We fell in love with Lizzie Fortunato's Fall 2011 jewels the moment we saw them in her Lower East Side studio. When Lizzie's twin, Kathryn, showed us the images for their Fall 2011 lookbook, we enchanted by the watercolor images that set the background for the brand's feather, enamel, and metal baubles.
Kathryn told us the artist was Bernadette Pascua, who we'd previously profiled during Fashion Week. We caught up with the illustrator behind the beautiful blog, Decade, for some details about the project.
ThreadNY: What was your jumping off point for Lizzie Fortunato's lookbook?
Bernadette Pascua: The collection was still in its beginning stages when Lizzie and I met, but she already knew that she wanted a focus on a dark, earthy, magical 70's vibe. We decided the watercolors would play off of that and accent the jewelry with ombre washes, patterns, and pops of color.
The lookbook was entitled The Old Laughing Lady. Did you listen to Neil Young as you painted?
Yes! Lizzie and Kathryn had me paint in their studio and we listened to a lot of Neil Young, which I didn't mind at all. I'm such a Neil Young nerd, I own all of his records on vinyl and my blog is partially named after his record set, Decade. I'm saving up to buy a giant 1971 Henry Diltz photograph of him with his dog on a ranch to hang over my Dining Room table. I love love love Neil Young, he will forever remain as one of my all time favorites.
These paintings were different than some of your other fashion illustrations in the sense that they collaborated with photos of the clothes/accessories, rather than representing them. Was that challenging?
I'm always looking to do projects that are different, I liked that the look book wasn't so literal where I was just drawing a piece of jewelry. The real challenge was working up the dimensional space that the jewelry was presented in, it was definitely fun building up all of the layers and props because each set up seemed to become it's own little world.
Did each watercolor correspond to a particular piece of jewelry as you worked?
The watercolors were just based on Lizzie's inspiration notes, most of the jewelry I had not seen. The beauty of watercolor is that the results are always really spontaneous with its shape, irregularities, and tones of color. We wanted the look book to reflect off that playfulness and whim; we didn't want it so matchy and structured, so nothing was really planned. It wasn't until the end when we matched up the jewelry to watercolor, and it was great because seemed like they were really made for it each other.
Andrew Stinson, who is also noted in the family section of your site, shot the lookbook photos. Have you worked together before? What is the process like?
Andrew is my long time boyfriend. We live together and I feel like we've been together so long because we are able to understand and support each other’s work. We are always involved in each other’s projects, whether it's me styling one of his test shoots or him being a fresh pair of eyes to me and giving advice on a drawing. We can tell each other bluntly if we honestly hate something in each other’s work, which is great. So it was comforting having Andrew work on the shoot because the process of combining all of the jewelry, watercolors and props was like an experiment.
Do you personally wear much jewelry? Do you have a favorite piece from Lizzie Fortunato's F/W 11 collection?
I feel incomplete if I don't have at least one piece of jewelry on. For me jewelry is so personal, each piece I own has it's own story behind it. Lizzie and Kathryn are so awesome, they just sent me one of the enamel pendants from the LFJ F/W 11 collection, which I love. It's got dark blue colors and really long so I'm looking forward to wearing it some high-waisted dark blue jeans. So now that pendant has it's own story, every time I wear it I'll think of the lookbook project!