working in the Jim Henson Company creative department, where she got to do some “Muppet stuff.” So last year Sarge struck out on her own to begin a new chapter.
The resulting collection of costume jewelry is an intriguing fusion of the designer’s tongue-in-cheek approach to opulence, and her memories of the Motor City. “In the sixties and seventies, Detroit was a really great rock ‘n’ roll place,” Sarge recalled. She credits Iggy and the Stooges—who used to play at her high school dances—with making it as such. “My girlfriend had sex with Iggy after a concert once,” she mentioned casually. “But the music was just this raw sound that could only come out of Detroit. It was really great.”
Sarge explained that the “cool casualness,” and rocker vibe of her line—now in its second season—come from her hometown. But what about Fall 2014′s vibrant red flowers, shimmering crystals, and tribal ear cuffs? “Well, there are glam-rock bits there, too,” Sarge conceded. Surely her wilder days in Eighties London, during which she partied with John Galliano and her close friend Stephen Jones, have wiggled their way into her subconscious, too. “But it all comes from my soul, so it’s authentic me: bold, clean, beautiful, and a little edgy.”
In addition to Sarge’s sophomore solo effort (above), which made its debut during London fashion week, the designer crafted jewelry for Erdem’s Fall show and is working on an upcoming project with hairstylist Sam McKnight. She also hints that a second store (her first is on London’s Elizabeth Street) might be on the horizon. As far as stateside stockists go, the collection was picked up by Net-a-Porter right off the bat (it should be mentioned that Sarge also worked with Mario Testino on his Peruvian capsule for the e-tailer), but the designer hasn’t officially introduced her range to the U.S. market. That unveiling is reserved for a forthcoming spring event with Birmingham, Mich.-based retailer Linda Dresner and the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. “Detroit has given me a hell of a lot—at the very least, my attitude comes from Detroit—and I want to give something back,” offered Sarge. What’s more is that a few of her fancy London friends might tag along for the party. “Stephen’s always telling me he wants to come to Detroit,” she said. Looks like the hatter finally has a good excuse to make the trip.