PHILIP CRANGI, JEWELRY DESIGNER

 
 
BABES

“I’m a jewelry designer and I have a couple of lines of jewelry. It really started as a fine jewelry collection — or our take on fine jewelry. I went to RISD, not for jewelry — but I quickly fell into doing jewelry. The jewelry studios were really gorgeous. They were so the opposite of a south Florida upbringing; like this building from the 1860’s with original tools; I was really seduced by the whole alchemy part of it. And I think I really found a voice there. I developed this hybrid technique of using iron and gold together. There weren’t a lot of people doing jewelry at that moment. So I started working for all kinds of different people doing home ware and restorations. More and more, I started doing that kind of decorative art and that is when Courtney became my business partner. In 2001, we started the collection. We started with Philip Crangi and developed Giles and Brother as this sort of less expensive, easier to produce line. Over the years it has really become the driving force — a much bigger enterprise.

I try to go the gym or do something five days a week. I go running or work out and if I do those things, I get out of bed, eat a crazy breakfast and go. Then I will just shower at the gym. I like the Body Milk for Men by Santa Maria Novella. It smells like Christmas drinks a little bit. I love the spiciness of it. That’s the most complex scent I wear. It is really light so it is good for this time of year.Dermalogica makes a really great daily exfoliant powder and I use that to cleanse my face. I do believe in moisturizing. I use Dr. Dennis Gross Age Erase Moisture, I think it’s important the older you get. I have this Florida skin that gets real dried out up here. I also really like to be tan [laughs]. I didn’t when I lived in Florida but it happened to me later in life, so it kind of dries me out too. Right now I’ve still got my winter tan, which is just being pale [laughs].

I spend a lot of time making it look like I don’t do anything to the beard. I trim it just about everyday, just keeping tight. I don’t use trimmers, but scissors and a comb so it takes a while.  I am pretty lucky — if I won any lottery, I have great hair. I have a full head of it [laughs]. My friends who are losing their hair are really pissed. I shave my head now but when I had hair I didn’t do much to it. I personally don’t find it attractive in a man to be overly groomed. I love having a shaved head though, it’s really nice. I can go to any barber and just get my head shaved for twenty bucks.

I never loved a complex, cologne-y scent. I like a lemon with a pepperiness of patchouli or something. I’m into Aqua Di Parma, which is really fresh, and that Santa Maria Novella Patchouli. I always have Santa Maria Novella Patchouli and I layer something on top of it and make it my own scent. It is really important to me the way things smell; there is so much memory there. When I met my boyfriend he always had Santa Maria Novella potpourri, and I never grew up even thinking about potpourri [laughs]. So he always had this potpourri and I had an almost nostalgic deep connection to it, like something I had always been wanting to smell or smell like. That really affected me, I love that scent.

I go through these phases with tattoos where I get like three of four in a month and then I won’t get them for years. It’s been that way since I was sixteen. The most recent ones are ones that I’ve wanted for so long. They’re from ‘Woodstock’ by Joni Mitchell, also by Crosby Stills and Nash. It says ‘We Are Stardust, We Are Golden.’ It’s multi-layered to me because in the true sense of the word we are all stardust, literally. And as inspiration moves through your body and out of your hands it’s almost like a magician with sparkles coming out of the tips of his fingers [laughs]. I have this image of that. When the ideas are really moving and I am immersed and drawing them, I feel most alive. I have this visual component that is part Jem and the Holograms and part Peter Pan.

I did so much work outside of jewelry and fashion and that really appeals to me. The thing that was so great about jewelry is that it’s so contained. And New York — just the spaces and everything about it, the bigger it gets the more difficult it is. I felt like I really had something to say that was small. And now I’m feeling like I might have something to say on a larger scale. The idea of doing something in the world of home but super high-end luxury could be next. I want to make things that people are just so seduced by they must own them, and not because they were told to buy it in a magazine. I want it to be beyond trend.”

-As told to The Formula / Photos by Aimee Blaut in New York

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