Wilfredo Rosado creates the kind of pieces you'd expect from a man who used to shop for diamonds on 47th street with Andy Warhol: playful, decadent, with nods to "street culture," as the designer puts it. "The art world, the fashion world, high-society in New York, [Andy] was able to bring all of those worlds together on his own terms and make it cool," says Rosado, the man behind the two-months-old eponymous collection, "That's kind of how I approach my work now."
And it's working. Fresh from the February launch, his shocking pink feather earrings graced Gwyneth Paltrow's lobes during her Grammy performance with Cee Lo Green (Rosado already has upwards of 30 requests from private clients) and Rihanna sported one of his cheeky cameo rings at the awards. It was a fitting debut for the collection: they're cool enough to make a splash at the Grammy's and exquisite enough to be worthy of the red carpet.
"I treat diamonds in a way that's not so precious," he says about his unconventional designs. Though that is a bit misleading: Wilfredo's pieces may have an offhand style, but the pieces are unquestionably precious (as in, exquisitely crafted with price tags averaging around $75,000 to match). And their provenance is nothing to scoff at. Wilfredo turned to a legendary Place Vendôme haute joaillerie atelier to produce his couture pieces and all other pieces are handmade in small studios in Italy.
Even the feathers in his collection got the couture treatment, literally. During an initial meeting with Maison LemariÃ© (master feather workers for Chanel, Dior, Balenciaga and others) Wilfredo was worried that they might not be willing to accept him as a new client, until he spied Stefano Pilatti (whom Wilfredo used to share an office with during his 23 years at Armani) in the next room. "I thought, 'This is it! This is going to legitimize me!' So I ran across the room and gave him a big hug and thought, 'I'm in.' It was like all of the stars we aligned."
The result is a series of exuberant plumes that are amazingly customizable: the feathers on the "Gwyneth" earrings are attached by magnets and can easily be unclipped to be worn without or switched for a different color, and the feathers on the large cuff can be unscrewed or swapped for pavÃ© diamonds (the cuff will also come standard with white, black, and pale pink feathers, though Maison LemariÃ© can custom dye any hue).
Possibly the most exciting piece to come from his first collection is the Urban Ring, debuting in late May. It looks like a dome festooned with four teardrop emeralds and a micro pavÃ© pattern, but when you flip the dome over 180 degrees, a six-carat diamond is revealed. "This is where the street culture comes in," Wilfredo says, explaining that he sees it for cities like New York or Johannesburg where the wearer might not want to have a large diamond visible at all times. "You get to your event, flip the cover back and, pow!"
The full line is an impressive 45 pieces in seven different collections--quite a testament to his breadth as a designer.
Wilfredo's collection is available online and will be sold at Bergdorf Goodman starting in May.