behind the seams: house of lavande

whoever said "out with the old, in with the new" must have never worn house of lavande. from sweetheart bracelets and victorian lockets, to cocktail rings and museum pieces, house of lavande's vintage costume jewelry collection is not only "in," it's all over the red carpet and covering the pages of the world's top fashion mags.

kristen bell wearing house of lavand at the 2009 mtv movie awards

so when a few weeks ago i had the chance to stop in hol and pick the brain of director of operations vanessa nedvins, i jumped on it to learn more about the collection...

...it all began about three and a half years ago when jewelry connoisseur and palm beach native tracy smith took a look at her personal collection and realized she possessed so much that she needed to buy a display case just to view her own jewelry. since then she has scoured tons of antique fairs, flea markets and estate sales across europe and visited private dealers all over the united states and abroad to create a curated collection of more than 9,000 pieces priced between about $300 to several thousand dollars. the collection is currently housed in four locations - including harrod's, henri bendel, on pedder and, of course, palm beach - with still more stockists coming soon. the first and main hol spot located on royal poinciana way in palm beach resembles a lavish paris boudoir...just look at the shot of the gorgeous shop below.

i felt as though i could spend hours and even days browsing the shop, which mind you, is not all that big, and still not view every piece. it is easy to see how one could get (joyfully) lost while shopping. the staff is more than knowledgeable though, and happy to help navigate through the thousands of vintage treasures. though there are no set standards for vintage, the individual pieces are chosen based on a "wow" factor - those that bring out some kind of emotion. each piece is tried on and checked for how it sits, who it's by, when it was made, etc. before it's added to the collection. hol was designed to take the labor out of finding something special.

czech purple bracelet~ $1,800

there are exciting rarities from huge names like yves saint laurent and chanel included in the collection, as well as unsigned masterpieces from the early 20s through 70s. there is czech jewelry composed of faceted crystals, the remants line made from several necklaces clasped together creating one piece, and contemporary pieces that use vintage stones, clasps and other findings from the 50s, 60s and 70s. i even found some 80s pucci sunglasses in the mix! most are statement pieces, but there are finds across all spectrums.

middle eastern unsigned ring ~ $348

not only are the pieces stunning to view, some have pretty amazing histories. hol once visited the estate of a boca woman who had begun performing at the age 14. every piece she owned had a story - there were plumes from when she was 16 performing as a lounge singer, display boxes from her great aunt, and even jewelry from the estate of old hollywood star ann miller from the 1940s. it's accessories with stories like this that make the outfit all the more thrilling to wear.

now that you have heard the initial story behind house of lavande, be sure to check back in the next couple days to get my inside scoop from vanessa on who's wearing it, how you can wear it, and what trends you should capitalize on in the upcoming months.

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