ANNUAL FALL TRUNK SHOW
Granville Island Hotel
Friday, Oct. 25, 11 – 7
Saturday, Oct. 26, 10 – 5
Black silver and with a pair of creamy, iridescent baroque pearl pendants
ANNUAL FALL TRUNK SHOW
Granville Island Hotel
Friday, Oct. 25, 11 – 7
Saturday, Oct. 26, 10 – 5
Black silver and with a pair of creamy, iridescent baroque pearl pendants
Excuse me: do you happen to know who decides when we are “too old” to do something?
I was reading articles about middle-aged Madonna, being “too old” to make pop music and it occurred to me that if I had listened to that ageist nonsense, I’d have never had a career as a jewellery designer.
Witty Fiona Sturges in the Guardian expressed my outrage over the unvarnished sexism aimed at Madonna, and by extension, all Baby Boomers and GenXers who refuse to be invisible: “In the minds of her most vicious detractors… she would be better off binning the fishnets, putting on a nice cardie and waiting for death.”
I thought of all the male pop musicians who were before my time, and yet still seem to make it to the stage. No one comments on Mick Jagger’s age, 75, unless it’s to give him a fist-bump for having another child. His hard-partying bandmate Keith Richards, also 75, has long been celebrated for rocking-on another year. What’s the old joke about nuclear war? The only things that will survive are cockroaches and Keith Richards.
They are saluted, as they should be, for their long careers and their big influence on our culture.
WHEN DID “GRANDMA” BECOME AN INSULT?
So why is it that Madonna, a mere 60, is being dismissed as “grandma”? And while we’re on the subject, when did “grandma” become an insult?
In short: when, exactly, did it become a sin for a woman to be creative, while aging?
I was never a particular Madonna fan (my tastes run to R&B) but I think the Material Girl has earned a right to the spotlight. If she still has something to say, why wouldn’t we be inclined to listen?
Well, we all know the reason.
GOT LEMONS? MAKE LEMONADE!
That’s the reason I became a jewellery designer, by the way: ageism in fashion. There wasn’t much out there for adult women who wanted to look like grown-ups, not frumps. It was either stiff, boring “fine jewellery” that reminded me of 1950s matrons. Or fast-fashion glass and plastic, aimed at teenagers. I was on the hunt for a statement necklace that would do much the same job in my wardrobe that a power tie does for a man’s suit.
Where was the stylish jewellery for grown-ups who were looking to elevate a basic capsule wardrobe, featuring a lot of T-shirts and jeans, I wondered? Frustrated, I started making necklaces for myself. And, well, you know the rest.
On the bright side, that sexism-in-fashion has led to a lot of designers like me running small businesses producing long-lasting clothes and accessories for women who want to avoid the fast-fashion junk.
But make no mistake, my foray into jewellery design began as a private solution to a growing public problem: women-of-a-certain-age are belittled or ignored in the market square, while their male counterparts are considered to be in the prime of life.
It’s particularly annoying when the discriminatory drivel is printed in a place like the New York Times where Madonna’s new album, Madame X, earned a shade-casting profile, “Madonna at Sixty.” It focuses on her age and her looks and dismisses her in an off-handed way you can’t imagine them applying to any man who had achieved half as much.
And then, as they alienate women, they wonder why advertisers don’t flock to their doors?
WHO CARES WHAT THE BEST CUSTOMERS THINK?
Toronto marketing consultant Joanne Thomas Yaccato could explain their little advertising problem to them. In 2003, she wrote a book called The 80% Minority: Reaching the Real World of Women Consumers, in which she discussed how the business world’s bone-headed insistence on ignoring and insulting women undermines their own businesses.
You see, women make most of the buying decisions. They buy about 80 per cent of all the things there are to buy (which explains the book’s ironic title). And any product, including a newspaper that sneers at women, might just find itself having some troubles in the sales department.
Not that the Times was the only paper to slag Madonna for having the nerve to be creative, while aging. But somehow it’s worse in a newspaper that often brags about its own importance to democracy.
I was particularly baffled that the writer, a woman, went on and on about how surprising it was that Madonna was beautiful. Why? She was always beautiful. And she’s healthy, wealthy and fit. So why wouldn’t she still be beautiful?
