Bauble and Bag Chatter With Designer Heather Henry

by The Daily Front Row

Heather Henry is a Georgia-bred, Texas-based girl with an eye for stones, and an eponymous accessories started solely with baubles and has since grown to include handbags. Intrigued? Henry gave us a peek at her Fall/Winter ’13 collection, which was filled with croc-print minaudieres and marquise-shaped necklaces and rings. We couldn’t get enough of her beautiful baubles. Et vous?

You hit the joillerie circuit while living in Mexico City: how’d that happen?
When I married my husband, we moved to Mexico City for the year because he was getting his MBA there. I was bored, so I started taking metalsmithing classes.  I tried to do it in Spanish as well—that was interesting!

You started out doing social work and then picked up bauble design. What prompted the shift?
I thought I wanted to become a lawyer and go into social work. But then I moved to Austin on a whim. It was so completely different from Augusta, Georgia, where I’m from: everyone in Augusta was very conservative, at least in what I was surrounded by. I liked that people in Austin had different views—and they wore clothing I’d never really seen anywhere else! I got a lot of inspiration just from watching people.

Do you think it’s tougher to be a burgeoning designer in Austin, versus NYC or L.A.?
No, it’s just on a smaller scale in Austin. It never occurred to me that anything was missing. Even in Lubbock, Texas, where I live now, there isn’t a whole lot around, but you can always get what you need. I can order things online!

What happened, career-wise, when you hit Texas?
I moved to Lubbock, Texas, where my husband’s grandmother has an artist’s colony, LHUCA [Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts], and they put me in touch with this gentleman there named Ron, who really taught me everything. He’s my mentor!

Nice! So what’s your aesthetic like? 
I always liked antique jewelry styles, but I wanted to update them. I design pieces woman can buy and wear with jeans or a dress. When I buy something, I want to get my wear out of it! The minaudieres are a kind of an extension of my jewelry designs. 

What’s happening for Fall?
We really focused on the stones themselves, mainly on their shape. I kept with the marquise shape, which I introduced in my first collection and have since just built around that. One of the staples is the pyramid pieces, which are just easy layering pieces.

Who’s your biggest design influencer?
My mother! I’ve looked at lots of old pictures of her. The marquise shape in my collection is based on a piece that my mother had. Architecture and nature also influence my designs.  

Where do you make all of your pieces?
It’s all made in New York; I visit once a month, so it’s easy for me to oversee production.

Who are your dream customers?
Emma Stone or Jessica Biel: they’re classy yet still edgy, eclectic women. But really anyone, at this point.

Which designer’s threads would best complement your creations?
I would love to see my jewelry paired with an Isabel Marant outfit! 

What’s coming up next for Heather Henry Designs?
Lots of color! We’ll do some enameling on the crocodile minaudieres, and the pyramid designs will be done in bright greens and blues. I might also do a bit of silver with coral in my designs. I like mixing colors: my lapis ring with ruby is an example of that. Those stones are complete opposites, but that makes it work and pop! My first collection was a little all over the board: I wanted to design everything, and I wanted it all out there. Now, I’ve narrowed it down in the way that reflects how I want to evolve.

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