Borough/Neighborhood: Brooklyn/ ParkSlope
Profession: Designer, Lifestyle Consultant
Elsa Mehary,who was born in Ethiopia and raised in upstate New York, is a style visionary. She has worked as an art director, jewelry designer, illustrator and graphic designer. From an early age she was drawing, painting, sewing, crocheting, and creating, following in the footsteps of her artistic family. Her East African origins, painter father, world traveling mother and fashionable grandmother collectively influenced her in terms of style and global consciousness. With an exceptional eye and ability to absorb quickly she worked as an art director for several magazines including In Style, Harper’s Bazaar, Lucky, Real Simple and T Style Magazine. She is currently working on a New York love stories blog of couples portraits and a line of fine jewelry which uses healing crystals in modern form which empowers its owner. Her mission is to bring beauty in form and a sense of consciousness to everyone that crosses her path.
How would you define your personal style?
I am a mix of the old world and the new world. I love vintage, modern and color.
For example I might wear a classic Victorian jacket with an African print mini skirt in a fun and sexy way but always comfortable. I just bought these red vegan boots from Tom’s. Now I am trying to incorporate social and environmental consciousness into my wardrobe. Everything is playful but definitively unique. If I am not wearing a pattern that day there will be a bold color or jewelry statement. Getting dressed is an art.
How does your background as an art director and photographer influence your jewelry design?
For one thing I am very much influenced by color, form and light. Both those industries taught me patience and timing and to trust your intuition about what looks best. And, that there is always another opportunity to change.
When you’re working on Jewelry line, what kind of process do you have?
I usually have some organic symbol that is the center and all shapes and stones will revolve around that base. I had one collection based around the lotus flower which is featured in many representations of Hindu gods and goddesses. I am in a transitional rejuvenation phase so green and white are central. Lots of green amethyst, quartz and agate. Mediation and exercise help in the creative process. When I sit down to work I can listen and be still and be more in sync.
What tips can you give to the scared to accessorize?
Start with your best feature and then play it up. For example if you have beautiful hands or you love a great manicure then stick with rings or you have a beautiful smile then necklace or earrings and keep it simple. Accessories will always mirror your personality but I recommend keeping in mind your actual physical size. I have a tendency to go very bold which is great but if I am wearing a bold necklace then I will keep it minimal on the rest of my accessories because I am petite. No need to scream walking down the street.
Are there any trends that you wish would just go away already?
I believe in style so I don’t really follow the trends; much like religion I believe in everyone’s right to follow whichever trend they love.
Favorite Five in the Five Boroughs?
Layla. The thing that I live for is travel. So the shops that I love in some way remind me of little specialty curated gem boutiques that you find on an island. Layla a small shop in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn is just that. It has pillows and throws from John Robshaw and simple intricate Indian embellished caftans and dresses plus the best delicate gold high end jewelry.
ABC Carpet in Union Square, Manhattan. This is my number one fav store!! I feel like I am stepping into a spa, foreign bazaar, interior show room, and tea house all at the same time. The energy in there is incredible. It’s so chock full of beautiful things but it’s edited so well that nothing appears crowded. I love the organic cosmetics lines that they offer namely the new Intelligent Nutrients products by the former creator of Aveda. It’s so pure it’s edible! They have great jewelry and gifts, books and CDs that are all very global. I learn something new about the world with each visit and then enjoy great food afterwards at ABC Kitchen.
J.Crew in Soho for staples. I shop here for basics. Usually I will find it online first or enjoy it in the catalogue then just breeze thru the store in Soho on my way to the Apple Genius Bar where I will catch a lecture on the latest app or a class in final cut pro for film editing. It’s the store that I use to modernize my vintage finds.
Brooklyn Flea. I just love the flea. It has the 4 F’s, friends, family, food and fun plus great vintage African print dresses, coats, furs by Joan Van Hees and beautiful fresh flower bouquets by KatFlower. There is so much style just walking by while you shop also! I ride my bike over when the weather is good and just enjoy the Brooklyn love.
Kisan concept store. A great little French inspirational shop in Soho that has great lines with timeless pieces, CD’s, books and its own blog for more inspiration.