Jewelry designer, Heidi Gardner, presented her sea creature inspired collection in a Chelsea studio at New York Fashion Week. “Essentially, it’s for people who appreciate oceans. I wanted to take the mystery of the ocean and bring it onto the land,” said the designer. Her edgy pieces dangled from the walls while models posed around the room wearing piles of necklaces and rings. “I always like to keep things a little weird, so I wanted to use parts of hands and just have them coming out of the wall to showcase the jewelry,” said Gardener.
With only a rope lying on the floor to separate viewers from the designs, the presentation was interactive as photographers were able to go right up to the pieces. Later on, the models moved to pedestals in the center of the room to emulate Greek, marble statues, while a band played behind them. “I wanted to give the feeling of them being Grecian gods,” she said.
Gardner’s jewelry featured sea urchins, starfish, sharks teeth, seahorses, and sting rays cast in silver, black rhodium finished silver, gold, and gold plated brass. Some pieces are accented with diamonds, rubies, or blue sapphires. The designer wanted to keep the materials simple with four metals and three gems, focusing on the handmade individuality of each piece. She said that each one is subtly different by the way it’s made. “They can have the same shape, but each piece has a different finish, or a different stone put in, or it’s cut in a little bit of a different way. Sometimes I’ll play with laser cutting and see what I can do and make cracks in different places, just to make it very organic. That’s what’s most important to me,” she said.
The models in her presentation showcased the versatility of Gardner’s jewelry. The men wore necklaces on their heads and pins on their waists, while the women wore piles of rings on different parts of their fingers and cuffs on their wrists and upper arms. “That’s actually my favorite part about my jewelry, is that each piece can be styled in so many different ways,” she said. The designer herself was wearing one of her necklaces clasped tightly around her neck, allowing the rest to dangle in front of her. “It’s about the individual. I wanted the individual to have the choice of how they wanted to wear the jewelry, how they wanted other people to perceive them. So you can wear my jewelry in a dangerous way, you can wear it in a delicate way, or you can wear it in a fancy way.” She also wore several shark tooth pins on her waist and explained that she kept versatility in mind when she designed them. “I created these little pins this season, so that people can take them and put them in their hats, put them on their shoes, put them on their lapels, just put them wherever they wanted,” she said.
This versatility translated into androgynous designs that are just as wearable for as they are for women. Several men at her presentation enjoyed her designs and expressed that they would wear the pieces themselves. “I know a lot of people get intimidated by jewelry, especially men, so I wanted to make accessories that men would feel comfortable wearing, but wouldn’t feel like they’re being overly accessorized,” she said.
Gardner began selling her jewelry a year ago, so she has recently begun expanding. Currently, her jewelry is sold in SoHo, the Upper East Side, and the Meatpacking District of New York and has now reached Los Angeles. This year, she’s focusing on selling internationally, with specific interests in Asia and Europe. With these goals in mind, she strives to keep advancing her ideas. “With every season, I just keep playing, I just keep thinking in different ways and out of the box. That’s what fashion is all about, is thinking out of the box, doing something different, and really just having fun. So I just keep pushing myself to do just that,” she said.
Above all, Gardner wants people to enjoy her designs and sees jewelry as a form of expression that should be taken lightly. “Jewelry should be something that isn’t taken too seriously but that makes the outfit. It’s an individualization of the outfit, essentially. So I want people to play with it and have fun,” she said.
Visit Heidi Gardner’s website at heidigardnernyc.com.