Jewelry Designer Eddie Borgo Doesn't Care About Trends

Eddie, wearing the hat he loves, loves, loves.
Photo: Melissa Hom

You might say jewelry designer Eddie Borgo is on a roll: He just finished commissioned collections for the spring 2009 runways of 3.1 phillip lim, Marchesa, Camilla Staerk, Frank Tell, Jen Kao, and more. Adding to his successes, he launched his own line of jewelry (prices range from $100 to $1,000) that will be sold at Camilla Staerk's new store on Mulberry Street this month. His geometrically inspired collection, full of matte aluminum and tulle-covered chains, strikes the perfect balance between fine jewelry and street pieces. And it's clear from his mixed looks — sometimes rough, sometimes polished — that he designs with the New York girl in mind. We caught up with the designer to talk about jewelry trends, designer desires, and why city girls need to rock his pieces.

How would you describe the girl you want to decorate?
The stuff I’m making is for a contemporary girl who has things to do. And I see her in New York, or even in any modern city, Paris, London, and Hong Kong. She thinks of jewelry as an item. A piece of jewelry in her wardrobe is a signature piece that represents her, something she identifies herself with. And she’s a bit punky.

How are designers approaching jewelry commissions now?
Designers are using more to incorporate into their shows in order to embrace in their runway shows and the line. They are really paying attention to jewelry now because you really have to know jewelry — the mythology, pattern, construction, metal, enameling, magnetic closures, something like that.

How would you describe the process working with designers?
It’s very personal. Jewelry is very personal thing, as it should be. You feel like it’s a part of your personality in a way. That’s how I think about it. So with the designers, you make sure you are designing within their aesthetics but also you want to give part of your own.

Eddie's jewelry — everything from a claw ring
to spiked studs.Photo: Melissa Hom

Which designer would like to work with?
I love Francisco Costa at Calvin Klein. I love what he’s done to Calvin. It would be a great match. I would love to do great sculptural marble jewelry for him. Making marble jewelry and combining it with a white diamond.

Who was the first designer that you ever bought?
Now, I don’t wear many labels. I have a raincoat — a yellow raincoat from Phillip Lim. I started looking at his collection two or three years ago, and I loved it. I don’t usually have an opportunity to wear it, but it’s really a man version of bellboy’s yellow raincoat.

What is a trend in jewelry that is really big right now?
I keep hearing earrings. Big earrings.

Is there any trend you wish would go away?
By the time you buy the trend, it’s already gone, pretty much. So I think what I do is I try, even if it falls under a category under a trend, to make jewelry that looks like a classic. So the trend I wish would go away is TREND in general.

If you don't like trends or labels, what do you like to wear?
I love wearing Levi’s jeans, pink shirts, V-neck T-shirts. I have a blazer, a little boy’s tuxedo blazer I bought at a boy’s tuxedo store. And I always have my hat.

Who’s your favorite designer?
My favorite designer of all time is Pierre Cardin, not only for jewelry, but also for his clothing. And he also made a furniture line, which I’m already really inspired by. Another jewelry designer that really inspires me is Robert Lee Morris. I’m always popping my head into his stores in Soho. I love all his artwear of native stones. It looks uptown, yet boho.

What’s one thing that you really need to buy right now?
I really want to buy a new couch. And a black leather Hermès business-card holder.

What's one thing that every woman should have in her closet?
The perfect little black dress.

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