Category: Lifestyle

Jewelry: In Jewelry, Matching Just Isn’t Cool Any More


“Even around 15 years ago when I first started out, I always felt I looked older in a full set of diamonds or matching diamond earrings,” she said. “I wanted to break the codes — to do something more cool and rock ’n’ roll.”

Messika’s latest high jewelry line, themed around 1920s Paris, includes the lobe-hugging Roaring Diamonds that combine a flamboyant ear cuff with a more pared-back twin, featuring inverted pear-shaped diamonds. The diamond cluster Mata Hari pair — again one large and the other small — evoked the flair and boldness of its namesake, the Dutch exotic dancer and courtesan who was executed in 1917 for espionage. The design nearly covers the entire ear, which is partly why Ms. Messika went with what she called one “wow piece” and a softer one. “Otherwise it’s too bling-bling.”

On the fine jewelry side, the tribal-themed Thea triangle studs come in clashing sizes or a strand version that misfits long with short. Fashion, as ever, is Ms. Messika’s cue. “Wearing a very precious and delicate diamond today is like pairing frayed, ripped jeans with a beautiful pair of designer shoes. It’s more unexpected. I like the mix of sensibilities.”

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Mata Hari earrings from Messika. The center stones are surrounded by a half-setting of brilliant-cut diamonds to create a ripple effect. Credit Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times

In the designer’s new collaboration with Gigi Hadid, a G-shaped earring is adorned with a single diamond to create a pared-back version of Messika’s best-selling three-diamond Move earrings — and priced at 840 euros ($980) in an effort to entice a younger (if fairly well-heeled) clientele.

At MatchesFashion.com, individual earrings offer a strong statement look, Ms. Kingman said, like Gucci’s chunky lapel-grazing bee earring in gray crystal and faux pearls or Saint Laurent’s punk-like 3D-carved wheat stalk in gold and silver.

“By purchasing two single earrings and wearing them together, you essentially buy into two trends in one go,” she said.

The retail arrangement also puts styling into the wearer’s hands. At the Australian brand Alinka, founded by the St. Petersburg-born Alina Barlow, now based in Sydney, customers can buy its funky, rebellious earrings as either singles or pairs. The diamond Katia studs, for example, are designed as either one cross or a trio that extends up the ear, creating the illusion of multiple piercings, and are available in white or black diamonds. The Kremlin star-inspired Stasia stack a large and a small bejeweled stars, and is equipped with a detachable post so the pieces can be worn two ways or combined with other earrings. Like the Katia, they come in either black or white diamonds.

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From Dior, Plaisir Champêtre Saphir is united by sapphires, but one dangles from a stem of tsavorite garnets, while the other has a bouquet of pink sapphires, emeralds, turquoise, yellow diamonds, Paraiba tourmalines and lacquer blooms.

“I wanted a woman to wear whatever mix she feels on the day,” Ms. Barlow said. “The idea is to build up your own collection.” An individual earring in the O Drop group — a long gold chain that attaches to any stud earring — could extend the repertoire.

Fans of asymmetrical styling tend be more “fashion-forward and experimental,” Ms. Barlow said but they are not all young. “I had a woman in her 60s try on the pieces and loved the mix.”

The Stone jewelry brand in Paris, the Danish house Georg Jensen and fashion-designer-turned jeweler Diane Kordas are other makers who have included single earrings in their collections.

But some of the most traditional haute joaillerie houses have been seduced by asymmetry as well.

In July during the couture shows in Paris, the Est Une Fête collection by Chaumet paid homage to four venues with music at their center, with the punchy Rhapsodie transatlantique, inspired by the Metropolitan Opera House, looking like a colorful burst of fireworks. A pair of white and yellow gold earrings were akin in size but the colors were chosen for contrast: a 9.5-carat yellow-green Ceylon sapphire was joined with an 8.88-carat violet Madagascar sapphire, and both were lit up by Umba garnets, brilliant-cut diamonds and champagne diamonds.

