Style DNA

BY Linden Wilson // 12.01.14

Statuesque in a fitted black dress, her blond hair coiffed into a loose chignon, Ivanka Trump is every bit as glamorous as you might imagine. “So lovely to meet you!” she exclaimed with contagious charm just prior to her interview at Neiman Marcus NorthPark. “Welcome to my lair,” she joked as she pulled back a curtain to unveil the cozy sitting room where we would chat. Like her business-mogul father, Donald Trump, Ivanka is constantly traveling; just after her Dallas appearance, she hopped on a plane to Mar-a-Lago (The Trump Organization-owned club in Palm Beach) for her younger brother Eric’s wedding. Yet the hardworking beauty’s bubbly disposition never falters, despite a plethora of successful projects on her plate. Besides her beautiful baubles, Ivanka’s eponymous brand has swelled over the past few years to include apparel, footwear, fragrance, accessories, handbags and a book. Her 2014 fine jewelry collections (Metropolis Lune, Metropolis Sol, Athénée and Empire) are beautiful examples of impeccable detail, wrought in 18K gold, diamonds, aquamarine and amethyst. Dainty and stylish, yet strong and bold, they are perfectly akin to the modern woman Ivanka represents.

Magical influences.

My primary source of inspiration tends to come from two sources: travel and architecture. Often those are interwoven. A lot of the collections this year are reflective of my love of Art Deco and that time period and architecture. You see that really clearly in the Metropolis collections. My love of travel you see through the Greek influence and the Greek-key detailing. We also have a collection named after Aberdeen, a city in northern Scotland that’s just magical. The landscape is beautiful, undulating hills and sand dunes and cliffs into the ocean. It’s a very special place.

When inspiration strikes.

Sometimes I’ll see the piece right away — I’ll just know what I want to do. Other times, I’ll think of a detail, like an amazing clasp, and I’ll design the necklace around it. Just the smallest of details becomes the catalyst for the bigger picture. It really depends on my mood. Sometimes it’s my girlfriends. Or my mother, who will send me photos of vintage jewelry at 3 o’clock in the morning because she’s traveling somewhere in Europe and will have a light-bulb moment. It comes from all places, sometimes not such obvious ones.

The woman I’m designing for is that self-purchasing female who’s not waiting for her birthday to get a great cocktail ring. — Ivanka Trump

Creating a fine jewelry collection.

It takes a long time because we are really meticulous from a quality perspective. The woman I’m designing for is that self-purchasing female who’s not waiting for her birthday to get a great cocktail ring. She loves getting one on her birthday or an anniversary, but she is also rewarding herself because she just landed a major account or got an amazing bonus and is buying that bangle or those earrings she wants. I think when you’re designing for those who are buying something for themselves, they really appreciate the attention to detail that isn’t just outward facing: the ease of being able to put something on and the security of the clasp; the detailing on the back of a necklace that nobody sees unless it accidentally flips over, ensuring that it’s as well-executed as the outward facing. Those are the type of things that separate the good from the excellent.

Favorite piece.

It’s too hard! There is a yellow gold open-framework cuff that I love, with pavé diamonds on one side and gold on the other. I love these bangles I’m wearing because you can wear them every day in pretty much every situation. I think for more formal, we have some amazing necklaces. The pearl seed tassel necklace was one of our first pieces, and I just love it so much. It continues to do so well that each season, we refine it and keep developing it.

Woman in business.

[On November 3] I re-launched my website, IvankaTrump.com. The point of the site and all the content we’re creating is advice for a modern, professional woman who is multifaceted and has big aspirations for herself in every aspect of her life — not just in her work but also her personal desires, her home life. She wants to run a marathon; she wants to be a great mom; she wants to be a great girlfriend. She’s the full picture. I think it’s a really exciting time to be a businesswoman today. My mother and her generation helped pave the way for us to be able to embrace our femininity. Now, there is no work life or home life. Technology means it’s one life. I’m at home, and I’m on the phone with the office. I’m in the office, and I’m on the phone with my kids … knowing that it’s one life and embracing that. I’m not shy about showing people pictures of my children in the office. That’s something that wasn’t done 20 years ago. Owning the fact that we are multidimensional is really important — there is a whole new generation of young women who really own that. I wanted to create a site that would be a destination for that working woman, and I just don’t think many people are addressing her. A lot of the business advice that’s been doled out is from the viewpoint of 70-year-old men, which is great because you can learn a lot from them, but it doesn’t feel accessible. I really wanted to create something for women in the first iterations of their professional lives.

Fatherly advice.

On the most basic level, but maybe the most important advice my dad’s ever given me is to love what I do. It’s so important and I’ve seen just how true that is; if you don’t love what you do you can’t really be successful. I see it every day. I have the good fortune of being around some of the great innovators and titans of industry, whether it is finance or tech, and they’re not always the smartest people or the ones with the pedigree. They’re the people who work harder than everyone else, but they don’t view it as work. Most of the people who are really successful would be working if they didn’t have to — and most of them don’t have to anymore. If you find something you truly love, it doesn’t feel like work; it’s just another thing you’re passionate about. That’s the greatest gift you can give yourself. I always tell people that when you’re young is really the time to be bold.

Greatest accomplishments.

My kids. I feel very fortunate every day for having found my husband. I know I couldn’t do what I do without his support. If I had a husband who didn’t feel comfortable with me as a professional or wanted me home every day for lunch, it would be a problem.

Personal style.

My style is classic with a modern edge. I like to wear pieces that are polished and chic, but they have to be able to transition seamlessly throughout my day — a dress that won’t wrinkle with a toddler on my lap or heels that can chase after a three-year-old. I’ve found that accessories are key to elevating any outfit. I wear my own jewelry on a daily basis, whether it be a simple pair of earrings at the office or a statement piece when out to dinner on the weekend with my husband.

Being the brand.

I’m only wearing my own stuff — my bags, my shoes, my dress, and my jewelry. Obviously the brand is about more than me, but it’s not authentic if it’s not something I really love. I actually start with myself, thinking about what I want to be wearing, and go from there. It’s very selfish!

Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry is available at Bachendorf’s, Neiman Marcus NorthPark and Willow Bend in Dallas and at Deutsch & Deutsch in Houston. 

Home, chic home.

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