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Fashion / Style File

Virgins, Saints and Angels

Britney Spears, The Kardashians and Disney All Love This Jewelry, and This Woman’s the Reason Why

BY // 12.19.15

What do you get when you have a deep desire for a life filled with passion and creativity, one that far exceeds the typical routine-like lifestyle? You get a Cheryl Finnegan.

The founder and jewelry designer behind Virgins, Saints and Angels spent 14 successful years in the marketing department at Levi Strauss, then left it all behind, determined to find what she called a more meaningful, fulfilling life. Finnegan, who goes by Finn, began traveling immediately after she parted ways with the iconic clothing brand, and gathered inspiration from all around the world, eventually settling in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

“I was fascinated everywhere I went in San Miguel,” she said. “The religion, architecture, churches — everything felt so rich and really interwoven into their culture.” Soon after setting up home in the city, Finnegan after started making small goods, including belt buckles, keychains and, eventually, her signature rosary necklace. She has spent the past 16 years designing jewelry and selling to a wide range of customers, and there is literally something for everyone: the goth queen rocks a gunmetal beaded rosary with interchangeable medallions, while the chic bohemian wears stacked bangles or dainty necklaces and the glam girl dons a statement cuff with semi-precious stones.

Finnegan set up shop in Tootsies recently for a personal appearance and trunk show following a trip to Dallas to promote her newest collection, The Twilight Goddess. We sat down to chat about everything VSA, and more.

WHO IS THE VSA GIRL?
My designs are not a cookie-cutter style. I like to see that creative person — it doesn’t matter what age they are — who is willing to accessorize and put themselves out there and show that they have something individual that they want to share with the world.

THE FIRST CELEB YOU SAW WEARING YOUR DESIGNS?
Britney Spears was the one to put me on the map. During her honeymoon with Kevin Federline she walked out of a store in Santa Barbara wearing my belt buckle, and then wore it for the rest of her trip. Do you know how many times she was photographed during that honeymoon? It was crazy. After that, the phones wouldn’t stop ringing. Also, fashion designer John Galliano wore a belt of mine for his bow on the runway at one of his shows in Paris. That was big!

Holiday Gifting

  • Loeffler Randall - Clutch
  • Cotton Club
  • Loeffler Randall - Shoes
  • Museum of Fine Arts Houston
  • Cotton Club
  • Mariquite Masterson
  • Mariquite Masterson
  • Elaine Turner - GiGi Flats
  • Bond No 9 - Candle
  • Asher Gallery
  • Oscar De La Renta - Clutch
  • Wayne Smith
  • Elaine Turner - Felicia Stole in Magenta
  • Wayne Smith
  • Cle Du Peau - Nail Polish
  • Oscar De La Renta - Earrings
  • Cle Du Peau - Lip Gloss
  • Bond No 9 - Perfume

MOST MEMORABLE PIECES?
Oh god, I have so many. I have some things I made with recycled beads that I really loved. It was a rosary with really big chunky recycled beads made from glass that had this opaque, frosted look, and the cross was cut out by hand. When I find the beads, I always bring them back to my workshop. Of course, I have my archive drawer, so I like to get in there and go through all the older stuff.

COLLABORATIONS?
I did collaboration with the ABC show Once Upon a Time, creating jewelry for three characters over a three-year period. Then I did Disney’s Frozen, which was very fun, and just when I thought it was over they came to me for Cinderella. I had to do Cinderella! For Cinderella I did crowns and beautiful statement necklaces with clustered roses filled with crystals. The pieces were all based on a character and I named the pieces not by the character names but by lines they had in the movie. For example, the evil stepmother pieces were the “You May Call Me Madam” earrings, the necklace and crown and Cinderella’s pieces were “My Carriage Awaits Me.” I also created a collection with the Kardashians when they first began their television show. You can still find Kim wearing her cuff bracelets.

WHAT’S BEEN YOUR BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT AS A DESIGNER THUS FAR?
Well, the biggest thing has been my inauguration into the Council of Fashion Designers of America. That’s when the designers get together and nominate people who they feel have made a difference in the fashion world.

THAT’S BIG. WHAT HAS THAT BEEN LIKE?
I just spent a month in New York City this year for CFDA events. We have our meetings, and I’ll be sitting next to Stacey Bendet of Alice + Olivia, David Yurman and Tommy Hilfiger, with Diane Von Furstenberg at the helm. All the designers who have made this incredible impact in fashion are there. It’s amazing to be around so many peers I have looked up to and who have inspired me since I was 12 years old.

OTHER THAN JEWELRY, IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE THAT YOU LIKE TO CREATE?
I have a passion for snow globes and Christmas ornaments. I also crystalize Virgins. They’re about three and a half feet tall and completely covered in Swarovski crystals; it takes about six months to finish them. My husband is an artist so we do a lot of interior projects together. We live in older houses, so I like to do gothic chandeliers.

Virgins, Saints and Angels pieces are available for purchase in Tootsies and online at Nordstrom

Home, chic home.

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