Oh. Wait. Could it be that the writer thinks “aging” and “ugly” are synonyms?
SINCE WHEN DOES AGING = UGLY?
I’m not going to speculate on why she thinks such sexist thoughts. I don’t have to. The Times told us why in a 2017 article about the declining fortunes of women at the paper, which is dominated by men who claim the majority of the most senior and influential jobs.
But with the age-bashing I wonder if they think Millennials (who shun their paper) will suddenly race to subscribe if they find articles dissing artists from the Baby Boom and GenX?
In short: what are they thinking? Well, my guess is they’re not thinking at all. So why should I continue reading their paper?
PROUD TO BE #CREATIVEWHILEAGING
But I may write them to pass on a little tip I picked-up in all those business workshops I’ve done. While insulting women may look like a swell sales strategy when they’re sitting in their boys’ club meetings, they may want to consider the numbers. Together, Baby Boomers (the largest generation ever, born 1946-1964) and Gen-Xers (1965-1983) are a huge market. And we’ve lived long enough to have a little cash.
So here’s my question for the purveyors of misogyny: Do you really want to be alienating millions of women with your lousy products and ignorant, insulting journalism?
In the meantime, I need to get back to being #creativewhileaging before someone informs me that I, too, am done. I figure that if someone as accomplished as Madonna is not safe from that kind of ageist attack then no woman over 50 is.
If you feel an urge to respond, you can find me at info(at)annecarsondesign.com
Perhaps that ageist criticism of Madonna rankled so much because I have been hard at work preparing for the LeslieJane fashion show on Saturday, June 15, which includes my jewellery. I was just thinking about how lucky I was to have found work I love to do, although I found it relatively late in life. (Designing jewellery is my third career).
You can learn more about the West Vancouver shop that has become an institution, here. And reserve tickets.
LeslieJane’s Fashion on the Pier
Saturday June 15, 3 p.m.
Ambleside Pier, at the foot of 14th St.
RSVP for free tickets
They’ve been in business for more than 40 years and I have a theory as to why they’ve lasted so long. They provide superb customer service in every sense of that phrase. They carry high quality garments by a range of designers, many of whom are women-of-a-certain-age. And their shop is a welcoming spot for women of any age.
I’m thrilled to be part of their annual fashion show for the first time. Not least because no one there would ever think to ask how I have the nerve to be #creativewhileaging
anne carson design, Book Warehouse, Carson Books, Coco et Olive, Esi Edugyan, French Table, Giller Prize, Little Mountain Shop, pearls, pop-up shop, Pulp Fiction Books, Regional Assembly of Text, silver, statement necklaces, trunk show, Vancouver jewellery designer
Part of the fun for me in doing a trunk show on Main Street is that it gives me a good excuse to visit shops and restaurants outside of my neighbourhood. And if you’re visiting my pop-up shop this week, I recommend you visit them too.
I open at 11 a.m. on Thursday and Friday, so if you’re dropping by midday, may I suggest you have lunch at Coco et Olive at Main & 22nd — the hot chicken sandwich is worth driving across town for. If you’re arriving later in the day — I’m open until 7 p.m. — the French Table is just four blocks north of my trunk show at Little Mountain Shop.
I know many of you have a thing for beautiful stationery with clever sayings on it, so don’t miss The Regional Assembly of Text, near 24th. The shop has a vintage feel, not least because of all the typewriters decorating it. And who doesn’t need a tea towel with a map of Vancouver on it?
I can never get enough of independent bookshops and there are two near my trunk show. Book Warehouse on Main is just three blocks away from me, and is also dog friendly. And then there’s Carson Books, a secondhand bookstore just a few doors down. No relation, but obviously a kindred spirit.
Pulp Fiction on Main, is farther north, near Broadway, but since you’re already on Main, why not go a few extra blocks? (Yes, this is my rationale for hitting every independent bookstore on the street: when will I get over to Main next?)
At the top of my reading list: Esi Edugyan’s Washington Black, which just won the Giller Prize.
Need to supply yourself with greenery and flowers for parties, stocking stuffers for the green-of-thumb, or maybe sign-up up for a wreath-making workshop? The Flower Factory is just a block away and they have a lovely Instagram.
