Vicki Beamon of Erickson Beamon
Sometimes an accidental discovery is what it takes to launch a hugely successful international company. That’s what Detroit, Michigan natives and business partners, Karen and Eric Erickson and Vicki Beamon discovered nearly 30 years ago when they strung crystals and beads onto suede, creating jewelry for a designer’s runway show. After appearing in high-end retailers such as Bergdorf Goodman and in the pages of Vogue, Erickson Beamon became a viable brand with international mass appeal. Today, having collaborated with high-fashion brands such as Givenchy, Zac Posen, Anna Sui and Alexander McQueen, Erickson Beamon is light years away from that crystal and suede necklace. Founder and half of the company’s namesake, Vicki Beamon, talked to us about the brand’s current collection, what it’s like to see Lady Gaga wear the jewels and why diamonds really are a girl’s best friend.
Fashion Salade: When did you think of designing jewelry and why?
Vicki Beamon: We started creating jewelry in the ‘80s to help out a friend who was doing a fashion show and needed some accessories. Then, we took an advert out in Interview Magazine to see what would happen. We had no idea what the reaction would be but our first phone call was from Bergdorf Goodman and the business grew organically from that point.
FS: Which are your favourite materials to work with?
VB: Karen and I feel strongly the materials we choose in our designs create the feel of the piece, therefore we never limit ourselves and are always excited to experiment. We love mixing materials such as plastic with semiprecious stones. However, since we began, we have been synonymous with Swarovski crystal; they have been great champions of our brand over the years and have commissioned us to create incredible pieces for their “Runway Rocks” events.
FS: It´s common to hear about famous jewelry auctions like Liz Taylor’s and other celebrities. Will you ever have a special auction for your own jewels?
VB: I am lucky to already own a lot of amazing jewelry. Not only do I have a large archive of Erickson Beamon pieces but I also have a beautiful collection of fine jewelry I have collected over the years, as I do sell other designers in my Belgravia boutique.
FS: What does a piece of jewelry symbolise for you?
VB: I believe jewelry represents the emotional side of a woman. Your clothes reflect your state of mind and your jewelry reflects your emotions. When a woman is getting dressed, her mind is connected to her clothes but her emotions are connected to her jewelry and what the piece symbolises to her; a personal attachment or maybe a family heirloom.
FS: Which stone you like the most?
VB: Diamonds of course! They truly are a girl’s best friend as well as my birthstone.
FS: What has been the most exciting moment of your career?
VB: In a span of 30 years, we have had some amazing collaborations with artists and magazine editors, which keeps the energy fresh and exciting. In the early ‘80s, our necklaces were used on the cover of Madonna’s Like a Prayer album and today we are still working with the top artists like Lady Gaga and Beyonce. One of my favourite memories was a De Beers Awards ceremony in Venice called “Nature’s Miracle.” We were presented with an award and the whole event was a wonderful experience. However, this year has been great because we collaborated with Raf Simons on the Jil Sander show. To have our jewelry used by the most minimalist designer was a great moment for me.
FS: How would you describe your work and latest collection?
VB: Erickson Beamon is known for unique, statement jewelry, which is all handcrafted in-house in our Belgravia and Manhattan workshops. The Erickson Beamon woman has a strong sense of herself and her own identity; she is not afraid to stand out! Fashion goes hand-in-hand with Erickson Beamon’s aesthetic. Throughout our 30 year history, we have collaborated with a wealth of designers from Alexander McQueen to John Galliano. This season, we worked with Jil Sander. Each season we create around 10-15 collections. All are inspired by completely different concepts.
FS: What are your inspirations?
VB: Our inspiration each season is as varied as our designs. We are both trend-led and concept-based and we draw inspiration from everywhere including fashion, film and art. This season we have a sophisticated crystal collection called “Night Porter” based on the cult ‘70s film as well as a crazy tribal collection inspired by Mexican Day of the Dead imagery; old coins and a little bit of Voodoo.
FS: As a vintage lover, is there an era you are most inspired by?
VB: I find inspiration in each decade but the Victorian era has always been a great influence on me. We have another story in our SS12 Collection called “Timewarp.” This story takes classic design decades, blurring and reinventing them to create contemporary pieces.
FS: Which celebrities had used your pieces?
VB: One thing I am very proud of is the diversity of our client list. We have an amazing and varied celebrity following. The First Lady, Michelle Obama, and the Prime Minister’s wife, Samantha Cameron, have both worn our jewelry, as well as international celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Beyonce.
FS: What is like to work with family?
VB: Karen and I have been working together for over 30 years, starting in 1983. We are like sisters; finishing each other’s sentences and thoughts. I was there for the birth of both her daughters and have watched them grow up and each become an integral part of our business.
By Juliet De Rose