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Bibi van der Velden banana earrings.

At Dior, where Versailles’ gardens were muse, the creative director Victoire de Castellane called her asymmetric earrings “couples.” Plaisir Champêtre Saphir, for example, was united by sapphires, but one was square, dangling from a stem of tsavorite garnets, while its sister looked like a bouquet bursting with pink sapphires, emeralds, turquoise, yellow diamonds, Paraiba tourmalines and lacquer blooms.

De Grisogono also played with color, as seen in a pair of chandelier earrings with inverted designs, each one featuring five rubies with emerald or white diamond droplets.

Offbeat shapes were the starting point for Boghossian: One set of earrings pitted a traditional hanging pear-shaped yellow diamond against a contemporary up-the-ear marquise-shaped light-brown diamond clip, both topped by marquise-cut stones. Another contrasted an emerald and a natural pearl, both swinging from slim columns of diamonds and emeralds.

“I always buy an unusual shape, even if I don’t know when I’m going to use it,” Albert Boghossian, the company’s chief executive, said. ”The less boring the stone, the more I’m dared to play with contrasts.”

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The jeweler Sabine Roemer paired a simple diamond star stud with three strands of stars in sapphires and fluorites cascading from a crescent moon.

Asymmetry does give designers a creative boost. Celestial designs have been trending for a few seasons now but the London jewelry house Vant suspended mismatched moon and sun rock crystals from planetary studs, and the jeweler Sabine Roemer paired a simple diamond star stud with three strands of stars in glittering sapphires and fluorites cascading from a monochrome moon. Ms. Roemer also created an agate cameo from two stones that were bought years apart. One is a portrait in green, the other a group of women rendered in blue, and detailing in green fluorites, topaz and amethysts to harmonize it all.

“Asymmetric earrings, of course, should be matching or seem to be but there’s an element of the unexpected that I like,” Ms. Roemer said. “The look gives me the space to create within one piece.”

Bibi van der Velden, the owner and curator of the online jewelry retailer Auverture, agreed. A designer herself and self-proclaimed champion of asymmetric styles, she stocks artist-jewelers who push the form, like Ileana Makri and her mystical eye studs and Gaelle Khouri, whose latest collection of single earrings looped structural, intertwined rings.

Ms. van der Velden’s own approach to the style is especially playful, like her pair of cheeky, bejeweled monkeys gripping oversized lemon-quartz bananas, or a man maneuvering through a pink sapphire ribboned shell, his legs on one earring, head emerging from the other.

“It’s more interesting to make use of the fact that you’ve two earlobes and the pieces can communicate with each other,” Ms. van der Velden said. “Real jewelry does not have to mean boring. We all know the rules but people are continuously breaking them.”

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Up Next: The ‘Good Time’ Stylist Has Some Tips for Style on a Budget


Next Thing “I want to do the next ‘Matrix,’” said Ms. Bellizzi, who hopes to work on more films where style is a strategic element in the storytelling. Some of her favorites are the original “Blade Runner” and “Casino.” While filming “Good Time,” Josh Safdie told her to think about creating a character that someone would want to be as a Halloween costume. “That has always stuck with me,” she said.

In our overly commercialized world, creating looks can be costly and time consuming, but learning how and where to source items makes it easier and more affordable. Here are some of the tricks Ms. Bellizzi has honed along the way.

1. More is more Coco Chanel advised: “Always remove one thing before you leave the house.” For Ms. Bellizzi, this does not apply. “I think more is better,” she said. For her, no look is complete without layers of silver jewelry, including nameplate necklaces, chains of varying thickness and chokers with hanging dice, which she makes herself. She finds most of her jewelry and clothes at swap meets, learning from an early age in California that you can find unique pieces on a budget.

