If you've got a Beau & Stella piece around your neck, you're wearing a little bit of save-Dallas spirit. Marcie Lessard, the Tulane-trained architect behind the line of jewelry, just scaled back her hours at a Deep Ellum preservation architecture firm to spend more time nursing her own business.
The historic buildings and natural botanical forms that inspire Lessard as an architect are everywhere in her handiwork for Beau & Stella, a cohesive collection of old treasures reimagined in golden casts and clean lines. "I think it is especially important in Texas to highlight and maintain the heritage we've got because there's so little of it left. It might be easier to tear things down and build something new, but historic buildings tell a story and stand as witnesses to how the city and its people have evolved," she wrote to us recently.
Our picks from the stocked Beau & Stella Etsy shop:
The deal: Great Expectations Earrings, $18. These discs aren't for small heads, but they'll add an instant ethnic splash to any tank-top-and-jeans look if your noggin can carry them. The filigrees come from another Etsy seller who achieves a patina look without the inconveniences native to real weathered pieces -- i.e., they don't crackle into nothing or lose pieces of themselves if you sit out in the sun too long. The lime color and intricate detail make these earrings something to smile at on a jewelry stand at home, even.
The splurge: Modern Leaf Necklace, $37. Dig the neo-moonchild look but not quite ready to pose as Tiger Lily with a feather on your head? This 2" pendant-within-a-pendant on a gold-filled chain is all outlines and subtlety, and it's hippie long if you want it to be: Beau & Stella sends the chain at 26" unless you note otherwise in your order.
P.S. We usually riff with a sidenote here, but there's one more piece we couldn't help but mention: the Golden Lotus necklace, $36. We're filing this one in our "special heartfelt gift" bookmark folder ... meaning, we're hoping the user we share this Mac with will buy it for us.
And our Q&A with the artist:
AT: So, you're scaling back part-time at your day job during the recession. Is this a leap of faith or a response to a surge in interest?
ML: Actually, its not a leap of faith or a surge in interest, it's about exploring where I can take my business. I've been working two full-time jobs (architecture and Beau & Stella) since 2008, steadily growing Beau & Stella on my nights and weekends. I've noticed a direct correlation to how much time I put into my budding business and it's success. I've been reminded through this process how powerful setting goals is; one of my biggest goals is to have to have Nordstrom carry my line. Here's hoping!
AT: What Dallas building would work best as a direct inspiration for a piece of jewelry?
ML: My favorite building in Dallas is the Republic National Bank Building. From far away it's very simple, clean and sleek, but when you get close to it, you start to see the great detail on the metal cladding. Even though the panels feature a simple design, when repeated uniformly throughout the entire facade, the result is striking. The Republic National Bank Tower was also the second building in America to use aluminum siding! Simple forms utilizing cutting-edge materials with unexpected detail -- sounds like great jewelry to me!
AT: We noticed a lot of your jewelry has a Grecian flavor. Are you interested in Greek mythology? What is your connection to things Greek?
ML: The women in greek mythology were powerful and respected while still proud of their femininity. I find it very inspiring - why cant we have both? Especially in Dallas, there are so many beautiful, talented, driven women who break a lot of stereotypes. Just because you are successful and driven does not mean you can't be feminine.