Special Fashion Week Edition! Dishing With the Designer Who Makes Taylor Swift Shine

Lunch At Michaels

LunchAtMichaelsWith Fashion Week in full swing, the crowd at Michael’s today was full of stylistas (Glamour‘s Connie Anne Phillips, Tom Ford‘s CEO Tom Mendenhall) and media moguls (David Zinczenko and Jim Smith) refueling for the home stretch of shows. (Big guns Ralph, Donna and Calvin still have their runway shows to do) After all, surviving the crowds at Lincoln Center requires nothing short of herculean strength. We prefer to watch the shows the most clever designers livestream (thank you, Oscar de la Renta!) or post to their sites afterwards because we can only pretend to be fabulous one day a week — on Wednesdays, of course.

Diane Clehane, Paige Novick and Mickey Ateyeh
Diane Clehane, Paige Novick and Mickey Ateyeh
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Speaking of fabulous, I was joined today by jewelry designer Paige Novick and our mutual friend, accessories maven Mickey Ateyeh and had a terrific time dishing about the fashion biz. (Sorry, but some of the best stuff is off the record.) Paige launched her signature costume jewelry collection at Bergdorf Goodman in 2008 and then added Phyne by Paige Novick, her fine jewelry collection, with Saks Fifth Avenue in 2013. She recently celebrated an important milestone, having been admitted into the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) last month. “It was surreal,” Paige told me of being surrounded by the top guns in the industry at the welcoming reception and being congratulated by CFDA president Steven Kolb and designer Stan Herman. “I was so happy to be part of ‘the club’ in the best sense of the word.”

Not that Paige hasn’t already broken through the all-important sacred circle of dressing celebrities. Among her bold face fans: Taylor Swift, Mad Men‘s Jessica Paré, Anne Hathaway and It Girl on the Rise, Allison Williams (the flawlessly dressed daughter of Brian Williams). Paige told me she works extensively with stylist-to-the-stars Rachel Zoe and good friend Cristina Ehrlich, but a lot of her star-studded exposure “happened organically” as opposed to the now-common practice of pay-for-play, which many of the big jewelry houses engage in to assure their gems are photographed on the famous. Said Paige: “Beyoncé once bought my ‘Linda’ silver link hoop earrings, which are named after my dear friend Linda Fargo (Bergdorf Goodman’s high priestess of style) and Rihanna borrowed a lot of pieces for her current tour. You sometimes don’t know where your designs are going to show up, but it’s wonderful to see them on such iconic and inspirational women.”

Paige describes her chic, oh-so-modern designs as “trend aware but not trendy” that are more “personal” making them perfect for Oscar and Emmy after-parties. “They are much more personal than the pieces that usually show up on the red carpet. I like to say the pieces take you from day to night and even the morning after.” Both her signature costume line and Phyne by Paige Novick is being snapped up by an increasing number of women who are buying the pieces from themselves. “Jewelry is really having a moment,” said Paige. “It’s a fabulous way to express your personal style with a great single chandelier earring or ear cuff. I prefer pieces that are both subtle and unique.”

Paige earned her street cred with the style set honestly. After studying French languages and literature at the Sorbonne, she landed an internship with Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel. (“He spoke seven languages a mile a minute. He is absolutely brilliant but one of the most intimidating people I’ve ever been around.”) With a mother who has been designing fine jewelry for 35 years and a father who once owned a home furnishings store on the Upper East Side, a career in fashion seemed pretty much preordained. And then there was being named ‘Best Dressed’ in her fourth grade class. “As much as I rebelled and tried to go in a different direction, I was like a homing pigeon, I came back to it in the end because it’s where I felt most at home. I absolutely love it.”