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July 6th, 2005

Fashion: Summer 2005, Vintage Glamour with Edgy Design

by Sareena Sandhu

In a time where accessories are entering a new spirit of innovation arrives Steel Couture’s new line of jewelry and accessories. I sat down with designer Lisa Fortin to take stock?Ǭ?Ǭ of her evolving line of jewelry, belts, and other accessories. Lisa is dressed today in a turquoise man’s tank with torn and faded jeans and beat-up Converse sneakers. She has on a very rich looking vintage neck piece that she has pegged the Gracie necklace. It is made of candy jade connected by a vintage brass chain.

SoHo Journal: What are your biggest ideas for chain mail, jewelry, and belts this year?

Steel Couture: Size matters. Things should be big, glamorous, and metallic, vintage inspired and possess a rich luxurious feel. The pendants will be longer and more ornate.?Ǭ I am doing very few chokers and lariats. The necklines will be influenced by a very old Hollywood feel, so the richer the stones and chains. This is incorporated into the names of the necklaces. Each of them will be named after old Hollywood movie stars. I will have a larger line of belts as well as broaches. I also have an eight inch pair of earrings.

SJ: I have noticed you’re using more natural stones as well.

SC: This spring season, I utilized a lot of?Ǭ pearls, dyed jade, pinks , purples and?Ǭ Amazonite (a bluish green gem) on belts as well as necklaces and earrings. Using these materials as well as vintage brass and some gold has proved to be very versatile and adaptable. The stones are based on their ability to function with something as simple as worn denim or high-end as a Chanel gown.

My jewelry is always practical. I attach a high level of integrity to the pieces that I make simply because each is handmade and I have a vision for where the piece will progress. My motivation comes from the ordinary girl on the street and where her daily activities take her. I like extremes in fashion. Ideas pop into my mind very often so I design jewelry that doesn’t exist or I personally can’t find.”

SJ: Are you surprised by how quickly the fashion circuit embraced chain mail in the last three years?

SC: No. It is unfortunate that chain mail was accepted so quickly that it might then be discarded as yesterday’s news. My influences stem from almost all eras, including 1920’s, Victorian, and the 80s of course. I used to go rummage through the Salvation Amy and flea markets and that impacted my creativity.

SJ: What is your most favorite photo shoot promoting your designs?

SC: Actually, it will be happening very soon. It is a concept shoot with photographer Kristin Costello that will be shot in two weeks. I’m very excited about the set being built. It’s a Victorian mixed in with vintage Salvation Army concept. Girls will be dressed in their grandmothers’ jewelry while having one too many gin and tonics. They will steal and covet each other’s accessories. There’s a little decadence thrown in for good measure.

As far as what predictions she has for the future of chain mail, belts, and jewelry, Ms. Fortin isn’t budging as she doesn’t want to reveal trade secrets. She does say that, “Gauntlets and wristlets have been pared down in my collection. I reduced the presence of costume chain mail to really focus on the jewelry and belts.”

Fashion mavens will just have to wait until her new line premieres this Summer on-line at You can also find her designs at select boutiques including: Sugar Boutique in Pittsburg, Rabbits in Williamsburg, Metal Jacket Studios in Queens, Gothic Renaissance in Manhattan, as well as and

Filed Under: Articles | Arts & Leisure | New York





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