OMG, I don’t even know where to begin! I just returned from Las Vegas after having visited the Couture and JCK jewelry shows and I am still running on pure adrenalin. My schedule was jam packed with everything from official interviews, job interviews and networking. Gotta get out there!!! Right people?! But, I have to tell you, during my years with Gucci, the shows were both tiring and full of good times with my industry friends, yet for the first time this weekend, I was FREE. I was not confined to the Gucci private suite at the Wynn, with appointments from 8 to 8. I was able to explore the show like never before. It reminded me of the first time I went to Milan while I was working for Giorgio Armani. I will never forget when they told me I could go to the warehouse and pick out whatever I wanted. I was truly, “A kid in a candy store”. I was an explorer, having discovered the tomb of treasures. The floor of the show was an actual treasure chest. I could have spent a week there and not have seen all there was to see. Of course, there are my favorites and in the coming days I will share with you the many designers that I met with, and who made such a profound impact with me, spirit, mind and soul. Yes, jewelry and the people who create it can do all of that; at least it can for me. If I had a wish to fill, it would have been to take all those jewels home. Damn, if only I had that kind of disposable income or that celebrity status to get away with that! Oh well maybe one day, right?!
Well, here we go!!! I want to begin our journey, with and through an incredible collection, with the clear vision of Italian designer Franco Piangegonda. Franco was kind enough to grant me a 2-hour audience in our beloved native tongue.
AN EDUCATION WITH FRANCO PIANEGONDA
Grace Giovannetti: How long have you been designing jewelry?
Franco Pianegonda: “It’s been 25 years and 4 years ago I changed the name of the company from Pianegonda to Franco Pianegonda.”
GG: What inspired this change? (This was a very loaded question and the answer went on for about 45 min).
FP: “I believe the world has changed since globalization. Before companies sold a brand. Now in order to connect with people you must create a friendship. People want to know “qui e Franco”? What is behind him? What is he making? We live in a world where people want to know. Before the world was polarized. Everyone said the same thing followed only what Gucci or Louis Viutton had to say. Today (as he picks up my blog that I had printed out and shown him) through what you are doing right now “blogging” there is a self-expression and opinions on many things. So if people like GG In The House maybe they will also like Franco P.”
GG: Who are you and what makes your jewelry stand out?
FP: “I am a man born in Italy and son of a Spanish woman, now married to a Venezuelan woman and have 2 children. I have lived in great places in my life. I grew up in Italy which is a country filled with art, lifestyle and natural luxury. All my work comes out of an office in a historical building in Vicenza that has been there since 1486. First of all, I love “love” and I love women (no really, an Italian man that loves women- come on). I design for them and what they love and what they want to represent and who they want to be. (All I could think at this moment was I love this man!) I use only natural silver, gold, diamonds, amethyst, smoky quartz, and so on. I believe truth comes from nature mixed with technology. I aim to be revolutionary and there are 2 markets I sell to. One is in the “clouds” which is the Internet and second is the tangible market. Before I had 30 collections now I have divided my jewelry into 4 collections in which 85% is for women.”
GG: Can you take me through the collections?
FP: “Of course!” (As he calls his wife over to start pulling out the jewelry trays to present them to me. She by the way is stunning; she is like an exotic brown skinned Angelina Jolie with amazing legs and great style. The love fest continues).
Veritas: The women’s collection. Make yourself happy: line of jewelry; “Let the inner tiger out”. It’s a symbol of women who live a full life as leaders, professionals, mothers and nurturers of families. Franco is inspired by their energy, determination and ideals.
The price range is from $200 to about $2,000.
Franco P: The Millennium generation (17 to 25 years of age). Dynamic individuals who want to experience. “When they want something they act on it they are impulsive.”
This collection is at an entry price point of $100 to $500.
Character: The men’s collection. It represents the DNA “a man of character.”
Bambini: The children’s collection. “It is the sugar of the character.”
We ended our meeting with a double cheek kiss. At this point, lunch was upon us, but there was so much to see, I could not stop now and sit down to eat, so I explored on. My first stop at Couture was a memorable one. Franco, thank you so much for giving us a glimpse into your world. I hope you know Franco P better now too.
Please go to the Franco Pianegonda website for more information.
Stay tuned for my next stop at the show….
I love Franco, Do you???
Grace and Franco JCK 2011