LOS ANGELES — “She’s boutique and I’m art studio.” That’s how L.A.-based jewelry designer Annie Costello Brown comes down on her personal style versus that of her friend Desiree Kohan, owner of the Des Kohan boutique.
The two L.A. tastemakers (Brown is wearing a vintage tablecloth skirt and a Guatemalan blouse from the thrift store, and Kohan is in lacy shorts by Damir Doma, a designer line carried in her store) have joined forces to create a new 20-piece collection of jewelry named Deer.
“It’s a mixture of what we like,” explains Brown, who has her own namesake jewelry collection as well as having guest-designed for the likes of Yves Saint Laurent and Creatures of the Wind.
Deer is interesting in that it incorporates industrial-looking materials - leather, brass tubes, mixed chains and washers - but in a decidedly dainty way.
Kohan, who was a trend forecaster for brands such as Prada and Gucci before opening her boutique in 2005, has built her business on her ability to teach clients how to incorporate into their daily lives clothing by avant-garde local and European designers such as Juan Carlos Obando, Preen, Hussein Chalayan and Sharon Wauchob.
That thoughtful approach to building a wardrobe factored into the design of Deer. “The pieces are very much inspired by styling, because they are designed to be worn and used in multiple ways,” she says.
The “cobra” necklace ($298), for example, consists of a snakeskin tube and a chain of coins that can be pulled apart and worn as a choker and bracelet. A draped chain necklace ($358) is shown with a mixed metal, brass tube choker ($186) sold separately. There are also bracelets ($128) with subtle vintage brass bullet-shaped beads that can be worn in multiples.
But the most stunning piece may be the mixed shells and stone necklace ($568), with brass drops, malachite, turquoise, lapis and coral details. The three strands can be worn separately or together.
“I think people are going toward more delicate, special pieces,” Kohan says, running her fingers over one of the coin bracelets. An idea is sparked. “Oh, my God, we should do anklets!” she says to Brown, who is in agreement. “High-five on that!”
Deer, $135 to $795, is available at Des Kohan, 671 Cloverdale Ave. in Los Angeles, and at www.deskohan.com.