Elizabeth Sulcer On Vintage Chanel Ornaments, What To Wear This Party Season, And Her New Jewelry Collection With Ilene Joy

by Freya Drohan

When it comes to celebrating the holidays in style, no one does it like multi-hyphenate Elizabeth Sulcer. Indeed, between the vintage Chanel ornaments on her tree and a repertoire of to-die-for party looks, it’s more like chic-mas than Christmas in her books. Calling for another reason to get glammed up, Sulcer has once again collaborated with New York City-based fine jewelry brand Ilene Joy on a collection of statement cocktail and signet rings and earrings that hark back to her favorite era—the disco days and glittering nights of the 1970s. We caught up with Sulcer to hear about who she’d take to Studio 54 with her and what’s on her fantasy wishlist this season.

What are your holiday plans? What’s your favorite thing about this time of year?
I am super excited for the holidays! My husband, son, and I are going away to Costa Rica on a magical vacation with family and friends. My favorite thing about the holidays is being able to celebrate and reflect on the whole year together and escape the city for a bit. I love being in nature and near the ocean and the beach; it allows me to take the time to recollect all the blessings in life and how grateful I am for everything and everyone.

Do you have any fun holiday traditions with your family?
My son Stone is three-years-old now. I love how everything he sees and experiences is so new and exciting. We have a beautiful white Christmas tree that we always decorate together with vintage Chanel ornaments. We also like to go take my son to see the Saks and Bergdorf Christmas windows and the tree at Rockefeller Center. He loves all the magical lights! It makes me remember how much I used to love all the lights and decorations too as a child. What a special time of year it is.

Tell us about your collection with Ilene Joy. How did you all originally meet and what drew you to working together?
I had worked with Rae on a few projects over the years, so when she and Ilene launched Ilene Joy, it was immediately on my radar. I styled a few of my clients with Ilene’s gorgeous jewels but had never met Ilene in person. When they approached me to partner in an official capacity, I was already interested. Then after an initial call, it was truly a match made in heaven: good vibes, great ideas, and kindred spirits. We share the innate love of luxury mixed with cool girl glamour, in an urban spirit.

Elizabeth Sulcer x Ilene Joy (Courtesy)

We know you love your references! What was the direction you decided on for this capsule?
It is very important to me as a style creative to constantly grow as an artist. I love film, art, and fashion. This collaboration was an iconic moment for me. Ilene Joy is the perfect jewelry brand to bring to life my inspiration. I love the chic glamour of the ’70s, the mystery of Studio 54, and the glory days of style. The strong architectural lines accented with powerful green and blue colored stones reminds me of the purest and most beautiful moments in life. I wanted to translate some of my dreams into reality—and there was no one more perfect than Ilene Joy to partner with thanks to her magnificent and unique creations.

Tell us about the new 16-piece collection! What’s the vibe? What are some favorites?
Traditionally featuring collections positioned in the high and fine jewelry realm, the new Elizabeth Sulcer x Ilene Joy collection provides an opportunity for a more accessible price point and gemstones that dominate in size through the feature of semiprecious stones in addition to precious gemstones. I wanted the jewelry to embody the sophisticated glamour of the 1970s. There are a few beautiful cocktail rings inspired by men’s signet rings, the gemstone flip ring, large stone setless huggies, and an architectural white sapphire and aquamarine earring set. We also made sure the entire collection could be customized to the specifications of the customer—should they want a different stone, setting, size—there is nothing Ilene can’t or won’t do.

What do we need to know about the collection highlight, the flip ring?
Yes! It’s a must-have. The flip ring is essentially two rings in one. It has two large stones set in 18k gold that swivels to reveal the other side—from a large white sapphire to a green tourmaline or blue aquamarine. Ilene uses a proprietary technique to ensure that the ring sits low enough on the finger while still maintaining the deep and vibrant colors of the stones. It’s a fun, beautiful, and innovative way to offer more style options to the customer.

You mentioned your love for the ’70s who would you have loved to party with at Studio 54?
I love ’70s glamour!! What a time to be alive. I would have loved to party with Mick Jagger, Andy Warhol, David Bowie, Grace Jones, and Debbie Harry.

What else always inspires your fashion sense and work each day?
Each day in the life is always different. It always depends on how busy I am, what jobs I am working on, or where I am going. I think the seasons also play big into my wardrobe and the weather outside. Lastly my mood—what character do I want to play today?! Style is a powerful tool, and it says so much about who you are, your taste, your lifestyle, and what trends you are drawn to. My daytime vibe is chic, comfy, and casual as I am normally on the go. At night, I love to bring out the luxury
and glam designer statement looks and dream a little!

What’s your earliest jewelry memory?
I loved jewelry from a super young age. I would play dress up with my mother’s costume jewelry and style my brother and sister in “looks” and Polaroid them. I think I must have been around three- or four-years-old walking around in my mother’s gold vintage Versace belt, Chanel heels, and diamond costume jewelry at a cocktail party!

Speaking of, which accessories from your closet are on heavy rotation at the moment?
YSL vesper gold metal toe sling back pump, Balenciaga knife pump in black and white leather, Bottega Veneta oversized pouch in black with gold metal chain, Paco Rabanne gold metal hoop earrings and chain necklace, Chanel gold vintage chain logo belt, Bvlgari rose gold Serpenti ring.

What about FW ‘21 trends, what are you loving?
I love all the iconic shape and volume references in the FW ’21 collections. I styled a Harper’s Bazaar cover with Shalom Harlow recently, and it was so much fun playing with all the different characters and style trends. Also there is a lot of color! Which felt fresh and exciting to play with.

What party season pieces are you excited to wear again?
Honestly, I am excited to wear everything again! Cocktail dresses, smoking suits and beautiful heels, and jewelry! It’s just so much fun to see everyone again and to celebrate and attend these beautiful events!

Any holiday party styling tips for us? What’s a failsafe we can keep repeating and reinventing?
Have some fun and take some risks. Style is about creating a dream. I also like to make my looks beforehand this way I know if they fit, especially the shoes—and whether they are comfortable! This helps me to avoid being late attending events. My failsafes are black and white Le Smoking suits. Another classic Palmer Girl look is a chic black cocktail YSL dress with a sheer black stocking and some statement jewelry.

What’s on your fantasy wish list this year?
To style Chanel!!

What’s something you’re most grateful for as we end 2021?
Everyday I am reminded how grateful I am for my incredibly loving and supportive husband, and beautiful son. My boys are truly my rock. They remind me of the most important things in life, and our love and friendship is eternal. I am also very grateful for my health after this whirlwind year. Lastly, to all of my amazing loyal friends and agents, who endlessly support and celebrate with me through this journey of life.

What’s on your overall goal list for this year + next year? What’s next for you?
I have a few very big exciting projects launching in 2022. My own brand partnership—stayed tuned!

[Editor’s note: to celebrate the ES x IJ Collection, the brand is hosting a pop-up during Art Basel Miami on December 1 and 2 at the Faena Hotel.]

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