As I mentioned in my previous post, few things top an eye-catching statement necklace when it comes to dressing up for the holidays. But while my budget is more H&M than haute creation, those who consider themselves costume jewelry connoisseurs need look no further than Canadian designer Alan Anderson. Anderson's bold bijoux have been spotted on the red carpet (Viola Davis wore one of his necklaces at the London premiere of The Help), magazine covers (Katy Perry on the cover of Italian Vogue)--and perhaps most thrilling of all--amidst Elizabeth Taylor's vast collection of jewels on auction at Christie's. I caught up with Anderson while he was visiting Holt Renfrew in September and had a chance to ask him about everything, from his beginnings as a jewelry designer to his fascination with Hollywood.
Humble beginnings: A self-described "A-type personality," Anderson pursued a career in design and visual display for 20 years and collected vintage costume jewelry as a hobby before becoming a self-taught, full-time designer. A chance meeting with another designer led to him buying vintage jewelry-making components from a Rhode Island wholesaler. He then spent hours experimenting at his kitchen table, learning how to weld and solder. "Some of [the pieces] along the way were distasters, and a couple pieces turned out really good," he recalls. After another 1-2 years of experimentation, he was turning out fairly good pieces that he gave away as gifts. As more people began wearing Anderson's pieces, the word-of-mouth buzz around his designs grew.
So what attracts him to costume jewelry as opposed to fine jewelry? "The size! I don't believe in small or subtle."
The inspirations behind his latest collection: The textiles and vivid colours of India, particularly those he spotted while walking through Little India in Toronto. Anderson also draws a lot of inspiration from Old Hollywood films and actresses.
When he's not making jewelry, he can be found... reading historical books and biographies ("I'm an information junkie"), or cooking (his specialty is anything baked, and he makes his own jams and preserves).
Look for Alan Anderson's jewelry at Holt Renfrew.