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Ms. Bellizzi believes that when it comes to style, more is more. Credit Natalia Mantini for The New York Times

2. Do your research When Ms. Bellizzi starts a project, she puts in weeks of research, which is helpful if you’re trying to recreate a look from the past. She scours old books, photographs, magazines and even catalogs like Sears and Delia’s for inspiration. She uses her alumni pass to get into the F.I.T. library, which has a collection of Vogue magazines dating back to the ’50s.

3. Recreate a look on a dime Once you’ve done your research and have reference points for a look or pieces you want to find, you can begin shopping at thrift stores and searching the web. “I’m an eBay head,” Ms. Bellizzi said. “I get into deep holes.” Chances are, if you want something, there is someone who bought it and is sick of it. Also, you can compare and contrast prices on sites like eBay, even bidding for a better deal.

4. Offer people some $$$ It is not uncommon for Ms. Bellizzi to offer people $40 for something they’re wearing. “I ask mechanics if I can buy their shirts because they look so good,” said Ms. Beliizzi, a self-described uniform enthusiast. “There is one with navy and red stripes. It’s beautiful, and I can’t find that colorway anywhere else.

5. Stick with what works And speaking of uniforms, when Ms. Bellizzi finds something she likes, she sticks with it. For example, she has Dickies pants in at least 10 different colors. “I have all the colorways,” she said. “I can get obsessive.” She also has more than 100 pairs of hoops.

6. Mix it up Ms. Bellizzi never likes to look too matchy-matchy and never wants to be associated with one style. “I always like to be a little punk,” she said. “I always like to be a little ’hood. I always like to be a little fancy. If there’s too much of one element, I have to take something away.”

Bonus tip: It’s O.K. to splurge on one good thing. For Ms. Bellizzi, it was her Prada fanny pack.

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Soho House, but Make It Enlightened


You’ve co-worked, co-lived and co-exercised. Are you ready to co-commune?

Welcome to the Assemblage, a new club in Manhattan’s upscale NoMad neighborhood. Its evening-only memberships start at $200 per month, all-day use is $900 — and the menu of services tops out at $6,500 for amenities that include a private office with “room to stretch your legs.”

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Sergio Magaña and Daniel Pinchbeck give a lecture on how to awaken the “voltaic dream time” at a workshop at the Assemblage. Credit Jackie Molloy for The New York Times

On a recent night Alberto Villoldo, a medical anthropologist, psychologist and shaman, gave a talk in the club’s dim lobby called “Hacking Your Neurology With Sacred Plant Medicine.” To a packed crowd of mostly young urban professionals, some still in suits and ties from the work day, Mr. Villoldo was extolling the benefits of ayahuasca, a psychedelic substance made from Amazonian tree vines, broccoli flower extract and daily doses of omega-3.

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Members and guests gesture what they feel the body of a feminine leader looks like at the end of a workshop called the Future of Feminine at the Assemblage. Credit Jackie Molloy for The New York Times

“I don’t think there’s a topic that is closer to my heart,” said Rodrigo Niño, the founder of the club. Mr. Niño, 48 and the C.E.O. of Prodigy, a platform that uses crowdfunding to buy commercial real estate, was diagnosed with Stage 3 melanoma six years ago. Terrified of dying, he found an article in National Geographic about ayahuasca. He promptly left for Peru to spend two weeks taking the substance and reckoning with his own mortality.

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Lunch is provided for members and guest at the Assemblage. Communal breakfast is also served every day. Credit Jackie Molloy for The New York Times

“What I saw from that perspective was that society today was not in very good shape,” Mr. Niño said. “What I saw, in this hallucination, was how all living things were connected as one, but we were not aware of it rationally.”

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Rodrigo Niño, the founder and C.E.O. of the Assemblage. Credit Jackie Molloy for The New York Times

When Mr. Niño returned to New York, he was no longer plagued by fear of death, he said. But he struggled to integrate his vision of interconnectedness with his daily work. “I had this radical inner knowing that we were all together as one,” Mr. Niño said, “but I was a real-estate developer, an economist, from a mathematical, evidence-based background. I couldn’t prove it.”

