The CultureMap Interview
Gold accents, colorful stones, bold shapes — Claudia Lobão's jewelry collection has a bit of everything for fashionistas who love to accessorize. With a strong background in the arts, the Brazilian-born designer incorporates her love for gemstones and hand-crafted elements to create a line that exudes sex appeal, elegance and boldness.
Since designing her first collection in 2001, her brand has evolved tremendously. It became a staple on ABC's hit show Desperate Housewives and a favorite among A-list celebrities such as Eva Longoria and Jessica Alba.
During a recent trunk show at Tootsies in Houston, we sat down with Claudia to get the scoop on her next collection, find out where she finds her inspiration and pick up style advice on what every woman must have this season.
CultureMap: How did you venture into the world of jewelry design?
Claudia Lobão: I started designing jewelry after college. I went to an art school in Brazil, and I also worked as a fashion model. I always knew that I was going to create something in the fashion industry, I just didn't know what I was going to make. After college, I moved to NYC and began working in banking.
It was a great job, but I always made my own jewelry. When September 11 happened, I decided that I had to do what I love. My husband bought me some stones, and I started designing and crocheting jewelry to sell to my co-workers; all the women loved it. That's when it all began.
CM: How would you describe your design aesthetic?
CL: It's bold. I try to make pieces with statement. I like for people to see the jewelry and know that it's mine. It's bold for a woman who is practical, who can wear something from the day to night. It's classic at the same time.
CM: Tell us about your spring 2013 collection. What can we expect to see?
CL: We are adding lots of colors. It's all about the colors this season. Back when I started designing, I used a lot of stones and thread. Now, I'm using very high-end stones and mixing these stones with organic materials like wood and leather. I'm mixing my signature elements with an organic look. You're definitely going to see more color in this collection.
CM: Where did you find inspiration for your designs?
CL: I find inspiration in everyday things. This past summer, I didn't travel a lot. I was at my design studio in San Antonio and I had no new ideas. I felt like I was drying. I didn't know what I was going to do until I had a trip to a trunk show. The retail customers, they feed me. I came back from the trip, and I was so ready. I knew exactly what I was going to do. So, the women, they inspire me.
CM: What are three key accessories women should have in their wardrobe this season?
CL: Every woman should own a good pair of hoops. Hoop earrings are essential for every season. A long chain and a beautiful bracelet is also must.
CM: Do you have any personal style icons? Anyone's style that you admire?
CL: Eva Longoria. She wears a lot of our jewelry. I love her style because she doesn't only wear fancy, expensive things. She mixes it up. She can wear an H&M dress and wear it well. She makes anything look great. But I believe that every woman is beautiful. I always find something stylish in everyone.
CM: How did your jewelry get featured on Desperate Housewives?
CL: I met Eva Longria in San Antonio. She came into our flagship store back in 2005, when she had just started doing Desperate Housewives. She liked everything in the store, and she suggested that I meet the stylist of the show since a lot of the pieces were her style. The next day, she flew me to LA and introduced me to stylist, Cate Adair, and Cate started buying for the show.
At the end, she said that it was the jewelry she used most for the show. Every Sunday, we had something sent to the set.
CM: What can we expect next from Claudia Lobão Designs?
CL: I would like to start a dog collar line. Jewelry for dogs. My husband and I have two dogs that we adopted, and we love them. I think my customers would like that. I would also love to create handbags in the future.