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Take a peek inside any LA boho babe's jewelry box and you're guaranteed to find a piece of Vanessa Mooney. Since starting her eponymous accessories line in 2009, the Cali-bred jeweler has decked out the digits and décolletages of style stars from the blogosphere (Shea Marie, Olivia Lopez, more) and the paparazzisphere (Alessandra Ambrosio, Vanessa Hudgens and Rumer Willis, to name a few) and expanded her gypsy cool style to fest-ready tees, a shoe collab with Dolce Vita and more.
We caught up with the LA jeweler last Friday at her incredibly inspiring Highland Park abode, where she toasted latest collection of globally-inspired accoutrements (aptly titled Illuminations) during a stylish, sangria-fueled party beneath the stars.
Throughout all your collections, what's been the one constant source of inspiration?
"For sure California: living in California and that vibe of just wanting to feel comfortable. No matter what, my brand's always going to be 'California'; I'm always trying to design pieces for girls in New York and all over the world, but I think that's going to be constant."
Cute decor at Vanessa's launch party.
"I grew up in Hollywood and Santa Barbara so the beach and mountains and the city, LA, is always going to be [an influence] in my collections for sure. And just, like, sexy bohemian pieces. For me, 'bohemian' is not just about that California girl, you know? I try to show that in my collections. For me, ['bohemian'] is more about time periods and revolutions of music and fashion. Everything that is bohemian started from a revolution, someone wanting more, or wanting to question what's happening in the world."
What did you do differently in this collection?
"Well I tried to introduce a very simple metal, silver and gold look a few years ago and my customer wasn't quite ready for it. It was really interesting. I think I did that end of last year and I've slowly started introducing just metal, strong statement pieces that are not super layered like I normally do. I wanted to do something that was bohemian-inspired but a bit more edgy and simple where it's not about so much jewelry but just a few key pieces."
Do you have any favorites from your new line?
"My favorite piece from the collection are probably the Arrowhead chokers, rings and necklaces. And the chain ear cuffs!"
Photo by Janell Shirtcliff
Did you ever have a moment of rebellion against your Cali roots?
"Honestly, I've never been that girl who's been like, 'I don't like LA, I wanna get out of LA.' I think LA is so diverse and interesting and there's so much here. Of course New York, Paris and London are fantastic cities, but LA is special and sometimes I think we don't give it enough credit, you know what I mean? It's a really special place, there's so many different types of people and so much art. I'm proud. I'll always be proud to design from LA."
Right on! Speaking of our great city, can you share your latest favorite shopping spots?
"The Rose Bowl—I always go anytime I can. I'm always searching for vintage stores, that's where I always have the most fun shopping. There's this place down the street. Remember [that line] Jovovich-Hawk? We did a trunk sale together years ago, and I don't know how I found it but [the label's co-designer] Carmen Hawk had started a vintage store, Avalon Records and Vintage. She was selling her archives of all of her vintage that they based their line on. It's her and her husband, it's a record and vintage store and I just fell in love with it. It's really good!"
A peek inside Vanessa's home office.
We'll definitely have to check it out! Any others?
"I always love Wasteland and What Goes Around Comes Around. American Rag is also somewhere I used to shop all the time. The Dreslyn is a really cool website. I haven't actually bought anything yet, but [I will] soon!"
We love what you're wearing, by the way. Where's it from?
"This is Reformation. Always Reformation! I remember when they were repurposing vintage. What they do is fucking awesome. And then my friends For Love + Lemons. I just love their feminine and easy-to-wear clothes."
Vanessa's stylish pals hang out at her very boho abode.
Where do you go when you need to get away from LA?
"Ojai! Ojai Rancho Inn is this cool little hotel. They have these wild flower fields that are so beautiful you can take walks through. And horse back riding in the mountains! [There's also] a really beautiful spa at Ojai Valley Inn and Spa."
We need a new grub recommendation! What's one of your faves?
"I'm a big sushi fan and love this place called Sushi Go 55. It's kinda hidden in the Tokyo Mall near Little Tokyo."
We spotted LA model/Ref babe Jennifer Humphrey with pals.
Vanessa with her model pal Anna Herrin.
Another lookbook shot for the designer's latest jewelry collection.
· Vanessa Mooney [Official Site]
· Inside Vanessa Mooney's Epic Sale; Coachella Food Map [Racked]
· For Love & Lemons, Vanessa Mooney Will Get You Desert Ready [Racked]