A: Seriously cool jewelry that walks a razor fine line between tough and tender.
Meet Philip Crangi, the man behind said jewelry. Crangi studied jewelry design at RISD and worked for William Lipton, Japanese artist Mariko Mori and sculptor Michele Oka Doner before launching his own eponymous fine jewelry line in 2001 with the help of his sister/business partner, Courtney, followed by Giles & Brother by Philip Crangi, a line of lower-priced silver and costume jewelry - which includes our personal faves: the Tiny Mustache earrings, which wink to Crangi’s signature upper lip decor.
Since then, Crangi has also designed runway pieces for Phillip Lim, Vera Wang, Shipley & Halmos,Sue Stemp and Jason Wu, among others. He won the CFDA Swarovski Award for Accessory Design in 2008, designed a line of art deco-inspired jewelry for Atelier Swarovski for fall 2009, is designing the spring 2010 jewelry for the upcoming Michael Bastion, Boy/Band of Outsiders and Shipley & Halmos New York Fashion Week presentations and will be opening his own store in the Meatpacking District next month.
The Fashion Informer caught up with the always-charming mustachioed marvel at the tail end of summer to discuss his love of Led Zeppelin, his eccentric grandpa and the importance of good grooming scissors.
is your favorite off-duty activity?
My lawyers advise me not to answer that question.
would you like to be doing if you weren't a jeweler?
I was actually just thinking about that very thing. I would be an archaeologist. I love digging in the dirt and finding buried treasure.
Both. It depends on the weather. In the winter I love tea and in the summer, anything iced.
you were 9, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an architect. I was inspired by my grandfather who was a Buckminster Fuller inventor type, who lived off of the grid in the Everglades. I loved that he lived on a compound building things literally in the middle of the Everglades. He had a David Koresh-ian messianic quality to him – people would congregate around him despite the fact that he was very much a hermit.
movie can you watch over and over again?
Stardust Memories by Woody Allen. The first time I saw it, I was way too young (in 1980 at 9 or 10 years old), and have seen it dozens of times since. The story really resonated with me, as it is about the creative journey. Also, the actress Charlotte Rampling is at the pinnacle of her beauty in this movie. And she’s the most beautiful woman that has ever lived. So…
do you usually begin your creative design process?
My process either starts with a specific technique or a specific material, but it certainly can be both. From that starting point, things begin to materialize. Ideas and techniques find each other in the ether of my mind. My fine jewelry collection is very much about pushing the limits of what materials can do, while the material informs me of what it wants to be.
your idea of a perfect summer day?
Lying on the beach and smoking a joint.
special challenges/rewards in working with a sibling every day?
It is almost all rewards with Courtney. We know each other so well, both the good and ugly parts. Because of our relationship, we are able to work together to build something bigger than ourselves.
you have any hidden talents/abilities?
My favorite super power is that I have an impeccable sense of direction.
is your must-have grooming product?
My mustache scissors.
is your favorite work of art or piece of music?
I’m very fickle with that, as I have so many constantly sliding favorites. I’m always surprised by Christina’s World by Andrew Wyeth. Every time I see it, I think he is my favorite painter. There is something so sad that permeates everything in his work. I can’t help but lose myself in his artistry and craft. He shows miles of landscape with 3 splashes of color on a white field – it’s brilliant.
In terms of music, I always go back to favorites. My favorite albums of all time are Tusk by Fleetwood Mac and Led Zeppelin II.
do you keep your 'stache looking so fly?
With those mustache scissors! Learning how to properly sculpt was a long and arduous road that I had to take by myself.
one item of clothing/jewelry has the most personal meaning to you?
My circa 1930’s Zuni sterling and turquoise cuff. Growing up, my parents owned tons of that kind of stuff because they were hippies. I always hated it, and then when I was about 35 I became obsessed with that style of jewelry on my own. I then starting looking and looking for it at Brimfield – and when I finally saw my bracelet, the person who made it started singing me a song. It’s my power bracelet.
old were you when you got your first tattoo, what is it and what is its
I got my first tattoo when I was 17 - the number 22 in red, given to me by my best friend. It was the first tattoo he had ever given as a tattoo artist. It looks like shit, but it remains one of my favorite tattoos. 22 is the day of my birthday and my lucky number.
makes you nervous?
When I’m not inspired, and the fear that I will never be inspired again.
are you happiest?
In the height of inspiration. I feel most fulfilled when I’m working on something.
Photo © Cass Bird
Stay tuned next week for Random Questions For…George Esquivel.