Scenes of Style
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Jennifer Jesse Smith

Jennifer Jesse Smith was born to be an artist.  Of Lakota heritage she enjoyed a childhood filled with travel, art and the influences of native cultures but it was at the tender age of 7 while viewing a Michelangelo at the Louvre in Paris, that Jennifer declared she wanted to create art! Multifaceted yet focused, she credits these early experiences and her talented mother ~ renowned historian of The American West and Emmy Award winning Costume Designer Cathy Smith ~ as the main influences of her work today.

Authentic Native Indian Accoutrements by JJS Designs.

Jennifer gained a degree in Sculpture at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago ~ one of America’s most prestigious art colleges ~ followed by a year at the Institute of American Indian Arts where she mastered the intracacies of Native American silversmithing.

Later Jennifer followed in her mothers footsteps and entered the realms of movie costume design. She is noted for the design of  200 Indian accoutrements on blockbusters, Dances With Wolves and Comanche Moon while Honors for contributions made to ABC’s Emmy award-winning drama Son Of The Morning Star ensued. Most recently, her signature designs have been commissioned for the cult 80’s remake, “Fright Night”, starring David Tennent and Colin Farrell.

Colin Farrell wearing JJS Hand Forged Silver Earrings.

Currently, Jennifer’s focus is on her eponymous line of jewelry sought by celebrity and fashionista’s alike. She meets many of Hollywood’s finest through her work and counts the likes of Colin Farrell, Ross McCall, Mickey Rourke, Margaret Cho and Holly Hunter among her growing clientele. Inspired by metal smithing forms from throughout the world, she combines her love of crafting unique pieces with an edgy rock ‘n’ roll appeal.  Yet, she is conscious that each piece has its own story to tell – that it is “felt not just worn”.

JJS “I Feel My Star” Earrings

Personally I would describe Jennifer Jesse Smith’s designs as statement pieces for the soul. Whether layered or worn alone, these designs demand to be taken seriously which in turn attracts a mixed gender appeal. In forward momentum – JJS Designs are now available at the highly respected Santa Fe Jewelers, Packard’s on The Plaza, where she’s been so well received that pieces are literally selling through as soon as they hit the display.

Expansion throughout the USA into the European market is where Jennifer has set her sights….no mean feat but one I am confident she will fully realize. With its wide-range appeal, I predict JJS Designs will be donned by the likes of rockers, Muse, Florence Welsh of Florence and the Machine through to the London fashion set such as Keira knightly, Agyness Deyn and Alexa Chung. Remember where you heard it first!

IN HER OWN WORDS ~ JENNIFER JESSE SMITH TALKS STYLE!

Jennifer Jesse Smith wearing one of her designs ‘I Feel My Star’ Earrings

In the image above I’m wearing my new “I feel My Star” earrings and Versace sunglasses that were previously owned by Actress Jennifer Tilly. They were given to me by a friend who did her props on a movie shot here in New Mexico. You can see the highway in the reflection of my sunglasses ~ I always wear sunglasses & lipstick!

I spend a lot of time driving and I use this time to design in my head. I grew up on the road with my Mom. My favorite hat is sitting next to me, which my mom gave me out of her vintage wardrobe trailer full of movie costumes and I’m wearing my favorite “this summer” dress by Calvin Klein. I have a go-to store in Santa Fe, Davis Mather, where I get all my colorful Mexican bags that sit next to me in my truck.

JJS Cufflinks from the Skull and Bones collection.

I would describe my jewelry designs as power meets grace with a bit of glam & Rock ‘n’ Roll edge.

Music is my first love! I play the guitar, own a vintage amp collection and my most favorite band is ‘The Black Keys’! Some of the bands currently on my ipod include Yo La Tengo, The Kills, Jimi Hendrix, Ryan Adams, The Ramones, The Black Angels, The Clash, David Bowie, Jeff Buckley, Tom Petty, T-Rex, Neil Young………..music is God!

Jennifer Jesse Smith Designs Blossom Necklace ~ Hand forged by hand with vintage turquoise. A Scenes of Style must-have!

The best all time garment that I own is probably a vintage kimono given to me by a Japanese costume designer (passed down in his family) who I worked with on a film called East Meets West.

The top three items I would save if my house were on fire would be…. my own line, my boot collection, my vintage leather jackets and my kimono collection……..oops that is four…..oh well I own a truck!

Anne Hathaway wearing Oscar de la Renta at 2011 Oscars.

For a black tie occasion I design a special piece of jewelry and then hunt for the perfect dress. Elie Saab, Charles James, Rodarte, Givenchy and Oscar De La Renta all top the list. Two dresses I admire for their construction and beauty were worn by Anne Hathaway at this years Oscars. One a liquid metal gown by Oscar de la Renta and a burgundy Atlier Versace silk gown.

My friend, Jeanne, who I totally trust, describes my style persona as a shape-shifter! Another friend, Elsa posted on my facebook yesterday that I am so “glam”…..he he!

“Today I am wearing my Wild Heart necklace and Wild Rosewood ring”

Today I am wearing an Odille black knee-length skirt with black lace and a green vintage 40’s fitted halter top, that I found in an East Village shop in NY when I was living there, green leather shoes by Remix and my own design jewelry – Wild Heart pendant, Fleur de Vine hoop earrings, Wild Rosewood ring and signature Skull and Bones ring with emerald eyes.

Style is important in life – it shows your uniqueness as a soul.  You should find something that is uniquely your own and not blindly follow trends ~  Let your light shine out!

“I have a go-to store in Santa Fe, Davis Mather, where I get all my colorful Mexican bags that sit next to me in my truck” Jennifer wearing her own design ~ Swallow with Outstretched Wings pendant.

I love to read and do research for my work.  Anything about consciousness thrills me, I rarely read novels. The last book I read was The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire by Deepak Chopra.

For now I am focused, grateful, transcendent. In 10 years time I hope to be enjoying the fruits of my art and my contribution to the world by celebrating life and having adventures with all my loved ones.

I live by the mantra ~ Its my adventure and I’m not going to waste it!

More on Jennifer Jesse Smith Designs and Fright Night here.

Nashville welcomes Jennifer Jesse Smith here

All photos of Jennifer and her Designs are the work of Peter Weidenfeller. Photos were used with kind permission of Jennifer Jesse Smith.
If you are interested in purchasing any of Jennifers designs or for further information go to www.jenniferjessesmith.com Also available at Packards on The Plaza, Santa Fe and Garlands in Arizona.
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4 comments on “Jennifer Jesse Smith

  1. Seeing the creativity and experiencing it are two different things. Once you experience the feel, the look and quality of craftsmanship only then can you appreciate Jennifer Jesse Smith’s talent. I have invested in 5 pieces over the past few years and have another in creation. That is repeat business….

  2. Beautifully written article. Jennifer Jesse Smith’s art belongs out in the world. Thank you for seeking out and supporting talented artists in such an elegant fashion.

    • Thanks Peter – it sure does! I am a HUGE fan of Jennifer’s and feel that there are many unsung talents out there. If I can play just a small part by giving these fabulous designers a platform then I am a happy blogger 🙂

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