With all the massive multi-brand conglomerates and supersized fast-fashion companies looming large over the global style industry, the small, independent thinkers are becoming more of a rarity everyday. One such thinker is American jeweler Gerard Yosca. Designing sculptural, wearable costume jewelry for over thirty years, a staunch believer in producing his collections on home turf (Made-In-USA), a long-time member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America and just an all-around nice guy, Yosca is still doing it his way, quietly hammering away in his artisans’ studio in the heart of New York City’s garment center. Yosca’s approach to jewelry design is organic, crafting pieces with his hands and personally sculpting his own wax molds. Admitting that jewelry design chose him, rather than the other way around, he found his entree to the medium via belts. A design graduate of Parson’s School of Design, he switched from graphic design and advertising to fashion. Completely self-taught in jewelry design, he set out to make his mark at the height of accessory excess, the 1980’s.
A lot has certainly changed since those early days, but Yosca seems to be in a good place. Shifting gears this season from his signature multi-faceted boldly colored pieces, Yosca felt it was time to pare down and create pieces with real longevity, pieces that women would wear over and over again with ease. Frankly, he was also tired of the over-the-top statement necklaces that have recently dominated the fashion landscape. Enough already. Titled ‘Powerball’, the Winter 2014 collection focuses on clean, sculptured domes, discs and tear-drops shapes. Shiny, hammered gold, oxidized silver and rose gold evokes a Studio 54 energy with a sophisticated, modern restraint. Peppered with rhinestones, druzy and hand-distressed crystals, this is a collection that could live seamlessly in every woman’s wardrobe.
When I have the opportunity, and because I’m always curious, I like to ask designers what women need in their wardrobes and what’s missing for most of us. Yosca’s response was interesting and not something I expected. For him, women should always, always have that one (or two, or three…) piece that is totally insane, something that is truly fabulous and reflects the outer edges of their style. Think of it as your ‘piece de resistance’, something that no one else will have. I’m on board with that! Yosca would also like to see women doing more of their own thing, exploring and developing their own personal style rather than following the pack. Injecting wit and personality top his list of style-musts, including of course, wearing fabulous jewelry and wearing it fearlessly.
Not surprisingly, Yosca is an admirer of Ancient Egyptian jewelry, which can be detected in his consistent use of metal as a key element. On the other end of the spectrum he is also keen to cite his love of Victorian Mourning Jewelry, with such talismanic oddities like locks of hair from the dearly departed and dates marking their deaths. Allowing inspiration to pop in from many unexpected sources keeps the door open to spontaneous ideas and new gestures in the design process.
After three decades of creating you'd think Yosca might have done it all, but not so. On his list of must-do's would be to open his own boutique, a jewel-box of a shop housing all of his collections. Yosca also dreams of venturing into handcrafting table-top accessories, utilizing his skill as a talented metal-worker with signature touches of crystals and colored jewels.
One thing's for sure, Yosca's passion for creating seems unwavering. It's exciting to see each collection and in turn be inspired by one of New York City's own incredible independents, and that's why he's The Accessoteur Of The Week.
The Gerard Yosca Collection is available at Anthropologie - NYC & Chicago, Lulu Brandt - Pasadena, CA, Julian Gold - Austin, TX and Eliza Page - Houston, TX.