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Soaking Up Fashion and Design in New York

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This summer was so packed with travel that I think I’m two flights short of achieving “jet-setter” status! After my adventures in Vegas, I headed off to New York last month to scope out the Jewelers of America (JA) show. I was invited to join a small, select group of jewelry designers who will be featured in the JA New Designer Gallery in March of 2018, and wanted to get a feel for the show and the space. This gallery is invitation-only, and I’m honored and excited to have been selected! And my trip was a short one, but as you’ll see, I packed a lot in.

Central Park walk  - Karin Jacobson NYC Trip
 It was a gorgeous day, so I took a walk through Central Park on the way to the MET museum.

Exploring avant-garde design at the MET

One of the best things about working in a creative field is that museum trips count as research! And since I’d arrived the day before the JA show, I hustled myself over to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 2017 Costume Institute exhibition, a stunning retrospective of clothing designer Rei Kawakubo’s work for Comme De Garçons. Every year the Met puts on a fashion exhibit that launches with the famous Met Gala, a fabulously flashy event that draws out designers and celebs for a night of strutting it on the red carpet. (Photos from the Gala always show off amazing couture gowns, and often couture jewelry as well, so even the pre-show is a treat to peep.) Once the party’s over, the show launches, and I felt so lucky to have the chance to see this one in person.

Rei Kawakubo at the MET 1 - Karin Jacobson NYC trip
Rei Kawakubo at the MET 2 - Karin Jacobson NYC trip
Rei Kawakubo Exhibit at the MET Museum, NYC

Kawakubo is known for her unusual, boundary-pushing designs, some of which prompt observers to ask, “So how exactly would I … wear that?” Think cocoon-like dresses, rumpled, unfinished-looking jackets, and asymmetry everywhere. She is as playful as she is skillful, and it was a thrill to see some of her master works up close to observe the care she took in creating them. Kawakubo’s Comme De Garçons line is packed with sculptural shapes, voluminous forms, and creative fabric folding techniques, all elements I try to consider while designing jewelry for my own Origami collection. This exhibit was a feast of inspiration, to be sure.

Rei Kawakubo fashion design at the MET - Karin Jacobson NYC trip
Rei Kawakubo fashion design at the MET - Karin Jacobson NYC trip
 Rei Kawakubo fashion design at the MET - Karin Jacobson NYC trip
It was so fun to check out the shapes and forms that Rei Kawakubo's designs take!

Gorgeous views and excellent eats

Although I only spent one night in Manhattan on this trip, I just happened to book myself a ridiculously cool room at the Arlo Nomad in Midtown Manhattan. The Nomad has tiny rooms that won’t break your budget, but they all feature floor to ceiling windows. I had a corner room with a movie-worthy view of the Empire State Building. When I curled up for the night, I felt like I was floating through New York on a big, soft bed!

Argo Nomad Hotel - Karin Jacobson NYC Trip
 View from my bed at Arlo Nomad Hotel

I also lucked out with Her Name is Han, the top-notch Korean restaurant next door to my hotel, where I had a memorable and delicious dinner. I love Korean food, but there are only a handful of Korean eateries in the Twin Cities where I live, so I was excited to find a terrific restaurant so close to try out. After this feast of succulent Gochujang Marinated Pork Rib BBQ and sweet and spicy Rice Cake, Shishito Pepper and Kabocha with Yuzu Gochujang Sauce, though, I’m reminded that I need to make more of an effort to enjoy this cuisine on my home turf.

Her Name is Han Korean Dinner - Karin Jacobson NYC Trip
 Look at this beautiful dish - squash, Shishito peppers & rice cakes in chili sauce from Her Name is Han!

Scoping out JA New York

The following morning, I woke up early to head over to the JA New York show at the Javits Center. JA New York is considerably smaller than the sprawling Las Vegas shows, so I was able to tackle the whole event in a single day. There, I got to peruse the gems, check out lots of cool jewelry, meet up with some designer and blogger friends, and talk to the show management about logistics for the New Designer Gallery in March. It was so inspiring to get a peek at all of the designer jewelry, but I was especially keen to visit with a couple of colleagues and rub elbows with some of the amazing new designers.

New Designer Gallery JA New York - Karin Jacobson NYC Trip
 Visiting friend and fellow designer Susan Crow at the New Designer Gallery at JA, New York.

I hadn’t planned to spend money on gems, since I’d used most of my gems budget at the AGTA show ... but I couldn’t resist these exquisite rough aquamarines. I purchased them from Robert Bentley, a New York-based gem dealer who spends much of the year living in Brazil, where he sources directly from miners and runs his own cutting factory.

Rough Aquamarine at JA New York  - Karin Jacobson NYC Trip
 Gorgeous aquamarines from Robert Bently that I picked up at the show!

Finally, I got to walk through the New Designer Gallery with Liz, the lovely woman who selects participants, and get a preview of the show setup. Seeing the booths in advance really helps me plan out how I want my own display to look.

Then midday, I headed from the show back to the airport. I was only in New York for a little more than 24 hours, but I think I used my time wisely. The fall months will be more focused on designing and creating pieces for my Origami and wedding lines, so less jet-setting and more bench-sitting. But I certainly enjoyed my jewelry-focused travels this summer season!

Enjoying a magazine and some wine during my extra hour at JFK airport - Karin Jacobson NYC trip
 Short flight delays can be perfectly lovely...when you know how to enjoy them!


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