Their resumes bear names like Gianfranco Ferre, Jimmy Choo, Tabitha Simmons and T Magazine, but Carolina Neri and Berengere Lux longed to step out of public relations and consulting roles into those of designers.
In 2009, the pair launched CA&LOU, a costume jewelry line inspired by past and present style icons — Coco Chanel, Lou Lou de la Falaise, and Kate Moss. The line captures a vintage aesthetic, with gold-dipped silver and bronze pieces that feature 1980s enameling as well as architectural, art-deco-inspired shapes. Some styles are finished off with Swarovski crystals and semi-precious stones, and all are designed by the pair and handcrafted in a small workshop in Milan.
“Nowadays most costume jewelry is industrially made and has somehow lost the charm and the quality of its origin, which traces back to the 1930s,” says Carolina. “At that time each piece was handmade with the same care as for real jewelry. This is exactly what CA&LOU is about — haute jewelry techniques and craftsmanship brought back to our times with a fashion twist.”
A favorite among the international fashion set, CA&LOU can be seen on the likes of stylist Giovanna Battaglia, Queen Rania of Jordan and Margherita Missoni. The brand’s fan base resembles the founders — worldly and chic. Neri hails from Milan, and Lux from Geneva.
CA&LOU retails from $200 to $1,800 and is available at Saks Fifth Avenue nationwide and on Saks.com.