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.
Wilfredo's Pink Plume Earrings: 18k white gold feather with diamonds and tourmalines.
"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 Lemarié (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 pavé diamonds (the cuff will also come standard with white, black, and pale pink feathers, though Maison Lemarié 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 pavé 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.
Factory "transforms cogs into sheets of industrial lace."
Cage is delicately architectural with diamonds set in intricate interlocking scaffoldings.
Fringe--a collection befitting of Tina Turner's dance moves--is made of a series of thin gold chains capped off by diamonds.
Branches takes a stylized view of a natural world "fruited" in diamonds.
Hand-carved in a legacy cameo workshop in Torre del Greco, Italy, the Cameo collection gives the old standard a saucy update. "With everything I do, I wanted there to be some sexual tension," he says.
In another twist on tradition, the Venetian Blackamoor style is "playfully reinterpreted to pay homage to the African princes of today."
The Feather collection takes its inspiration from an unlikely source: roach clips. "In the late 70's and 80's, girls would smoke weed with them and then clip the feathered clips to the back of their Lee jeans," he says. "I thought it was so cool. I wanted to make that more glamorous."
Of course, a Wilfredo screwdriver is no average screwdriver: the "Jewel Tool," which is included with each piece in the collection, is elegantly engraved with a feather and is a gem in and of itself.
Wilfredo's collection is available online and will be sold at Bergdorf Goodman starting in May.