SPEECH jewelry

SPEECH jewelry by Michael Mercanti

SPEECH jewelry looks like it could cut a bitch. Michael Mercanti launched his fall/winter 2010 collection, "Paradise Lost," at Carte Blanche last week, showing an accomplished -- if dangerous-looking -- line of chunky silver jewelry twisted into thorns, crosses, and other religious iconography.

SPEECH jewelrySPEECH jewelrySPEECH jewelry

The diminutive designer was impeccably turned out himself in one of the new linen man-ponchos from Carte Blanche's fun new Cult de Laissez Faire line ("we had to shorten it about nine inches for him!" chuckled Carte Blanche co-owner and Cult co-designer Daniel Augustino).

It's always nice to see a well-dressed designer, and meet one who is so down-to-earth, and even shy (the line is titled SPEECH, as an affectionate nod to his own stutter), especially when the collection is definitely of the in-your-face variety. I kinda like the juxtaposition; it keeps you on your toes.

Michael MercantiMichael MercantiMichael Mercanti

I chatted with Mercanti who is a visual merchandiser by day ("Don't say where I work!" he whispered), and crafts his dark pieces by night. He was shy about his work, which started out as a hobby.

Now he's rocked some silversmithing courses and studied under local jeweler Claude Abitteau, before starting up a line for real.

The Paradise Lost collection had some lovely pieces, including a trapeze necklace out of a thick, thorny rose-stem; cross pendants twisted from nails; and thorn rings, along with an assortment of skull necklaces. It was a bit of a heavy collection, but there was a nimbleness and chicness to the line, too, that would let them work as statement pieces even on a less-punky person.

"It's a little dark," Mercanti smiled. "I'm a happy person, but I just make dark jewelry."

Michael MercantiMichael MercantiMichael MercantiMichael MercantiMichael Mercanti

Photos by Jonathan Loek.


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