With her label BRVTVS and her store Calliope, Caroline Ventura has created her own world in New York’s West Village
A born-and-bred Californian, Caroline Ventura has been living in the vibrant metropolis of New York for years now. And that’s where she has created an artistic universe full of beautiful things together with her husband Michael Ventura and their dog, Darryl. They set up their living and working spaces in a 19th century building that was once a factory producing sails for ships. Here, in front of this inspiring backdrop, the goldsmith creates and sells the designs for her jewelry label BRVTVS and also established Calliope, an interior design store named after the Greek muse for epic poetry, science, and philosophy. Her husband’s creative agency has also found space there.
Caroline Ventura mainly uses recycled materials to create her handmade pieces, which she transforms into fine, minimalist jewelry. 14-carat gold and small diamonds are part of her signature. She uses her exquisitely curated Instagram account to charmingly document her travels – she was just recently in Berlin – and her work, letting us participate in her gorgeous visual world, know how her dog is doing, and whether she’ll be having noodle soup that evening, which she loves.
In this interview, the 36-year-old tells us more about her lifestyle, her first piece of jewelry, and Da Vinci’s painting Salvator Mundi.
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Please describe your style in three words.
Muted. Tailored. Reliable.
What’s your first fashionable memory?
I didn’t like to wear feminine, frilly dresses when I was young – I wanted to dress like the boys. I think my first memories involving fashion are of me arguing with my mother about whether or not it was appropriate for me to wear my jeans and little sneakers to Christmas dinner at my grandmother’s house.
What’s a song that makes you dance?
Anything by Sam Cooke.
Who’s your childhood hero?
Huey Lewis (of Huey Lewis and the News). I was gutted when my parents went to see him in concert and didn’t take me. I was five.
What was your first piece of jewelry?
The first piece of jewelry I really remember being excited about was a pair of heart shaped amethyst studs that I got for my birthday when I was 8 or 9. I got to pick them out at the mall and I wore them for like a year straight.
What piece(s) of jewelry do you wear every single day?
I have a chain ring that I made for my husband and I for our third wedding anniversary – I wear that in addition to my wedding band every day. I also have a simple bar necklace (Necklace I in my collection) that I never take off – it’s the perfect layering piece. And then I rotate a few rings from an upcoming collection I have coming out soon this year. One of the perks of designing jewelry is that you get to test everything out yourself ;)
What designer(s) do you expect big things from?
One of my favorites right now is Shaina Mote. She’s been around for a few years now, has garnered some well-deserved attention, and is just getting better and better. There’s also a new hat line launching soon called Tio y Tia that I’m really excited about. It’s owned and designed by three incredible women who individually have their own creative pursuits (photography, fashion, and beauty) but they’ve come together to create a small line of really beautiful hats that are simple but thoughtfully designed and produced. I also really love a line from Australia called Caves Collect. They have the most amazing menswear inspired pants and just a really cool, laid back vibe. Their clothes are what I gravitate toward wearing on a daily basis.
What designer you would love to wear head to toe when you are a granny?
I would love to be a crazy old lady wearing nothing but head to toe Dior, but I doubt that will happen. Realistically I’ll probably still be wearing old trousers that I found at a second hand shop, and my husband’s cardigans like I do today.
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Do you have a favorite color?
I do love lilac! Right now I really lean towards tones that are muted and soft: lilac, mauve, cream, camel. Navy is also a long-standing favorite, especially for clothing.
Do you have signature shoes?
My dog Darryl! He is such a gentleman and the best snuggler and studio mate. He’s a five-year-old Wirehaired Pointer and I can’t imagine my life without him.
What are the top three items on your wishlist?
The perfect velvet suit (preferably in navy blue, with slim, high-waist pants and a jacket that’s a bit oversized…it’s been impossible to find), a getaway to Masseria Moroseta in Italy, and maybe a new Dutch oven to cook a big stew in this winter.
Most inspiring movie?
To Kill a Mockingbird is my favorite movie of all time. Last year I got a little bird tattoo on my arm that was a drawing from one of the book’s covers.
What are your top three magazines (online or off)?
World of Interiors and Apartamento for inspiring spaces (and the latter is a cute travel-friendly size!). And So It Goes for all things cool in art and fashion.
Joe Strummer. He had the best boots and hats. And smile. He is forever my hero in everything.
Local: upstate New York. Afar: anywhere in Italy.
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Estela in NYC. It’s always my go-to.
What’s your favorite shop?
Besides my own, I love Alex Eagle in London. It’s so thoughtfully curated and just lovely to spend time in, walking around and looking at everything. There’s always something special you can find there and nowhere else.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Living somewhere near an ocean with my husband and our dog, making art and living a slower paced life.
What’s the last discovery that blew your mind?
Da Vinci’s painting, Salvator Mundi (which was auctioned off at Christie’s last month), blew me away. It was thought to be lost forever and then was re-discovered after being purchased at a regional art auction. It’s like finding a modern day buried treasure. I’m so glad I was able to go see it in person when it was on view at the auction house. It was an incredible piece of artwork.
Top three Instagram accounts you like?
- @annstreetstudio: a feed from a former NYC-based photographer who picked up and moved to Provence. Watching the way her work has evolved since leaving the city is really inspiring. Her IG stories of her creative process are also really cool to watch. And she loves tacos.
- @mattsurelee: he makes a chart a day that always rings true and is absolutely hilarious.
- @streetview.portraits: beautiful feed from a woman who suffers from agoraphobia and anxiety that hinders her ability to travel, so she sees the world through Google Street View. The places she finds and moments captured are stunning.
Carolines home and her Calliope Store in New York:
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Madeleine is a fashion journalist. For as long as she can remember she has been passionate about fashion and accessories, in particular cashmere sweaters and jewelry. After five years of working at Vogue Germany’s fashion department in Munich, she decided to encounter a new challenge and move to Berlin. Her role at hey woman! allows her to combine her passion for styling, creative directing and writing. Madeleine is also good at imitating a Swiss accent and trying to be a cook.