clos-ette case: Kara Ross

Posted on April 02, 2012 by Melanie Charlton

Jewelry and accessories designer Kara Ross embodies a style dictum that we’ve long preached: accessories can make the outfit (and take up a heck of a lot less closet space, to boot). Ms. Ross’s gorgeous designs are particularly well-suited for the task of statement-making: her geometric, gemstone-bedeck baubles are at once edgy and classic, while her collection of exotic-skin belts, clutches and handbags are nothing less than swoon-worthy. As for her serious celebrity following? Well, if it’s good enough for the likes of J.Lo, Oprah, and Michelle Obama, it’s good enough for us. Here, the New York-based Ross gives us a peek inside her closet and talks inspiration, jewelry organization, and more.
clos-ette case: Kara Ross
Kara Ross' celebrity dream closet

How would you describe your personal style?

Comfortable and fashionable. Style without overwhelming the personality.

What’s your daily uniform?

I love Dries Van Noten, and I wear my jewelry. My looks are accessories-driven because I am very passionate about jewelry, and because stylish accents that ‘make the look’ work for me.

What’s your favorite piece of style advice?

“Think of yourself as a beautiful painting and don’t let the frame overwhelm you.”

 valet rod in Kara Ross' celebrity dream closet

Ross's 'closet with a view'

What inspires your designs?

Many things: art, architecture, my trips. I am a fan of Sir Norman Foster, Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas, David Childs, Frank Gehry and Santiago Calatrava. I love Francis Bacon’s paintings. My latest fall/ winter 2012 KARA by Kara Ross Collection is inspired by Morocco. It pays tribute to age-old techniques of Moroccan craftsmen who have been making detailed necklaces, bracelets and earrings out of silver, gold and precious stones for centuries. We have multi-color versions of scarabs throughout the new collection. The elaborate scarabs in onyx, malachite, hematite, amethyst and Tiger's Eye are enhanced by the richness of different textures in various lizard and python skins and ebony resin. The Gemstone Collection is all about precious gemstones – it’s classic, timeless.

Bangles from KARA by Kara Ross

Your best tips for keeping your jewelry organized?

Never put your costume jewelry with your precious pieces. Keep them in jewelry boxes by category. Elaborate pieces get their own boxes – nothing is tangled together ever. Jewelry is art – treat it like you would a Picasso painting. I know it sounds dramatic but I really think this is the only way. [We completely agree - which is why our Travel Jewelry Case has handy separate compartments for every type of jewelry].

What’s your favorite sartorial –or jewelry – memory?

I know I have said it many times, but my ultimate memory goes back to when I was 15 years old and my parents took my sister, Keeneh, and I on a safari in Kenya. We went to look at gemstones when we were there. My parents let us each pick two stones, and I chose two emerald-cut green tourmaline gemstones. When we got back to Philadelphia, my parents took us down to “Jewelers Row” to a jeweler my mother had worked with before on her pieces. We were able to design our own rings, and were involved in the wax process, picking accent stones, etc. It was an amazing experience. I still have the ring and love it.

One of many stunning exotic clutches from the Kara Ross Collection 

Whose closet would you raid if you could?

Oh, this is tough! There are, and there were, so many amazing women! Maria Callas, Marlene Dietrich...but I would definitely want to look into the closet and jewelry boxes of  my favorite jewelry designer, Suzanne Belperron. She was a great Parisian jeweler, born in 1900s. She was known for her bold use of stones. I love the fact that she was a strong successful woman during a time when women were not private business-owners or designers. She was a strong, creative, independent thinker.  

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