Australia has never been one of my bucket list destinations. The trek just seemed too far. But watching Oprah and some of her lucky viewers explore the terrain that boasts both beaches and arid desert land, has made me rethink an excursion to the land down under.
As I recently discovered, Australia is also home to a talented pool of young jewelry and fashion designers. And I had the privilege to meet many of these designers at the "G'Day USA Designer Preview" sponsored by Woolmark, the world's most recognized textile symbol. Most of the designers showcased didn't have a retail presence in the America...yet. But keep an eye out for their eye-catching creations.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Lola & Bailey "Sun Dial" necklaces.
Lola & Bailey: This quirky and bold costume jewelry brand launched by two graphic designers, features necklaces inspired by the sun dial and trendy message totes.
Totomoto-Australia: Every piece of Totomoto-Australia jewelry is handcrafted and inspired mostly by the country's beautiful flora and fauna. Any fashion-forward vixen would love to own one of designer Cynthia Ellis's brass statement pieces dripping with replicas of sea horses and butterflies.
Paula Walden: Lady Gaga would go ga-ga for a piece of Paula Kyle Walden's jewelry (cheeky toy soldier-adorned bracelets) or for one of her eye-catching "Bow to Me" head pieces. The crafty 27-year-old designer is a former model with a killer sense of style and sense of humor to match.
Ghost & Lola: It's easy to see why pieces from Kim McClintock's ethereal jewelry line were featured on "True Blood." The fantastical collection is inspired by the designer's background as a visual artist and combines vintage and contemporary objects.
Serpent and the Swan: The brainchild of twisted sisters Hayley and Lauri Smith, the Serpent and the Swan will surely find a following amongst morose New Yorkers with a fascination for well-crafted, basic black separates. Each piece is uniquely adorned with an animal motif -- be it a row of hand carved hummingbird buttons, a horse-head zipper tab, or a double-headed wolf brooch.
Photos by Tracy E. Hopkins