And I’m sure I’ll have a few more Christmas shopping recommendations by the time my show is done. Hope to see you there:
4386 Main Street (near 28th)
Little Mountain Shop
Wednesday, 4 pm – 7 pm
Thursday and Friday, 11 am to 7 pm
I’m popping up again at Designers Collective in Kerrisdale. The shop is located at snacks central: kitty corner from Butter Baked Goods and around the corner from Bigsby the Bakehouse. Lots of pastry and parking.
Friday Dec. 8 — 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday Dec. 9 — 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday Dec. 10 — 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
My pal Donna Tangye, the painter, is joining me. Photos don’t do her brushwork justice, but here’s an idea of what she’s up to.
Hope to see you there,
Big, bold green amethysts are perfect grey-green shade that goes with everything
London blue topaz topped by a leaf of delicate sterling silver
Garnets accented with decorative sterling silver beads
Baroque pink pearls topped with decorate silver beads
Raindrops of white baroque pearls
Faceted rutilated quartz topped with pyrite
Rutilated quartz on a sterling silver chain
A pink kunzite necklace, layered with a rope of blush pearls with a marcasite toggle clasp
Party season is right around the corner, so I’m holding one of my biannual public trunk shows at the Designers Collective shop in Vancouver.
Everyone is welcome.
Friday Oct. 27 – 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday Oct. 28 – 11 a.m to 5 p.m.
Sunday Oct. 29 – 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
2885 W. 33rd Avenue (at MacKenzie St.)
If you don’t know Designers Collective, it’s a hub for creative people run by my friends Brooke Hatfield and Tina Dhillon who will redo your interiors for you, or teach you how to do it yourself. They also do field trips to study design in other cities and organize pop-up shops featuring local artisans.
This pop-up shop also includes paintings by Donna Tangye, another one of my talented friends. You can seem some of her recent work at her website.
And here’s a glimpse of some of what I have been working on…
Hope to see you at there.
Of all the many occasions that demand wine, I have to say that Monday is high up on my list.
And a Monday that comes with a good cause and wine? Well, what could be better!
Which is why a pair of my pearl earrings will be attending Taste the World, a wine tasting to raise money for children’s hospitals in Myanmar. It’s happening this Monday, January 25, at Vancouver’s Four Seasons Hotel. You can learn more about the organization and get tickets here.
Unfortunately, I can’t be there. But a pair of my pearl drop earrings will be part of their silent auction. These earrings star some large, showy iridescent baroque pearls, about 21 mm long on sterling silver hooks. They’re topped with a tutu of faceted iolite, cubic zirconia, and amethysts to pick-up the flashing shades of purple in the pearls.
They’re one of a kind – I designed them specifically for this fundraiser – and they’re priced at $235.
Baroque peacock pearls topped with faceted iolite, cubic zirconia, and amethyst, $235
So, if you have some time on Monday evening, and are in search of some fine wine, I can’t think of better place to find it.
With apologies to those of you who like to echo Marilyn Monroe’s Lorelei Lee warbling “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” — I beg to differ. You will get far more wear out of a rope of classic white pearls. They never go out of fashion, you can wear them daily, and they will last for generations.
Which is why I often donate pearl necklaces to silent auctions. And this October there are two of my statement necklaces tempting donors to support a pair of good causes.
Over at Arts Umbrella, the performing and visual arts school for kids, you will find this elegant mix of freshwater pearls and decorative sterling silver beads, punctuated with a white chalcedony accent stone. It’s part of the Splash 2015 fundraiser, Oct. 17.
White pearls, sterling silver beads, a white chalcedony accent stone and a sterling silver marcasite clap.
At 127 cm (50 inches) long it will be one of the most versatile necklaces in any woman’s wardrobe. You can wear it flapper-style, as the perfect accessory to the current fashion trend of clothes inspired by the 1920s and ‘30s. Or you can triple-wrap it into a collar-length necklace that’s perfect with a bare evening gown or under a suit jacket.
I have a similar piece in the B.C. Women’s Hospital Foundation fundraiser, Hope Starts Here, also on Oct. 17. Only this necklace is a long rope of white pearls and silver with a moonstone accent.
White pearls, sterling silver beads, a moonstone accent and a silver marcasite clasp.
