A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit the NOir showroom and get a tour from Leeora Catalan, the designer behind the perennially popular celebrity-favored jewelry line.
It was easily the most exciting showroom tour I’ve ever been on. Literally, I was a kid in a candy store, trying on all the bold baubles that Catalan and her team have designed. I was also completely taken aback by how many pieces there were in her showroom that I have seen in the likes of Henri Bendel and Big Drop, but had no idea were designed by Catalan.
Though you would have to be living under a fashion rock to not have heard of NOir, even if the name doesn’t ring a bell you’re very likely to have seen a number of the 14-year-old jewelry line’s pieces when flipping through a magazine, watching TV, or catching a movie, since NOir has been worn by everyone from Madonna, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and Rihanna, to Fergie, Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Paris Hilton, and Mariah Carey. Also, Catalan has teamed-up with Patricia Field to create some exclusive pieces for the upcoming Sex in the City sequel.
Inspired by historical fashion icons and influenced by present day pop culture, Catalan’s earliest jewelry designs urbanized modern glamour. Today, her line is sold worldwide and online. Find-out more about Catalan (and get a feel for her wonderful flair and fabulous aesthetic), and the NOir jewelry line in the interview we did.
Do you design for yourself or do you have a particular person in mind/muse?
When I think of a design I think first, am I going to wear it? And then I think which of my eclectic mix of friends would wear it. And then I make it bigger.
Your showroom is in Manhattan, do you find yourself often influenced by the city?
NYC is the greatest place on earth for inspiration. I don’t need to travel anywhere, it’s all here.
How do you explain the massive celeb appeal of your line?
Our jewelry is big, bold, and most of the time sparkly, so it takes a pretty confident person to carry the jewels.
It’s hard to imagine a celeb that hasn’t worn Noir at this point, but is there anyone who hasn’t worn one of your pieces that you’re dying to have wear one of them? If so could you see them in one particular piece?
Chrissie Hynde (the coolest) in our pyramid/spikes, Lenny kravitz in my new collection, Jay-z in the Brooklyn bridge ring, and I would make anything for Prince at anytime.
Can you tell us a little bit about your collaborative work with Patricia Field? What can we expect to see from you in the Sex in the City sequel?
I have know Pat for almost 20 years. She is a kindred spirit, and one of the most talented and inspirational women I have ever met. Kim Cattrall and Miley Cyrus wore two custom-made pieces for a scene in the movie, and I hope to see some of our pieces scattered throughout.
Favorite piece of jewelry you’ve ever designed?
Each new collection is my new favorite. But right now it’s the Brooklyn Bridge knuckle ring.
What can shoppers expect from Noir in the coming months?
We are working on four new groups that are very different than each other. Also, two new collaborations that are super exciting, but top secret for now. We will definitely let you know when they happen.
Do you think you would ever branch-out into handbags or other accessories/clothes?
We used to make bags, belts, hair accessories, even shoes. However, about three years ago I decided that I wanted to concentrate on jewelry, since that is my true passion.
How would describe your personal style? Do you exclusively wear your own jewelery?
Dianna Vreeland meets M.I.A . I love when fine jewelry looks like costume. I am constantly mixing 70’s vintage jewelry with real gold, with noir, and pieces from Fulton mall. Oh, and I love Alexis Bittar’s jewelry.
Images courtesy of the Fashion Spot forums.