Chan Luu is on her way to becoming a household name. The world-renowned Vietnam-born, L.A.-based jewelry designer already has a cult following and counts Jennifer Aniston, Lady Gaga, Kate Hudson and many more as her loyal clients. Best known for fusing her artistic skill with unusual forms and beautiful colors, Luu creates striking, handmade pieces that exemplify effortless chic. Last night, she unveiled her exclusive, limited edition 17-piece collection of signature wrap bracelets for Banana Republic's Edition store. The line is available only at this San Francisco outpost until August, when it will be released online and to more than 40 stores nationwide. We had the chance to chat with Luu during the big debut about jewelry, culture and the Bay Area's best. Here's what she had to say.
Tell us about your new jewelry collection for Edition.
I've been doing these wrap bracelets for about six years now. The inspiration came from a trip to India, where I saw a man wearing threads around his wrist. He told me all I had to do was go to the temple and pray, and then I could get this "bracelet" for free. That's when I figured out what I was going to do.
My collections always have a relationship to the past and are handmade. My work is influenced by culture, travel and nature. I use anything from hand-cut semi-precious stones, colored fresh water pearls and silver beads that I get from a village in Jaipur. And since I was trained as a fashion designer, I'm always looking for ways to incorporate textile into my work—trying to use thread and trying to work fabric techniques into it.
Outside of your own, what are your favorite jewelry styles?
It really depends on my mood and how I feel at that moment. I don't decide until five minutes before I walk out of the house.
Accessories can make or break an outfit. What advice would you give our readers on how to make it work?
Accessories really bring out the personality of a person. For me, it's all about culture. When you look at people and how they adorn themselves, it really tells a story about them.
What are your must-have accessories for summer?
For summer, you must have a wrap bracelet.
How important are trends to you?
I don't follow trends even though I'm part of the fashion community. I believe in the uniqueness of what I see. I stick to doing what comes organically to me.
What do you think about SF style?
It's low key, especially compared to L.A. and N.Y. It's chic and casual at the same time. I think my bracelets work really well here.
Any favorite Bay Area places you'd like to recommend?
You have to go to Bar Crudo for the oysters. I love that place.
Chan Luu's collection of cord wrap bracelets ($99-$225) is available exclusively at Banana Republic's Edition store in the Westfield Mall through August.