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2012 October 10

Fern Mallis Makes Her HSN Debut With Fern Finds

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Fern Mallis Fern Mallis
photo by Donald Traill/WINNK
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(NEW YORK) Those of you front-row types always asking Fern Mallis about her jewelry are now able to get the look. This evening, Mallis launches her first Fern Finds: collection on HSN, full of drop-dead baubles (mostly priced under $100) that she has sourced from her travels all around the world. The Daily caught up with the founding femme of New York's Fashion Week in Miami as she's prepping for her HSN looking for inspiration at the Salvador Dali museum! BY ASHLEY BAKER

How long have you been working on this collection?
Almost two years ago during the shows at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Bryant Park! People would walk by me and pull at my jewelry and say, 'You always have the best accessories. Where'd you find that?' I started seeing all these colleagues who were launching collections, and I thought, 'Why don't I do that?' I collected samples, and it took a year and a half to get some of the pieces made. It first started on QVC, with a few pieces here and there, but I had originally conceived it as a fuller collection—a Pandora's Box full of jewlery, so to speak. I spoke with Mindy Grossman at HSN, and my agent Paula Friedman and I showed her and her merchants my collection, and every one of them was so excited about it. We really expanded the collection—HSN truly understands how to build a brand. I've had a wonderful relationship with them so far, and every step of the way, they've been nothing but fabulous. I really see tonight as the real launch of Fern Finds—I'm on for 2 hours, with the best hostess and the best time slot. It feels kind of ominous—10/10 at 10 p.m!

How do you source the pieces?
Clearly, it's called Fern Finds, not 'Fern Designs.' I'm a curator, collector, buyer—I'm always promoting fashion, and I've always been known for wearing great accessories. I find things that are generic—in markets, at offbeat shops, and during my travels to Asia and South Africa—that we reinterpret. HSN has introduced me to a couple of vendors who can deliver great quality and perform very stringent performance testing. Some of the pieces I find are really heavy, for example, so we try to replicate them in a material with the spirit and feel or the original that isn't quite as cumbersome to wear. They show me the samples, and we go through several revisions before we finalize each style.

What are some of your favorite pieces?
I love the tusk necklaces and the filigree bracelets in gold and gunmetal. There's a great crochet piece in gold mesh, with lots of stones. I like the chandelier necklace and earrings, as well, that;s very much in the tradition of Indian bridal jewelry. The antique tassel necklace is one of my favorite pieces—I love tassels. A lot of the pieces may look heavy, but when you lift them up, they weigh nothing.

What else is new in the world of Fern Mallis?
I'm really most busy with my Sirius and 92Y interviews [the Fashion Icons with Fern Mallis series]—I have to start reading up on Marc Jacobs for my next one—and there are a few other fun consulting gigs that are coming together as well.

Do you get nervous going on TV in front of so many people?
It's fascinating how this all works. We did a test yesterday. It's a little stressful, because there are 5 different cameras, and there's someone in your ear saying, 'Camera one! Camera two!' while I'm talking to the host. I have to be cognizant of which camera to look into—you'll tell me if I look like a deer in headlights!

What will you do if the collection sells out?
I'll be very happy! I'll be off the air at midnight, but maybe there will be a bottle of champagne in the green room. In a way, I hope it doesn't sell out, so people who don't get the chance to tune in tonight can still buy it. We'll always be back in a few months with another collection!



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