“I was born during intermission,” states spirited and internationally-renowned jewelry designer margo manhattan. Daughter of New York city Prima Ballerina Karin Von Aroldingen and God-Daughter to ballet master George Balanchine, Margo was born into a life of beauty and culture, one that prized precision, hard work and originality. Inspired by the fast pace of new york and the exciting beat of its dance and theater worlds, margo’s sleek, versatile designs present a vision at once elegant and edgy, captivating, and sexy.
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Margo’s Mother, Prima Ballerina, Karin Von Aroldingen (photo: Michael Avedon)
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 God-Father, Ballet Master, George Balanchine
ballet master george balanchine
Margo began making jewelry in the byzantine technique at the tender age of 15. she instantly fell in love with the metals and stones and the endless possibilities they afforded her creativity: she had found her calling. After graduating from fit, Margo perfected her knowledge of jewelry design in paris at the studio bercot. She then immersed herself in the fashion industry, landing jobs with Karl Lagerfeld and Patrick Kelly, and with famed Vogue Photographer Arthur Elgort. When her jewelry was discovered in a styling shoot by patrick demarchelier, Paris Vogue decided to prominently feature her work.
In the 1990′s margo combined her love of jewelry with her other great passion—philanthropy. This took the form of symbolic, ground-breaking designs: first the earth pin for earth day (1990) followed by the original red ribbon lapel pin for aids awareness (1991). This furthered margo’s reputation as a visionary, socially aware designer. She then developed the pink ribbon for breast cancer for estée lauder’s breast cancer research foundation and for other breast cancer fund-raising efforts. These ribbons have become icons over the two decades. -via margomanhattan.com
I had the chance to visit the Margo Manhattan Showroom on Madison Avenue and was absolutely blown away by the craftsmanship of her pieces. Mixed with a sense of delicate romanticism yet with a structured edge, Margo finesses the combination with an elegant ease that is a distinct style all her own. Below is our exclusive interview with Margo Manhattan who discusses everything from knowing about Beyonce’s visual album release to advice she gives to those starting their own accessories line.


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*Showroom photos: Cipriana Quann


UBB: How long ago did you start your line?
MM: I began my line of sterling silver in 1994 and it was so well received that I opened my first boutique in SoHo in 1995


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UBB: What is the inspiration behind your jewelry?
MM: Its just all in my head…its my personality expressed outwardly in jewel form.


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UBB: Beyonce just released her incredible visual album; BEYONCE’ without a word, which took almost everyone by surprise,
were you aware beforehand that some of your pieces would be featured in her videos?
MM: Yes we knew we would be featured and couldn’t wait for the release!


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UBB: You have worked with Celebrity Stylist, Lysa Cooper who has worked with some of the biggest names in the music industry, (Rihanna, Kanye, Bruno Mars) including on Beyonce’s just released visual album. How did you initially connect with Lysa?
MM: Lysa and I met at a Party in Montauk where she saw my necklace on my girl friend and commented and we began talking. We hit it off exchanged cards and tried to get together but we were both so busy. Then she had landed the Beyonce videos and cleared out my shop to style up Beyonce. Beyonce Loved the jewelry and asked for it in the next go round.


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Celebrity Stylist, Lysa Cooper


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UBB: What videos of Beyonce’s visual album feature your designs?
MM: Y’once, Blow that I have seen but I think there were others, still need to look thru them all more closely, every time we look we find another piece!


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UBB: Selena Gomez recently purchased your interlocking heart rings, what is the inspiration behind the design?
MM: 2 hearts that fit together to form one complete ring…Love is all in the details!


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Mischa Barton in the Stella Bracelet


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UBB: Name few accessory Designers that you love
MM: Can’t name a specific one as I have a very distinct style and love different pieces from different collections and not always the same designers.


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UBB: What would you like to see for your line in the future?
MM: More leather, different materials and  precious stones and diamond Jewelry


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UBB: Past or present name 5 artists (actors or musicians) you would love to see wearing your line.
MM: Madonna, Marilyn Monroe, Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, lenny kravitz, Kate Hudson, Halle Berry, Angelina Jolie


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UBB: What is a typical environment for you like to create in?
MM: Wherever I am at the time of inspiration, it could be a napkin or matchbook…..then at my desk listening to music.


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UBB: What advice would you give to those starting their own accessories line or business?
MM: Keep at it!


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With Margo Manhanttan