Lizzie Fortunato has blossomed from homemade jewelry by two sisters into a bona fide modern brand. Designer Lizzie Fortunato began making her own jewelry at Duke University, where fellow students would scoop up her eclectic wares. In New York, success was swift and her sister Kathryn joined to run business and operations.
The jewelry is instantly eclectic with its combination of found and precious materials and objects from the pair’s travels. The collection has evolved into a concept encompassing leather accessories, bags, and a unique curation of home goods. One early fall evening, we stopped by Kathryn and Lizzie’s charming townhouse in Clinton Hill for a refreshing Aperol Spritz and a candid conversation with the sisters about their vibrant style. -Jenna Fain for The Stone Set
Lizzie Fortunato: I am wearing a perforated leather shirt from Suno. I love Suno’s textures and prints, and while I typically wear solid collars (and lots of black and navy!), if I’m in a color or a print then chances are it’s Suno! We’ve also collaborated with Max and Erin on the brand’s runway jewelry for several seasons in the past so I have a great personal connection to them as well. The denim skirt is a no-name piece that I picked up from a little store on the Lower East Side. I live in skirts in the summer (a lot of Apiece Apart, Hache, 3.1 Phillip Lim, and another Objects Without Meaning denim one that I wear to work at least once a week). The shoes are old Pedro Garcia that I got at Elyse Walker in Santa Monica—they’re insanely comfortable. The belt is a recent purchase from Ann Mashburn, who makes the most cool and classic pieces. I’m obsessed with the big brass buckle. My necklace is the Arena Necklace which is new for FW15 and a style that I’ve been living in. On a daily basis I gravitate towards the really solid, chunky pieces (friends joke that I dress like a crazy art teacher) and for dress up I’m all about big earrings. My bracelet is the class T-Bar Cuff; it’s one of the few styles we repeat between seasons and this one is set with Black Onyx, which goes with just about everything. Rings are also a new addition to Lizzie Fortunato for FW15. This one is called the Mountain Ring, and I love the scale of it. I don’t have slender fingers so find this heavier statement ring to be more flattering. In the second image I am wearing the Gilded Pendant Necklace. I love that it’s adjustable though I have to say I’d probably always wear it long. I think there’s something so cool and hippie-ish about wearing a pendant on a long cord and I can see this layered with other strands of beads as well!
Kathryn Fortunato: I am wearing a Phillip Lim shirt, Ann Mashburn skirt, Robert Clergerie heels and the Lizzie Fortunato Medina necklace. I love simple, “clean” clothing layered with a statement necklace or cuff to make the outfit. Phillip Lim and Apiece Apart are favorite designers for their great tailoring and easy mixing/matching (especially in the case of Apiece Apart – it’s their entire brand ethos). The shoes were a birthday present from Lizzie and are the perfect work heel—not too high so I can run around the city in them for a 12-hour day. I tend to prefer wearing on top of a shirt/dress, as opposed to on skin, so this boxy top is the perfect summer-to-fall piece and pairs well with so many of our statement pieces.
Lizzie: We made Aperol Spritzes at my home in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. I have only lived in Clinton Hill for a year—I was a Manhattan girl for 10 years! Five of which I spent in a little gem on Crosby Street. It was a tiny walkup but had so much charm and the location was incredible. I swore I’d never leave SoHo but after a week in Clinton Hill I was trying to figure out what took me so long! I love the treelined blocks of our neighborhood and that it’s still up-and-coming. Walking around on weekends and “discovering” new little bars and restaurants is such a treat. Not to mention the upgrade in space; I finally have room for a large dinner table which has made entertaining so much easier. Aperol Spritz is my go-to summertime drink—it’s refreshing, cirtrus-y, and not terribly strong; plus it’s my favorite color! My approach to them is fairly straightforward: equal parts Prosecco and Aperol topped with club soda and an orange slice over ice.
Kathryn: I think Lizzie covered this well! But I will add that Lizzie and I both live in Clinton Hill where we have apartments filled with treasures from our travel and artwork that inspires us. And the best part of our newfound space since moving to Clinton Hill is that we’re able to host friends for dinner parties on a very regular basis. And for the summer, those are often kicked off with an Aperol Spritz—Lizzie’s and my favorite summer cocktail. We travel often; our accessories collections are regularly inspired by different places, cultures and native craftwork (including Morocco, Japan, Tortola, Mexico City) and we have been collecting textiles, artwork, ceramics and other art objects from the places we visit. With that we launched Fortune Finds last fall; curated and collected home items that we sell on our website as an extension of the Lizzie Fortunato accessories world. Lizzie’s apartment is a treasure trove of Fortune Finds. They all seem to fit together perfectly and some of my favorite pieces include: the Moroccan Rug in her living room, the Anna Topuriya drawing on her mantle, Object & Totem ceramics, the Pat Dougherty photograph above her bed and the one-of-a-kind pillows on her living room sofa that we made using Italian leathers and Peruvian textiles.
Lizzie: I have on some different stud earrings, none of which are mine, but all of which are from designer friends that I admire. The small hoop is Love Adorned; the little shark’s tooth is from my friend Sara Beltran of Dezso; the diamond sticks are Satomi Kawokita (purchased at Steven Alan) and the eye is Lena Wald, an LA based designer. The diamond sticks and Lena Wald diamond eye stud were all gifts from my boyfriend. The simple gold bracelet on my right wrist was a gift from my mom on the day of college graduation; it’s so special because her parents gave it to her on her college graduation day… I don’t think i’ve taken it off since then. The other item that I wear daily (and feel naked with out) is the big rose gold ring that I wear on my right hand middle finger. It was my maternal grandmother’s engagement ring and was actually passed down to her from mother. I love how contemporary and unique it is — so untraditional and cool and such a wonderful reminder of my ever-stylish, incredible grandmother. The ring on my left hand middle finger was a recent gift from my best friend on her wedding day. Kathryn and I were her bridesmaids and the three diamonds represent our friendship since elementary school—the inside is engraved with “Life & Love,” lyrics from one of our favorite songs and words that have guided us growing up together.
I don’t have rules or a philosophy for jewelry. I am not one of those people who necessarily believes that more is more, or one of those people that believes you have to take something off before leaving the house…I think jewelry is so personal and really reflects your mood and therefore I think it’s hard to have steadfast rules. Some days I’m feeling bold and I wear a huge necklace over a printed shirt. Many days, spent at meetings and in the studio it’s a simpler necklace with a few bracelets. And for evening, it’s usually always earrings. There is something about short hair and earrings that I really like when dressing up. With all that said, I love mixing it up and I think one’s approach to jewelry should be as personal and creative as possible. The less rules the better.
Kathryn: The FW15 Medina Necklace is a personal favorite. Lizzie designed this following our October trip to Morocco where she was inspired by the incredible sights, smells and colors of the Souk. I love this necklace because despite being big and busy, it is incredibly wearable. The black plexi cuff is our Postmodern Cuff. We created this in clear for SS15 and it got such a great response that we re-colored it in the smokey gray for FW15. I love how mod it is and feel like it’s such a statement that I don’t need to wear any other jewelry with it. The gold necklace is our Crystal Palace necklace and is incredibly multi-faceted. The piece comes with 3 gold / crystal pendants that can be slid off the wire collar which can be plain or with one, two, or three of the pendants on it depending on the level of statement you’re looking to make! The middle pendant also doubles as a pin which I am envisioning wearing with a navy blazer for fall.
Photography by Emerald Carroll for The Stone Set