Can’t afford St. Clair’s designs—which can set you back several grand at Saks and Neiman Marcus—but love the look? We found great substitutes (pictured: earrings, $60; necklace, $288) at an Art Institute gift shop in Gallery 150.
Jewelry designer Temple St. Clair has a flair for the 16th century. The native Virginian first developed her Old World aesthetic while living in Florence, where she pulled inspiration from Renaissance painters such as Agnolo Bronzino. Now well established in the New York fashion scene, St. Clair projects an interesting crossbreed of genteel Southerner and European savant. Her new book, Alchemy: A Passion for Jewels (Collins Design; $49.95), is a highly personal look into the historical origins of her unique, aristocratic creations. Using her refined per-spective, we wondered what would catch St. Clair’s eye in the Art Institute’s collection. Turns out she went for a 17th-century portrait of an unnamed young lady by Dutch painter Paulus Moreelse. “I crave detail,” St. Clair says in reference to the repeat patterns in the textile. And the mystery girl seemed ripe for a story in the making: “Often, just letting my imagination flow around a character can lead to a whole collection.”
Photography: (Jewelry) Michael Boone; Paulus Moreelse, ”Portrait Of A Young Lady” C. 1620, The Art Institute Of Chicago