Winifred Grace Jewelry embodies beautifully simple, yet modern jewelry that combines an elegant edge of nature inspired colors and designs for a truly magnificent outcome. Using a variety of oxidized metals, fresh water pearls, and Swarovski crystal rhinestones in pale pinks, blues, and opals, this inventive jewelry designer is definitely onto to something quite extraordinary. Using rich colors and textures, each season Winifred Gundeck renegotiates art, nature, and the feminine mystique to create her exclusive collections for which she is now a recipient of The Fashion Group International's Rising Star. I had the opportunity to interview the up and coming jewelry designer to discover some of the brilliance behind her work.
1. Tell us about your current collection.
WG: I am currently working on Winter/Holiday 2009 which incorporates many muted, subtle neutral tones indicative of the season. Smokey, sexy, soft and romantic in color paired with the oxidized chains to give it that harder, more modern edge. I'm really excited about this particular collection!
2. What inspires you the most? I've read that you gain great inspiration from nature. How are elements of nature incorporated into this season's collection?
WG: The colors I have chosen are very natural and soft. The fringe that I create with the different rhinestone chains is reminiscent of many of the repetitive lush patterns & texture found in nature. I am also incorporating large asymmetrical Swarovski crystal pendants which are cut in such a way that they appear to have just been uncovered from some amazing source and polished up for use. There is raw quality to their shape, while the perfectly polished surface lends itself to luxury.
3. Who are your personal style icons?
WG: My maternal grandmother was always a personal style icon for me. She always dressed in a very free, youthful and creative way. Nothing was ever too restrictive, but always had a great element of style. Massive amounts of ethnic, handmade jewelry she had procured from her travels around the world, paired with a feminine silk blouse, trousers and men's shoes. It was a great mix of feminine & soft paired with practical & masculine. VERY Annie Hall. She never ever thought of her self as old, and it showed in how she dressed. I really miss her.
4. How would you describe your personal style?
WG: On any given day in the summer I can be found in flip flops or the classic dr. scholl's. I have a closet FULL of safari sleeved shirts. Praire skirts. I wear less pants, and more skirts – although I do have a pair of bell bottomed painter pants that I can't seem to get enough of. There is a STRONG influence of the early 70s, and though I LOVE pattern in my home, I mostly wear solid colors. In my every day life, I am quite casual – but when I do get dressed up there is a very strong GATSBY influence. 1920s, flapper girl – long necklaces, long dresses, subtle sexy curves and shape. This shows up in the jewelry I design.
5. What has been the most rewarding part of your career as a jewelry designer thus far?
WG: Every time someone buys a piece of my jewelry. Every time a store places an order. That reassurance that what I am creating is something people actually want. And then developing long lasting relationships with those people – that is quite rewarding. Also, when I look back to what the business used to be and where it is now it is extremely satisfying to know that I did it all on my own! What has been the most challenging? I probably spend about 5% of my time actually designing jewelry and the rest of my time is spent running and managing the business. This has been extremely challenging, but maybe one of the most rewarding parts. I wasn't trained in business, but it is exciting to learn.
6. Who would you like see wearing Winifred Grace Jewelry?
WG: Women, any age, who care about fashion, art, other cultures, and being good people.
As told by Winifred Gundeck to Courtney Peterson