New York City designer Laura Lombardi credits the internet with the success of her sculptural, raw brass-based jewelry label. What started as a “side project” after Lombardi defected from art school boomed as soon as her pieces hit the Web, and she’s worked as a jewelry designer ever since.
Her eponymous brand is known for its “simple, but bold style,” as Lombardi describes it. “It can qualify as statement jewelry,” the designer explains, “but it’s super pared-down and really raw and versatile. It’s meant to be interpreted in a number of different ways.” She cites classical and fine art references in her work, but wants it to “fit into the reality of daily life somewhere like New York.”
It’s a narrative that’s reflective of Lombardi’s upbringing and lifestyle. “My dad is from Italy and continues to live there. My mom is American and continues to live here,” she says. “And so I was raised in between both places, which is definitely one of the things that’s played a large role in forming my aesthetic and shaping my identity.”
Below, the artist turned jewelry designer spoke to the Cut about graduating from ear plugs to sculptural earrings, her lipstick obsession, and her fashion uniform. Read on for the full Q&A.
How do you thank people for a gift?
Immediately on the spot, a smile and a hug, and usually later a text, and occasionally a handwritten note.
Color or no color on your nails?
Color, always. I go for a lot of muted neutrals. Right now, I’m also into this kind of burnt orange, brown kind of shade. I’m really into OPI’s “It’s a Piazza Cake.”
Mood lighting or natural light?
What are five coffee-table books that you’d be proud to display?
I have so many. I’m a little obsessed with photography books. The Japanese Photography Book, Peter Hujar’s Night, Sentimental Journey by Nobuyoshi Araki, and Carlo Mollino’s Polaroids.
I also just picked up a book by Luigi Ghirri.
What would you never wear?
My style has evolved so much in so many different ways. I don’t know if I say never to anything, but I’m a little shy when it comes to patterns.
What’s a trend that you like right now?
I’m obsessed with all things miniature so I’m really enjoying this tiny bag moment.
What’s your favorite song on your playlist right now?
It’s an old one, but a good one — “Tears of a Clown” by Gigi Masin.
If you were a car, what kind of car would you be?
I don’t know anything about cars at all. I’m picturing something vintage; maybe between the ’60s and ’80s and white.
No makeup-makeup, or actually no makeup?
I actually just prefer makeup. NARS, Milk, M.A.C, and I’m really into having fun with skin care and trying new lip colors. My favorites right now are Glossier’s Leo, M.A.C’s Sending Love, 3CE’s Focus on Me, NARS’ Leslie, and Balmain x L’Oréal’s Confidence.
What’s one way your taste has changed since you were a teenager and one way has it stayed the same?
I’ve taken out my plugs and my septum ring, but I still basically live in black jeans and a sweatshirt.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
I generally try to avoid coffee and processed foods or prepackaged foods. When I’m in a moment of stress, I’ll definitely go down to the deli and grab a super-sweet coffee with a bag of Reese’s Pieces. It’s a great combo.
What are your favorite accounts to follow on Instagram?
Right now, I really like @sculpting_in_time, @adriannaglaviano’s
photography, @house_of_ruin tattoos, and @thankyou_ok.
What’s the last show you binge-watched?
I can’t really fit much binge-watching in my schedule these days, but I’m enjoying watching The Assassination of Gianni Versace when I have a minute. It’s so good.
What is your favorite …
Pair of jeans?
I love the Eckhaus Latta wide leg jeans. The fit is great.
I really love the T-shirts that my friends at the Great Eros make. They’re super soft, and I like how they’re a little sheer, and just they come in a bunch of great shapes. I really like the little mock neck turtleneck that they do the most.
I don’t really do pajamas. I don’t have a lot of time for lounging so they don’t really fit into the equation.
I love black calla lilies — the shape, the color, how you don’t even need to do that many. Just one in a vase is really elegant.
I love anything gianduja; Venchi is one of my favorites.
I have a couple. I really love Rose Noir by Byredo and I love Diptyque’s Oud, but I also just layer on a bunch of essential oils if I’m feeling that that day.
Living Libations tinted lip balm. I love that it’s organic, I love how smooth it feels, the tint is perfect, it smells great, and it’s not waxy at all.
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