Both necklaces feature my distinctive sterling silver marcasite clasp and are valued at about $650. (I hope they fetch much more than that in the auctions.)
Unfortunately, I won’t be there to cheer them on. I’m on vacation until Oct. 19.
At this time of year I know that many of my pieces are destined to be grad gifts but one of my favourite commissions was a request from a mom for a group grad gift.
Her daughter ran with a posse of five girls who had all been friends since elementary school. The Five Musketeers were due to split up after high school, leaving for different universities, travelling, and work, and they wanted a memento of their time together.
Tattoos were not out of the question. Mom wanted to forestall that, too.
Jewellery has always been used as a talisman, so she thought matching earrings would be just the thing to remind the girls of their friends as well as marking their entry into adult life.
So I made a jewellery wardrobe staple for these young women: pearl drop earrings. Classic, creamy pearls with a silver bead.
I do endless variations on this earring, in different shades of pearls, since it has always been one of my bestsellers. They suit everyone, go with everything, and aren’t so big that they get in the way of using the phone. Still, they’re eye-catching; substantial enough to wear in the evenings but delicate enough for someone young. And they’re affordable, with prices beginning at $55 depending on the size of the pearls and the silver beads.
Classic round white pearls.
White baroque pearls have an interesting shape that’s a nice alternative to classic rounds.
But perhaps the loveliest thing about them is that real freshwater pearls and high quality sterling silver will last forever. Pearl drop earrings are timeless, which means these young women will still have those sentimental earrings in their jewellery boxes 50 years from now.
And a bonus: 50 years from now, pearls and silver will look way, way better than a tattoo.
My pearl drops range in price from $30 to $160 a pair, depending on the size and rarity of the freshwater pearls and the silver beads. You’ll find lots of these in the shop, but if you’re interested in a group gift let me know, so I can make sure I have enough matched pearls.
Blush baroque pearls and sterling silver accent beads.
You can find more pearl earrings in the shop or if you have something specific in mind, contact me and I’ll create some pearl earrings just for you.
It’s Audrey Hepburn Day. No, that’s not official. But today, May 4, is Hepburn’s birthday and in 2014, on what would have been her 85th, she got her very own Google Doodle. Now a Vancouver film critic named John Lekich is proposing we declare it her day permanently. And no less an authority than the Two Bossy Dames are calling today #MayTheAudrey in Twitter.
Not least because no one wore pearls quite like Audrey.
I saw Breakfast at Tiffany’s for the first time when I was about 15 and I remember thinking, “Why does no one make necklaces like that any more?”
Of course, I completely overlooked what she did to pay for those pearls. But the idea of bold, beautiful statement necklaces stayed with me, and years later I began designing them myself.
My sons might disagree, but I think Audrey film lovers have at least as much claim on the day as the Star Wars fanatics. Although they do have the best pun – May the 4th Be With You.
And I particularly like Mr. Lekich’s proposal for how we should celebrate Audrey Hepburn Day. By going window shopping at lunch, buying flowers, and being extra kind to everyone.
That’s a fine idea.
I would add that today we should wear pearls. But then, I always think that.
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One of the joys of my job is seeing how my pieces become keepsakes.
Brides looking for long-lasting mementoes of the big day often find their way to my workshop, so every year I do a wide range of pearl statement necklaces ideal for finishing a strapless gown on the day or elevating a boring business suit later.
Jewellery really is the one part of your wedding day outfit that you can wear again and again. And freshwater pearls, semi-precious stones, and sterling silver never lose their beauty, so these necklaces will give joy to the next generation of brides too.
Here are a few pieces from my portfolio that graced the necks of bridal parties.
Freshwater pearl-and-chain necklace with a baroque pearl and vintage coin accents
Pale pink freshwater pearls mixed with sterling silver beads, a rose quartz accent stone and a marcasite clasp.
Blush pink pearls and white meringue pearls mixed with silver and rose quartz.
Faceted white quartz tear drops with a frill of freshwater pearls.
White meringue pearls mixed with silver and moonstone accent.
Grey pearls mixed with lilac amethysts, silver beads, and a marcasite toggle.
Ivory pearls mixed with silver beads, moonstones, and a marcasite toggle.
Pale blush pink pears with a silver bead.
Pink meringue pearls and rose quartz accented with sterling silver.