FIVE MINUTES WITH GERARD YOSCA
Restraint isn't in this legendary
jewelry designer's vocabulary, but longevity is
By MATTIE ROBERTS
“The only faux pas with jewelry is not wearing any.”
This from the man who, over two decades, has designed some of the most lavish, earth, modern and baroque jewelry in fashion today.
The designer is Gerard Yosca, and if the description seems a bit contradictory, check out his work at Sakes Fifth Avenue, Tootsies or www.hairboutique.com.
Mr. Yosca held court in Dallas at the Fashion Industry Gallery’s recent market, showing pieces from his Spring 2005 collection in the Julie Hall Gallery.
As a veteran of the design world and a member of the board of directors of the Council of fashion Designers of America, Mr. Yosca has seen it all and has some very clear advice for designers just starting out.
F!D: What mistakes do you think some young designers make?
Mr. Yosca: I’m not going to say names, but this applies to several new, young designers. They can sometimes be elevated too quickly perhaps because a fashion editor likes them and pronounces them “the next best thing.”
Being plucked from obscurity can actually work against the designer because you are the sum of your experiences. You need to build your way gradually in this business. Without that seasoning, the product may not have longevity. We are craftsmen, and it’s important for young designers to remember that. It can take years to develop a look. After 25 years’ designing, I’m still refining my look.
F!D: Do you jot down ideas and send them off to be made?
Mr. Yosca: Oh, no! I’m in there with a saw, a file and a blowtorch making the models. We had years when we couldn’t afford a model maker – the pasta years – so I learned to do it myself.
F!D: You have been running that business with your wife of 18 years, Susan. How do you run the company, and how do you manage not to kill each other?
Mr. Yosca: We have very clearly defined roles. I am the broad strokes person, and she does the fine strokes, although she also helps with design.
F!D: So you’re the diva, and she tidies up after you?
Mr. Yosca: Exactly. She’s so good at the business part. And we have learned not to bring work home with us. But we do run the business like a family. Everyone is respected. I take it as an honor that I provide for the families of the people who work for me.
F!D: Speaking of family, is your 14-year-old daughter into fashion?
Mr. Yosca: Oh, she has such amazing style. The other day she had on a T-shirt that said “Happiness is a drug-free preschool,” an old, big pearl necklace and converse sneakers. She looked fabulous.
F!D: But do you ever do the dad thing: “Young lady you are not going out of the house in that!”?
Mr. Yosca: I do say, “Isn’t that shirt a little tight?” and we don’t let her wear anything low-cut. But I did say she could do anything she wanted with her hair, so she had Day-glo green extensions at one point. Sometimes she’ll pile on $2,000 worth of my bracelets, and we just love it. She’s an extraordinary human being, the best person I know.
F!D: You have collaborated with several clothing designers; recently, the jewelry you did for the Tracy Reese show was a huge hit. How did that collaboration come about?
Mr. Yosca: I’ve known Tracy for years. She called me and said she wanted me to do the jewelry for her show. So I asked her what she had in mind, and she said wood. Well, we have exactly the same vision. So we ended up doing beautifully carved and polished wood with turquoise and crystal. Very organic and earthy and so spiritual.
F!D: What is stylish to you?
Mr. Yosca: I think it’s important to break up a look. You don’t ever want to wear a whole look, say Prada, head to toe. You need one thing that’s just a little weird, a little off.
And please, wear a good bag, shoes and jewelry. It’s all about the accessories. Let your personality shine through. Don’t wear a piece if you don’t think it’s just fabulous.
F!D: On a personal note, is there any limit to how much jewelry you should wear?
Mr. Yosca: Not really. If you want to be bold, be bold! Unless it impedes motor function, then it’s probably too much.