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Two elixirs called “Heart” and “Ground” on the menu at the bar at the Assemblage. Credit Jackie Molloy for The New York Times

He has now decided to give it a try in $400 million worth of Manhattan real estate that include two other Assemblange-branded locations, one on lower Park Avenue and the other in the financial district, that will offer apartments and a hotel.

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Donnalynn Civello, Glendy Yeung and Julio Rivera work on their laptops on the 12th floor at the Assemblage. Credit Jackie Molloy for The New York Times

Mr. Niño said his new company was funded from small investments from more than 34 countries, and that every new qualifying member of the organization will be given the option of investing to become a co-owner of the buildings themselves.

He has donated some of his contemporary art collection to decorate the NoMad club, as well as Peruvian weavings he ordered specially made from the Shipibo tribe whose ayahuasca ceremonies he attended during his trip.

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A meditation room at the Assemblage. Credit Jackie Molloy for The New York Times
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How Charles Manson Nearly Made It in Hollywood


In classic Los Angeles fashion, his big break — or what looked like it — came through a chance encounter with a celebrity. After Dennis Wilson, the hard-partying drummer for the Beach Boys, picked up a couple of Mr. Manson’s young female followers while hitchhiking, Mr. Manson did his best to bring Mr. Wilson, with his sports cars and gold records, under his messianic spell.

The drummer was open to mind expansion, having studied under the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. As Mr. Wilson explained to Britain’s Record Mirror in 1968, he had met a new guru named Charlie, “who’d recently come out of jail after 12 years,” but had “great musical ideas.”

“We’re writing together now,” he said of the man he called the Wizard. “He’s dumb, in some ways, but I accept his approach and have learnt from him.”

Mr. Manson and his family camped out at Mr. Wilson’s Pacific Palisades estate, once the home of Will Rogers. They mingled in the Beach Boys recording studio with the likes of Rodney Bingenheimer, the columnist and social arbiter of the Los Angeles rock scene who was eventually celebrated in the 2004 documentary “Mayor of the Sunset Strip.”

Mr. Manson was also trying out his mystical psychobabble on every rock star he met. Not all were smitten.

One night, Mr. Wilson invited his cousin Mike Love, the Beach Boys singer, over for dinner to meet the Wizard. It quickly turned into a “group sex kind of situation,” Mr. Love told ABC News many years later. “It wasn’t my cup of tea, so I excused myself to take a shower.”

“No sooner than I got in the shower, the door opened and Charlie Manson stood there and looked up at me and said, ‘You can’t do that,’” Mr. Love recalled. “I said, ‘Excuse me?’” Mr. Manson apparently replied: “You can’t leave the group!”

Despite Mr. Manson’s unsettling behavior, the Beach Boys gave him his first taste of mainstream fame, including “Never Learn Not to Love,” an only slightly reworked version of the Manson necro-rocker “Cease to Exist,” on their 1969 album, “20/20.” With lyrics like “Cease to resist, come on say you love me,” it wasn’t exactly a surfin’ safari. Nevertheless, the band apparently thought enough of their Manson-inspired new direction to perform the song on “The Mike Douglas Show.”

Mr. Manson also managed to win over Neil Young, who was already attaining legend status in Los Angeles at that time. In his 2012 autobiography, “Waging Heavy Peace,” Mr. Young recalled a visit to his house by Mr. Manson and a few of the women, when Mr. Manson grabbed Mr. Young’s guitar and started strumming a few originals.

“His songs were off-the-cuff things he made up as he went along,” Mr. Young writes, “and they were never the same twice in a row. Kind of like Dylan, but different because it was hard to glimpse a true message in them, but the songs were fascinating. He was quite good.”

