Paige Novick has a knack for imperfection. Whether she’s arranging a plunging necklace or crafting a knockout ring, the jewelry designer embraces each flaw in her roughly cut quartzes, oxidized metals and natural stones. And it is, in fact, this emphasis on the irregular that makes her newly launched self-titled line so enticing.
A native New Yorker, Paige’s relationship with fashion is a curious one. With a jewelry designer for a mother, a father in textiles and a grandmother who Paige describes as a “pioneer of statement jewelry,” one would assume that her childhood was filled with games of dress-up and experiments in adornment. This was most definitely not the case: “I had zero interest to the point where it was embarrassing,” she recalls.
Nonetheless, fashion was in her blood, and destiny. A student of French and Art History, Paige was enrolled in summer graduate courses at Paris’ Le Sorbonne when an internship at Chanel came calling: “Karl Lagerfeld needed someone to help dress the models for fashion week and I…wanted a more well-rounded education, so I just took it and then I was 21 working with Karl Lagerfeld.” Well, sort of…“I was the assistant to the assistant to the assistant to the assistant, but he was around. And it was crazy.”
So crazy that Paige dove into a career in fashion. She went from working in Cotton Inc.’s fashion library to launching her own upscale handbag and accessories line, Frou by Paige Novick. But after ten years, intuition told her it was time for a change:
“I just didn’t want to go back into handbags at that moment. There was something that just felt fresher and newer to me… so I tried to marry my knowledge and experience with leather and hardware into something that I would wear on my body, as opposed to on my shoulder.”
Built on a platform of paradox, duality and, of course, imperfection, Paige’s line grew from a leather bracelet to a series of elegant statement pieces, each of which exudes an easy air of nonchalance: “It’s not fussy…there’s a certain casualness, randomness,” the designer says of her uniquely-cut stones and loosely layered chains.
The designer’s artistic influences range from architecture to Abstract Expressionism (she has an affinity for the shades of Mark Rothko’s soothing paintings). She adores the masculine versus feminine qualities of Helmut Newton photographs and succeeds in recreating this classic contrast in her work. Heavy metals, fine golds, semiprecious stones and Tahitian pearls come together to create a look that is at once strong, confident, flirtatious and seductive.
One of the most unusual aspect of Paige’s designs is her insignia: a sweetly sculpted snail found on most of her pieces: “I really liked the sculptural element, and I don’t think it is an ubiquitous icon; it’s not like you see it everywhere. It’s feminine and it stands for this steadfast determination. And it’s graceful. It just resonated for me.”
Perched on the top of fringed black diamond earrings or standing alone as a belt buckle, the quirky snail is the essence of Paige Novick, the jewelry line; it is also a representation of Paige Novick, the woman. While she describes herself as quite “imperfect” and even “a bit disheveled,” she infuses each of her pieces with her delightful flaws, strength and vibrancy: “I like to show that there’s beauty to [imperfection]. A lot of my stones have natural inclusions. They’re not perfect stones. But that’s what gives them character.”