Friday, January 28, 2011

Vintage Shopping With "Lulu Frost's" Lisa Salzer

FROM LEFT: Lisa "Lulu" Salzer; a 1930s rhinestone necklace ($275) from Archangel Antiques

"I really love the hunt,” says jewelry designer Lisa "Lulu" Salzer of her passion for vintage jewelry rummaging. From her Soho studio, Lulu reimagines her antique finds—picked up from NYC vintage stores, flea markets and estate sales—into stunning original pieces for her label, Lulu Frost. (Frost is her grandmother’s last name.) Decked in pieces from her new capsule collection, Lulu Frost for J. Crew, the chic designer took us on a vintage ride-along to Archangel Antiques in the East Village.

“Buttons are our specialty—these are a few of the two million,” says Archangel’s proprietress as she opens a drawer of vintage Chinese buttons. The boutique stocks a vast and well-organized collection of buttons, made between 1870 and 1970, as well as vintage jewelry. Prices generally range from $6 to $25, but Victorian and late 19th century pieces fetch prices in the hundreds.

Lulu immediately pulls a tray of 19th century cut steel buttons. “Can you just imagine someone setting these little faceted steel stones, one at a time—they’re works of art,” she says. Once in Salzer’s studio, these intricate (and rare) buttons will be carefully repurposed into earrings, draped with vintage pocket watch chains, or a necklace. “We’ll add a brass chain and make this the centerpiece for a tassle necklace,” she notes.

Other eye-widening finds included a Deco dress clip, hundred-year-old buckles carved from shell, 1950s bakelite bracelets and vegetable ivory buttons made from tree resin. And even Salzer gasped as a teacup-size shell purse revealed three tiny pop-up book style compartments.


Don’t let a missing stone deter you. “A lot of people who sell these kinds of things have broken pieces and extra stones and can maybe fix it for you. I actually get a better deal if the stones are missing.”

Hit the markets. “The 26th Street flea market is where it all begins. It's the perfect foray into vintage jewelry shopping.”

Look for length. “There have been a lot of statement bib necklaces for a long time. I think long, slenderizing pieces are really going to be on-trend for spring. I’m really excited to wear my long tassle necklaces.”

Layer your lockets: “I love the layered look. It’s something we’re definitely doing for spring.”

Create something unique: “Buy one great vintage pendant and a different chain, put them together and see how it feels.”


God I love this!

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