New York–based jewelry line Brvtvs has quickly become one of our favorite sources for super-cool, wear-everyday jewelry, like dainty bracelets, stacking rings and mismatched earrings. We caught up with Brvtvs designer Caroline Ventura, a self-described tomboy, and found out that everything from Ancient Rome to Patti Smith inspires her amazing designs.
Q: Tell us about the name Brvtvs: How is it pronounced, and what does it mean?
A: It’s taken from Marcus Brutus, one of the senators of Ancient Rome, more notoriously known for being one of the men behind the assassination of Julius Caesar. It’s spelled the Latin way, where the U’s look more like V’s. I’m slightly obsessed with ancient civilizations, and Rome in particular. When I first started making jewelry, I was creating these fancy friendship bracelets and thought it would be kind of cheeky to name the line after someone who was mainly known for killing his best friend.
Q: Why did you decide to launch your own line?
A: Originally, I created my first piece sort of out of necessity: I wanted a teeny gold bracelet to wear every day but couldn’t find anything I really loved. At the time, most jewelry was really graphic and chunky, but I wanted something timeless and delicate. I decided I better try to make it myself, so I could get exactly what I wanted!
Q: There are so many jewelry labels at the moment, how do you try to stand out?
A: I think having a line that is entirely handmade makes Brvtvs pretty special, but I don’t necessarily go out of my way to stand out. I just strive to make pieces that women want to put on and never take off. Timeless, feminine jewelry will always have a place in the world, and if I can make someone something that allows them to feel special, that’s what I’m after.
Q: What’s your process for creating handmade pieces?
A: Usually I sketch out a design, but sometimes things happen completely by accident, which I really love. This line came about so organically, and that is still the way I design. If I see something that catches my eye—an interesting shape or pattern—my brain automatically starts to translate that into something wearable.
Q: Who are your style icons?
A: Most of my style inspiration comes from the men. I’m quite a tomboy, despite having a love for really dainty jewelry. Joe Strummer and a young Mick Jagger are always favorites. And Patti Smith. Her look is still always effortless, cool and somewhat androgynous, but there is also something feminine about her. I love that she never felt the need to apologize for who she is, or fit in by acting or dressing a certain way.
Just like everything in fashion, there are definite trends in jewelry.
Q: What is the jewelry look for spring?
A: I’m so happy there is a resurgence of craftsmanship in the fashion world. I think people are starting to get excited about knowing the items they are buying—where it’s coming from, who’s making it, etc. For me, jewelry is seasonless; I wear the same things in the winter that I do in the summer.
Q: What are your favorite places to shop?
A: I love a good flea market or thrift store, and I do quite a lot of eBay shopping. Old band T-shirts, vintage Levi’s—if it looks like your dad wore it when he was in high school, I’ll probably want to wear it. I also really like a lot of stuff that Acne is making right now, A.P.C. and the J. Crew men’s store is always a favorite for comfy oversized sweaters and shirts.
Q: How do you accessorize on a daily basis?
A: Oddly enough, I’m not crazy into accessories. I wear the same rings and earrings every day, and I switch out a bracelet or necklace maybe once or twice a year. Right now I’m really into hats; that’s how I like to add an interesting little something to an outfit lately.
Q: What’s your absolute favorite piece of jewelry you own?
A: I have two: a Miriam Haskell cuff that my husband gave me for our first wedding anniversary, and the Three Bar ear cuff that I created for Jason Wu’s spring ’13 runway show. Both represent something really momentous in my life, and I love that I have tangible reminders of them!
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