Photo Credit: Eric Levin
Gemvara is honored to have collaborated with Mike & Ton at this year’s Boston Fashion Week. Mike & Ton’s Spring/Summer ‘12 collection was featured on the runway last Saturday night to kick-off the week and, along with the fabulous clothes, the models were glowing in Gemvara’s new Naked Gems line.
Designer Tonya Mezrich, the “Ton” of the Mike & Ton team (designer Michael De Paulo is the other force behind the label), chats with us about the new collection, how she felt seeing her clothes walk down the runway, and what she likes to do when she’s not designing.
G: How did you get your start in fashion?
TM: I always loved fashion. Even as a kid in school I remember designing a dress I wore in a play. More recently than grade school, I started designing jewelry for my label Jewel Design By Tonya, which is carried in Serenella (Boston) and Moxie (Boston and Wellsley). It was always my dream to start a clothing label. The timing was perfect, coming off the heels of The Social Network premiere, Michael and I partnered to start Mike & Ton.
G: Where do you get your design inspiration? What was your inspiration for Mike & Ton’s Spring/Summer ‘12?
TM: We have recently gotten our design inspiration from the great masters. Specifically, Piet Mondrian’s 1930′s paintings inspired our Spring/Summer ‘12 collection. We really wanted to do color blocking, and incorporate that into geometric designs.
G: You also design your own jewelry, how does it compare to designing a clothing line?
TM: Both processes are very exciting. Because I am a solo designer with my jewelry line, the process is very solitary, as you can imagine. I basically sit in my workshop and put things together in a trial and error fashion. I try them on, try them on my pug, my nanny, or whoever is nearby, and troubleshoot based on what I see. For the clothing line, it is a joint process. We work on most of the designs together: collaborating on silhouettes, fabrics, notions. Most pieces have a little of both of us in them, but a few are solely Michael’s and a few are solely mine.
G: What is the best perk of being a designer?
TM: The best perk is having a whole new wardrobe of clothes to wear each season!
G: What’s the most difficult aspect of running your own label?
TM: The most difficult aspect, is handling a growing business by ourselves. Because we are a small business, our motto is to grow as necessary. We are lucky to have an excellent team of interns, Gerard Vallecello from NYC as our show stylist for the fashion show, and understandable families.
G: How did your partnership with Michael De Paulo come about?
TM: We met a few years back when he was dressing me for the 21 premieres.
G: What are the big trends for 2012?
TM: Color blocking will continue to rise in popularity and the pant legs are coming in – you’ll see more of a pegged leg, than a flare.
G: How was it to see your pieces on the runway at Boston Fashion Week?
TM: It was the most thrilling experience ever. Sadly, we didn’t get to see it live because there were no monitors backstage, but I plan on watching my Tagged By Tonya segment this Friday on NECN at 8:45am to catch the highlights from the runway.
G: What’s your favorite thing to do other than designing clothes?
TM: Hanging out with my son, hubby, and pug.
G: What was your favorite Gemvara piece that you paired with your Spring/Summer ‘12?
TM: The triple drop, Naked Gems earrings with diamond details in the post, in ANY color! These are such versatile pieces. I tried to style the runway show the way I would style my own wardrobe. I stayed away from matchy-matchy, and used more daring combinations, like pairing citrine gems with a blue dress, or smoky quartz with paprika fabric.
G: Do you own a piece of Gemvara jewelry?
TM: Yes! I am the proud owner of my own pair of Naked Gems. They are gorgeous. They sparkle beautifully in the light and pretty much go with any outfit (they are onyx and rock crystal). The drops graduate from large to small, which is an unexpected design, making them even more unique. The prong setting is so minimal, that the hardware is barely visible, which is the point of the “naked gem.” I think these will look stunning on any gal, naked or clothed!
Photo Credit: Russ Mezikofsky
Corrine Grousbeck, Lydia Shire, and Tonya Mezrich pose at Mike & Ton and Gemvara’s Fashion Show afterparty. The party was held at Towne Stove and Spirits in Boston where Lydia is the Culinary Director. Both Corinne and Tonya are wearing Gemvara Naked Gems jewelry.