It wasn’t long before Mr. Manson was finding doors open for him at the most exclusive Hollywood parties. In his 1992 autobiography, “What’s It All About?,” Michael Caine, no hippie to be sure, recalled being introduced to a “scruffy little man” named Charles Manson at a party at Cass Elliot’s house. (Also in attendance: future Manson family victims Sharon Tate and Jay Sebring, the celebrity hairstylist).

Not so different from the world today, an open-door policy was common in the late ’60s, particularly for colorfully dressed hipsters carrying acoustic guitars and drugs.

More than a few Hollywood players explored free love with members of the Manson family, perhaps even with Mr. Manson himself. According to “Manson In His Own Words,” a 1986 as-told-to book by Nuel Emmons, an old prison acquaintance, executives at a major record label supposedly were hooked when Mr. Manson started talking about his carefree existence “living in a bus with 12 girls.”

Based on six years of interviews with a convicted murderer given to wild hyperbole and self-contradiction (many reconstructed without the benefit of a tape recorder), some of the subject’s “recollections” need to be taken with a grain of salt, if not a pound of it. Nevertheless, Mr. Manson supposedly told Mr. Emmons that before long, he and his “girls” were on the “let’s-get-acquainted list of many of the not-so-straight idols of the movie world.”

“We had long ago chucked our inhibitions about sex,” Mr. Manson supposedly said. “But chains, whips, torture and other weirdness were not part of our routine.” The book also recounts a supposed ménage à trois with Mr. Manson, a male movie star and his television actress wife, after which the man, one “Mr. B,” “slipped five one-hundred-dollar bills in my pocket.”

Other members of the Hollywood firmament with actual names fell under his spell. In a 2014 interview with Britain’s Daily Mail, Angela Lansbury talked about how her daughter, Deirdre, who had struggled with drug addiction as a teenager in the ’60s, “was in with a crowd led by Charles Manson.”

“She was one of many youngsters who knew him, and they were fascinated,” Ms. Lansbury said. “He was an extraordinary character, charismatic in many ways, no question about it.”

All tales of Mr. Manson’s days living the Hollywood high life lead to Terry Melcher, the son of Doris Day who was a heavyweight record producer for acts including the Beach Boys and the Byrds. Along with Mr. Wilson and Gregg Jakobson, an industry friend, Mr. Melcher, who died in 2004, was “part of an informal society known as the Golden Penetrators,” according to Jeff Guinn’s exhaustive 2013 biography, “Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson.”

The group’s membership “was limited to anyone who had sex with women from one of show business’s most famous families,” but did not apparently stop there.

The “triumvirate reveled in their hedonism,” Mr. Guinn writes. “In a city that had long ago waived most moral or legal limits for the famous, their philosophy was ‘We’re us, there are no rules, we get to do this.’”

Little surprise, then, that they were soon hanging out in a celebrity booth at the Whiskey a Go Go, with one Charles Milles Manson, who one night managed to clear the dance floor with his maniacal gyrations: “He tipped back his head and threw out his arms,” Mr. Guinn writes. “It seemed as though electrical sparks flew from Charlie’s fingers and hair.”

“The crowd had surged off the dance floor as if driven by some irresistible force field,” the book continues. “Now it circled the floor, mesmerized by the sight of the whirling dervish.”

While Mr. Melcher was one of the music industry’s power players, he was also known in the late ’60s as one half of a celebrity couple, living with his girlfriend, Candice Bergen, in a secluded Benedict Canyon home at 10050 Cielo Drive.

Students of the period do not need to be told how things unfolded after Mr. Melcher met Mr. Manson. The producer initially showed interest in Mr. Manson’s music, but eventually distanced himself.

And as Mr. Manson watched his chance at musical fame evaporate, he grew increasingly desperate and began to sermonize with more fervor about a coming race war that he called Helter Skelter, a phrase he cribbed from the Beatles song about an amusement-park ride.

For decades, debate has raged about the motives of the so-called Tate murders, even among those involved in them. It seems clear that, at some level, Mr. Manson sought to strike back at the Hollywood elite that had spurned him.

