Gold Charm

Lana Fertelmeister, one of the city’s leading jewelry designers, glams it up—here at home and on the road.

Photo: Katrina Wittkamp

Lana Fertelmeister
In 2003, Lana Fertelmeister’s world changed dramatically: Cameron Diaz was photographed wearing the Chicago jewelry designer’s distinctive 14-karat earrings at the première of Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle. The 31-year-old Russian native considers herself a hardworking immigrant whose road to success just happens to be paved with gold. She now clocks a lot of time traveling the country to appear at trunk shows for the luxury stores that carry her gold and diamond jewelry line, Lana Jewelry. In Chicago, she runs her business with her father, Naum, and boyfriend, Rob Bramlette, and recently introduced her first non-jewelry product: a $160 candle flecked with 24-karat gold; available at Marshall Field’s.

HER STYLE TOUCHPOINTS
“My glamorous Aunt Irina lived between her homes in Moscow and Vienna, and I always picture her with her hair pulled back, wearing a black turtleneck, bangle bracelets, and big gold hoops. My mother, a doctor, was married in Russia in a white mini dress with patent leather shoes and a great-looking bouffant bob. I still think the seventies was one of the best-looking fashion eras, and, from Ungaro to Cavalli, they are still incorporating that sexy Studio 54 look.”

 

WHERE SHE FINDS A TASTE OF RUSSIA IN CHICAGO
“Zhivago’s [9925 Gross Point Rd., Skokie] has a wild Saturday night supper club with delicious food, singing, and dancing, like in Russia, where you do it all the way, or not at all. At Russian Tea Time [77 E. Adams St.], you can get a flight of six vodkas in flavors like black cherry, licorice, and lime, with a platter of dark bread and caviar, and you get real happy, real fast.”

 

FUNNY TRUE STORY
“I set my Gucci Hobo bag with the gold handles on the counter when I was renting a car in Dallas, and the [rental-car] woman looked at me and said, ‘Do you know that you have a Taurus? Honey, in Dallas, you can’t travel with that bag in a Taurus,’ and she gave me a [free upgrade to a] Jaguar instead.”

 

THE LAST FIVE THINGS SHE BOUGHT
“The most comfortable Prada gym shoes that are the perfect things to wear when I kick off my five-inch heels; a fabulous belt and a great white shirt from Zara in SoHo. The very last issue of Vitals magazine with Giselle on the cover, and a wonderful Darphin lip gloss that’s soft and lasting, and doesn’t taste funny.”

 

WHERE SHE SEEKS INSPIRATION
“Miami Beach, from 16th to 25th streets on Collins Avenue, is the haven for the most deliciously glamorous, sexy, and uninhibited human behavior. I go to the Shore Club or the Raleigh for a week and stare at the ocean and the people, and design like crazy while I listen to Donna Summer, Joss Stone, or Sarah Brightman.”

 

ON JEWELRY
“A pearl choker can put 10 to 15 years on a woman, but transparent gold chains that hit below the cleavage, and earrings that move along the neck, are a subtle way to be sexy. You’re not trying too hard, and it works day or night.”

 

ON MEN AND JEWELRY
“I find jewelry on men distasteful and unappealing. A man should look masculine and a woman should look feminine, and at that level we all begin to look sexy. A real man should wear a Baume & Mercier or a Brietling, and cuff links. And every married man should wear a wedding band.”

 

I CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT MY . . .
“golden retriever, Rocco; my perfect 15-year-old Gap denim jacket; and a pair of superfitted Paige Denim jeans.”

 

FAVORITE CHICAGO STORES
“I love Sweet William [15 E. 1st St., Hinsdale]. I still love Marshall Field’s State Street, but I think Neiman Marcus is Mecca. I have fallen in love with vintage, at Lulu’s at the Belle Kay [3862 N. Lincoln Ave.] and the Daisy Shop [67 E. Oak St.].”

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