I’m a great believer in fate. There I was speaking with the charming Swiss Italian general manager, Thomas Brugnatelli, of Jerusalem’s, The American Colony Hotel, when he mentioned that he liked a ring I was wearing.

It happened to have been made in Florence Italy. That brought us to the unexpected subject of jewelry and so coincidental, too, as he told me his sister was a jewelry designer who just happens to live in Italy and has all her jewelry made there.  And she also was a guest at the hotel.  While in Thomas’ office, he went on line where I saw her design collection and realized that she was one of those talented, exceptional designers who was already being wooed by international markets and smaller, boutique shops in Asia.

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However with my work schedule and hers, it was impossible to meet.  But her brother Thomas, gave her my email and soon we were in touch.

With internet, almost everything is possible. But soon Valentina Brugnatelli and I were in contact.  Like me, she loves working and visiting Florence and as she said before she became a designer, “was a serious souvenir jewelry collector in that city”.  “I can’t resist a well crafted, perfectly designed piece of jewelry, whatever the price,” she admitted.  Ah the two of us have similar personalities.

Valentina was born in Como Italy.  That was 47 years ago (this begin 2013). When she was 6 years old her parent moved to Lausanne where Valentina went to school studying for her Baccalaureate.  By the  time she was 18, she had moved to Paris to study fashion design at Esmod School of Design.

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“These were the 80s, an incredible period for fashion.” she says with the sense that she must have a pensive look in her eyes since this article was done entirely with email.  After she graduated from Esmod, she moved to Milan where she quickly found “my dream job with Gianfranco Ferre”.  What a coincidence since Ferre was my favorite designer at that time.

Ferre, had just started working with Christian Dior and since Valentina was fluent in French, he often took her to look to French suppliers for his own label. “It was the most amazing experience”, she states. He soon became her mentor and introduced her to luxury fashion jewelry.  “He taught me discipline”.

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Later Valentina became a consultant and worked for some seriously major luxury brands such as Yves Saint Laurent,  Missoni, Harry Winston Ferragamo, Kenzo among them.  Not a bad group!!!

About a year ago, she decided to start her own label.  “ I did it with two other friends who introduced me to Kenzo.  We are three distinctive brands.  David Wyatt (women’ clothes), Gianluas Soldi (shoes) and myself. Our present collections goes under the name, The Wandering Collective. “  Another coincidence.   I had a hard copy magazine ages ago called The Wanderer.  I then expanded it and now as you see, it’s called www.indulgedtraveler.com which covers everything from destinations, food, shopping, spas to jewelry and more. (excuse the commercial break).

Valentina-1.5“It’s been such a great experience.  I learn something new every day,” again, I could feel a smug smile.

Having worked for so many years, she already knew what her big favorites were.  Certainly  enamel is a top seller. These pieces  show beautifully on bracelets, semi precious  stones and resin which are exceptional, especially with signature neckpieces .

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Even if it’s just a tiny details, her inspiration comes from architecture and as with most designers with imagination and nature, too.  “It the amazing shapes and color of leaves and flowers which are endless sources of inspiration.  I take loads of pictures whenever I go out on walks.”  She also is intrigued by nature’s mix of colors, even shapes of stems and everything that catches her eye.

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Lucky Valentina.  She works in Florence “with  one of the best suppliers . “They produce jewelry and clutch bags for the biggest luxury brands and their quality and craftsmanship is beyond, perfection.  “I create bracelets and necklaces, and add some rings and add a few pairs of earrings in my AW13 collection in order to have some entry items in that grouping.  But all my clients want big pieces and don’t even ask the price.”  That seems to be every designer’s dream and Valentina seems to have made them come true.

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Valentina has known them for many years and feels right at home when she’s in their workshop. I usually sit next to an artisan and he/she brings my pieces to life while I sit and watch. He has a tiny atelier but huge accomplishments.”

Even the semi precious stones she uses,  they are also carved by an artisan in Milan  and  as she acknowledges, “these are woman I’ve known for so many  years.” She’s also wise enough to have two sizes made for bracelets and several sizes for rings. And being a woman, she’s aware that clients in Japan, UK and Paris are differently sized with different attitude to style.  Surprisingly she’s learned that Asians like chunky fashion jewelry  which is so unexpected.

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“But the bottom line is that my clients think out of the box when purchasing”.  That’s very much the m.o. that Valentina uses when she designs.  There seems to be no limit to her creativity and most of her jewelry isn’t for the woman but certainly for those who want to make a statement.

Watch for her name, since Valentina Brugnatelli is heading for fashion headlines. Remember that name since she’s going to the moon instead of Mars.

 

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