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Designer Files: Trisha Laurel

When you can count A-listers Vivica A. Fox and Sarah Jessica Parker as fans, you know you've got it going on.

Yet Torontonian Trisha Laurel, an up-and-coming jewelry designer, remains modest to a fault. Her funky, bold designs caught my eye--and drained my wallet (sigh)--at this year's Clothing Show. From silk scarves to cocoa shells to antique beads, all are fair game for Laurel's beautiful pieces. As I prattled and raved about her work, the young designer--she of the easy smile and effortless grace--laughed off the compliments. Turns out I'm not this it girl's only not-so-secret admirer. Hell, Parker loved one of her TL pieces so much that she personally called Laurel to gush about it.

Not bad for someone who just stumbled into the field.

Here's a little Q&A with the budding belle of baubles and beads.

Can you briefly describe your path to becoming a jewelry designer?
I couldn't find anything really unique when it came to jewelry. I found that the jewelry sold in most stores was very generic. I have a love for vintage anything. So I thought as I was scouring the racks of a Value Village that I might be able to find some unique pieces of jewelry. I did but it was dated, so I re-constructed the piece and voila! Trisha Laurel Designs was born.

How would you describe your pieces and your collections?
My pieces are bold with daring proportions and I try to make versatile pieces that can be worn many ways. My collections have a great colour range and always follow the trends.

What is your design philosophy?
The bigger the better! My jewelry is for people who aren't afraid to be individuals.

Your formal training is in make-up art. How do you think that background has influenced your jewelry designs?
My training in make-up has definitely influenced my jewelry designs with knowing how to combine colour combinations. I have an extended colour theory background not just in make-up but in the arts as well.

Where do you draw inspiration from?
From the fashion runways in Europe.

Any favourite designers/places/music/artists/anything that have been instrumental in shaping your creative vision?
I loved watching Sex and the City and seeing all the great combinations the stylists came up with, they really pushed the envelope and took a risk of stepping outside the box. The same goes for my jewelry. I would like to encourage people to step outside the boundaries of what they would normally wear.

Which parts of Toronto, if any, inspire you? Why?
Queen Street for the same reasons as the answer above.

How much do you pay attention to trends in the industry versus going with your gut instinct and designing simply what you want, regardless of marketplace trends?
I do follow trends but I definitely make them my own. I guess it's a mix of both following the trends and going with my gut instinct.

Being an independent jewelry designer, what is the major challenge for you on a day-to-day basis?
Making all that jewelry by hand, by me!

Favourite pastime?
Reading

Where do you like to shop for your own clothing and jewelry?
For clothing, I love Debbie Shuchat, a Toronto designer who now resides in Montreal. For jewelry, I only wear my own.

What's next for Trisha Laurel? Anything new and exciting coming up?
A new website and "Latte", a summer 2006 collection, with colours of chocolate brown, bone and gold chain. Also, as always, my "Three in One Scarf Necklaces" in summer colours.

This is hot stuff. Hubba hubba.

Check it out for yourself: www.trishalaureldesigns.com.


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