Wearable Art, Pauletta Brooks
Magnificent natural minerals, raw, semiprecious, and polished stones, vintage glass crystals and findings, resin mesh, lavish gold leaf and patinas – all materials sculpted by Pauletta Brooks, to create her unique designs, eye-catching manifestations from a mysterious world of beauty and fantasy. Blessed with a bountiful imagination, this graduate of the Arts from both Hampshire College and The Fashion Institute of Technology shapes each piece individually, instinctively allowing the material to dictate form while always keeping in mind the function to the wearer. Her signature is unmistakable: Sculptural, organic, bold ‘signature’ pieces that often look as if they’ve been dredged up from the sea from a mermaid’s lair.
How did you get into fashion?
After university, where I studied art, film, and dance I worked for several years in the fashion industry and as a freelance fashion illustrator and stylist. One of my fun freelance gigs was doing the windows at Patricia Field’s original store on 8th St. where I used several of my ‘found-object’ art masks to build a tribal theme. They were constructed of rubber tubing, lobster claws, straw, etc. Coinciding with that, I was helping to style a fashion show of simple black bathing suits. My partner suggested we accessorize the models with big tribal jewelry. Not finding what I wanted for the models, I decided to create the jewelry myself, sending the 28 models down the runway in ‘found-object’ earrings similar to the masks that were big, bold, tribal and totally one of a kind. When the show ended several buyers inquired about the jewelry and placed orders, launching me into a career as a jewelry artist!
Describe your aesthetic in 3 words.
Organic, tactile, mystical
What are my main influences as a designer?
I am influenced, first and foremost, by the materials. Every gem or mineral has a story it wants to tell and that story helps determine whether I choose to use thermoplastic mesh or metal as a base. There are the immediate influences and then there are the underlying, subtle influences, like what photographers or art I’m looking at that week or just the mood I’m in. I live in New York City, so the visual influences are plentiful.
What about the most recent “Mermaid” Collection?
Collections for me are malleable. I can start a collection, put it away for some time and then revisit it again a year later adding pieces or reworking others. Some pieces get sold- others added. My work isn’t dictated by seasonal trends or fashion trends. The thermoplastic mesh material that I construct many of my jewelry pieces with lends itself to a look and mood reminiscent of under water treasures discovered from a mermaid’s lair…so I’ve called that collection: “Mermaid”.
Photo Credits 1-5: Omorphy Photos
Model: Julia Alekberova, Richelle Oslinker
Stylist: Amy Mach
Photographer: Nicolas Kern
Model: Laura Hanson Sims