Regardless, Mr. Manson was well aware that Mr. Melcher no longer lived in the Cielo Drive house where five adults and Ms. Tate’s unborn son died gruesomely. It was a house Mr. Manson knew well, and on the evening of March 23, 1969, fewer than five months before the murders, Mr. Manson had dropped by looking for Mr. Melcher, according to “Helter Skelter,” the 1974 book by the Manson prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi, with Gary Gentry.

He found new residents in the house, however, who directed him to Rudi Altobelli, a talent manager who owned the house, but who was then staying in the guesthouse. Mr. Altobelli informed Mr. Manson that Mr. Melcher had moved to Malibu, but offered no address.

Mr. Manson’s visit that day, it seems, would be the most fateful of his celebrity encounters. The next day, Ms. Tate mentioned the curious encounter to Mr. Altobelli on a flight to Rome. “Did you see that creepy-looking guy come back there yesterday?” she asked.

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The Sweet Spot: When the Cable Guy’s a Gal, Some People’s Wires Get Crossed


And yet, you wouldn’t have written to us if you felt sure you were ready to leave this job. I think you still have hope you can fix this problem, and I want to encourage you to give it a try — not by changing yourself to conform to the sexism that still prevails in our culture, but by bending your work culture to better conform to you.

Steve Almond: One thing that might help, in terms of your work in the field, is to depersonalize some of these interactions. That is, to recognize that you’re being paid to perform a service, not to satisfy the sexist, or misogynist, assumptions of your customers. It’s not your job to convince anyone that you’re qualified to hook up their damn cable. It’s your job to hook up their damn cable. If a man won’t let you in the door because he can’t fathom that a woman could hook up his damn cable, that’s his problem. He can wait for the next service staffer.

Same deal with the woman who thinks you’re playing a trick on her. If a man touches you without your permission, leave his home and contact the police. Period. Being in the service industry is hard enough, given the monstrous sense of entitlement most Americans exhibit. You’re not additionally responsible for battling the bigotry of your customers. Their hangups are their problems, and their behaviors — particularly unwanted touching — are a matter for law enforcement.

CS: I agree with Steve that a bit of righteous anger would do you a world of good. Those sexist customers will get the point if you take them at their word the next time they proclaim a woman can’t do the job. Instead of trying to persuade them otherwise, offer to call your supervisor to have them reschedule their appointment and request a man. I think you’ll be amazed at how quickly their confidence in you will grow once they realize they’ll have to go another week (or three) without watching their favorite show.

This approach will be more effective and less potentially job-threatening if you have your company behind you. I strongly encourage you to go to your human-resources manager and tell him or her what you told us. Your employer is obligated to establish a workplace that’s fair to everyone. Enlist your human-resources team to come up with ways to address both the sexism you experience in the field and the isolation you feel as a woman in a male-dominated workplace. It isn’t on you alone to change your work culture, but it often takes the voices and perspectives of people like you to incite employers to consider how they can create a more equitable work environment. You write so joyfully about being a force for gender normalization among the customers who feel inspired by your presence; you can be that kind of leader within your company too.

SA: As I read your letter, Cable Girl, I thought so much about Hillary Clinton. I don’t mean Mrs. Clinton as a political figure so much as a woman who has, like you, chosen a path that subjects her to the slings and arrows of a world that remains ruled by patriarchal prerogative. You write: I have to work twice as hard to prove myself to customers as my male counterparts do, while fielding ludicrous questions and comments about my appearance and my personal life. Replace the word “customers” with “voters” and you’ve just described the experience of many a female candidate.

That doesn’t mean you have to subject yourself to a miserable work life. But it does mean that you should recognize the value in what you’re doing. Every day you’re out there, you’re forcing people to rethink their idiotic assumptions about the sort of work men and women can do in the world. There may be dents in your shield, in other words, but there’s also an army gathering behind you.

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