Glam Q & A: DanniJo

By  May 12, 2009

Dannijo is well on its way to carving a lasting name in the world of must-have statement accessories. The rock-solid (pun intended) company is made up of the beautiful and talented designers Danielle and Jodie Snyder. With their mother "Laurie U" as inspiration, the sisters come up with some of the most eclectic and fashion savvy jewelry this side of the Mississippi. Glam got a chance to interview the duo, who live and work together in New York City, about their sophisticated baubles and this is what they had to say.

What’s inspiring you now?
Right now we’re really inspired by the energy and life of NEW YORK. The combination of downtown edginess with uptown sophistication, the pulse of the nightlife, the music, the attitude of the locals, the feeling of endless possibility despite the current economic climate…The movies, entertainment, and most importantly the people we meet.  Our summer collection was inspired by the Keith Haring graffiti on Houston St– the electric neon elements gave way to our use of both color and unexpected elements–leathers with fabrics mixed with metals… the proximity of the LES to Haring’s work influenced us to infuse a biker-chic and gritty downtown vibe into our chained cuffs and spiked elements. One source of inspiration always leads to another, and so it goes…
What was the first piece of jewelry you ever owned?
Both of our first pieces were gifts from my father. Jodie’s was a birthstone ring and mine was a dainty gold Unicorn charm necklace.  I still have my necklace, unfortunately, Jodie lost her birthstone ring while swimming in the ocean, shortly after receiving it. 
Not only are you sisters, but you live and work together in the same apartment. How do you do it? 

The same way we did it before college. We share everything and really enjoy each other’s creative energy despite our differences.  We’re best friends, so it really is fun to live and work together.

Who are your style icons?
Kate Moss, Jackie Kennedy, Coco Chanel and, most of all, our mother whom we refer to as "Laurie U."
What other designers are you loving now?
We always love Chanel, and we love their fall ’09 collection with its emphasis on classic pieces adorned with statement jewels and layered chains hanging off the clothing. We also love the bright colors/patterns and 80′s influences Lanvin has been using. Balmain Spring ’09 is great with the acid wash jeans and 80′s/biker influences. For everyday, we both really like Bensoni’s fall collection….we have already pre-ordered most of it.
What are your favorite places to shop?
We go to different places for different items but we always love to go vintage and thrift shopping when we go home to FL. We love Bergdorf 5F for special pieces and accessories (Gryphon coats, Rag & Bone jeans, accessories, sandals, Vena Cava dresses and jumpers); for staple items from our go-to brands and to discover new brands; Reiss for great fitting high-waisted skirts and fun mary-jane platforms; J Crew for t-shirts–we love their new Painter Ts; H&M and Topshop for affordable everyday items- blouses, dresses, skirts, etc; we LOVE Target for just about everything–t-shirts (we cut them eighties style), tanks, flip-flops, makeup, summer gear. Its inexpensive enough to play around with (we take scissors to a lot of the shirts and shorts and don’t have to feel bad about it because it’s so inexpensive).

Do you have any tips on how women can make jewelry their own and work it into their individual style?

If you are outgoing and bold, and love statement pieces, layer your jewelry for a more dramatic look (stack bangles, layer cuffs, wear more than one necklace together and have fun mixing and matching your jewelry). If you are a more conservative dresser, find items that excite you and start smaller– wear one piece at a time–a bold statement necklace or a statement cuff–or even a great vintage cocktail ring. Be true to your personality when you dress–if you’re bohemian, wear tribal and rustic styles, whereas if you feel most comfortable in more conservative looks, try innovative pearl designs.  Jewelry is such a personal accessory and it’s a very intuitive purchase, so stick to your guns, if something makes you feel beautiful or sexy, wear it. The best advice I can give is to experiment and see what works best for you. Jewelry is the absolute best way to complete a look!

If you could have any three celebrities past or present wear your pieces, who would they be?
Danielle: Oja Kodar. I fell in love with her after seeing a documentary on the life of Orson Welles in college.  She was his partner/lover.  There is something so captivating and invigorating about her.  I never forgot about how much she inspired me. Oja’s a very mysterious person and it’s not easy to find much information on her. I love that, she’s like a treasure of the past–well-preserved and timeless. Audrey Hepburn, of course! and probably Kate Moss for the present–she is forever an icon for the art of fashion. 

Agyness Deyn, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, Slim Keith

Whose jewelry style do you admire?
Our mother’s. She always looks polished and has the most amazing jewelry. Its always the focal point of her outfit, and she never leaves the house without it. And of course Coco Chanel. She always wore the right pieces and the perfect amount of jewelry.

If you could create one piece of jewelry for Michelle Obama what would it be and why?

A dress clip or brooch. She is so elegant and as the first lady, it’s important that she always looks the part.  She is playful and down-to-earth, so we’d create something that suits her personality but that adorns her everyday look a bit.  Dress clips and brooches are very old-world accessories, and I like the idea of bringing a bit of tradition into the mix, but with a modern twist.

What’s the one thing every woman should have in her jewelry box regardless of age or income?

A great cocktail ring.  It doesn’t have to be expensive–just something unique and eye-catching.  A great ring is timeless and can be passed down for generations, and it only gets better with age because it carries a history and takes on a life of its own.

Your pieces for Trovata were fabulous, but if you could collaborate with another designer who would it be?

The great thing about jewelry is that it lends itself to so many different looks and designer collaborations. We would love to collaborate with Stella McCartney, Balmain, Bensoni…. I could go on and on there are so many! We’ve always wanted to be a part of an artisic collaboration and really admire the work of Vanessa Beecroft and Peter Beard. I especially admire Peter’s humanitarian efforts as DANNIJO is rooted in philanthropic efforts (LWALA).

What else are you working on now?
We are working on a capsule men’s collection inspired by the modern gentleman. It’s masculine, effortless, and with an old-world sensibility. Made of brass, rhodium, oxidized silver, and gunmetal platings. The collection is heavily influenced by rock’n'roll culture and features masculine rustic chains and the insides of vintage watches.  We have a few designer collaborations in the works as well…

Any summer travel plans?
A lot of traveling. Florida, the Bahamas, Canada, and London are on the calendar, and the rest of the summer our goal is to be on or near the beach as much as possible.