The Bee's Knees
The designer’s global accumulation of baubles breathes new life into unusual — sometimes sinister — custom creations. From antique earrings from a local antique mall, to precious gemstones gathered in Istanbul, Lake combines pieces from across the centuries for a timeless aesthetic. --Aimee Blanchette
Stephanie Lake is the fifth person in the world to hold a PhD in decorative arts, design history, and material culture. Oh, and she worked for Sotheby’s and is the heir to the Bonnie Cashin archive (she was friends with the late, great, iconic designer). This, of course, perfectly primes her for having her own design collections. Otherworldly in their beauty and detail, they are wholly unlike anything else, combining design elements of Hollywood Regency, mid-century, 70s-era Fleetwood Mac, and glam rock. Lake is a stylemaker in a class of her own. --Katie Dohman
Each Stephanie Lake piece is an original design and one of a kind,
incorporating centuries of source materials.
STEPHANIE LAKE DESIGN, Est. 2007
The fifth scholar in the world to earn a Ph.D. in Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture, Lake's jewelry is informed by her work as a curator, archivist and auction specialist. Her academic focus on decorative arts from the 18th century to the current day centered on personal adornment and aesthetic choices made by elite and intellectual circles. Her curatorial work included stints in Paris, London, Istanbul, Tokyo, New York and Los Angeles, working with some of the world’s most extraordinary collections and collectors.
Lake's career began with a Vogue article featuring the Sotheby’s Fashion Department. Soon after filing the clipping under the heading “dream job,” Lake moved to New York and became a research consultant at the storied auction house where she studied couture while earning her Masters Degree at the Bard Graduate Center.
By 2000, Lake’s work at Sotheby’s as well as research for the millennium exhibition “Women Designers in America, 1900-2000” and a summer of studying 18th-century costume at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum led to a friendship with the "mother" of American sportswear, iconic fashion designer Bonnie Cashin (ca. 1908-2000).
Heralded as a classic "New York Story," the New York Times Magazine commissioned a 10-page article from Lake about her days spent with her "big sister." Next, The Fashion Institute of Technology asked Lake to curate a blockbuster exhibition of Cashin’s work which was followed by partnering with Coach for their first-ever retrospective in Japan, centered on Cashin's pioneering work for Sills & Co, Ballantyne, and Coach in the sixties. Upon Cashin's death in 2000, Lake inherited the designer's personal effects and entire personal design archive. She is the sole owner of the Bonnie Cashin Archive and established the Bonnie Cashin Foundation to create a network of philanthropic gifts in Cashin's name. Lake is the author of the definitive Cashin monograph, Bonnie Cashin: Chic is Where You Find It (Rizzoli). Upon its publication, it was heralded as "shining a “white light on one of the most brilliant designing minds of any century . . . the bar has been raised.”
Lake in her Bonnie Cashin Archive.
Lake at Author events for "Bonnie Cashin: Chic is Where You Find It."
After beginning her doctoral study in decorative arts, Lake’s curatorial work took her around the globe and also to her hometown of Minneapolis. There Lake reunited with and married her high school crush, Cory Lake. The couple divided their time between the Twin Cities and Los Angeles, where Lake negotiated the donation of Cashin's professional papers to UCLA and worked as curator-in-charge of this collection. In 2013, the Lakes welcomed their daughter, Odette Elizabeth.
Philanthropic collaborations with her husband center on spearheading their family’s second-generation program development and patronage for the Boys and Girls Clubs, with a focus on health and wellness. As a type 1 Diabetic, Lake is dedicated to using her experience managing and battling this disease to motivate and inform every child at risk. Her belief is that "These children can become informed ambassadors, demanding changes in our food culture and patterns of consumption that can save lives and change the world.”
Lake permanently relocated to Minneapolis and opened her design studio in 2007. With an initial focus on interiors, Lake's personal jewelry designs quickly turned into requests for commissions. By 2008, her bespoke and one of a kind jewelry was the core of her business. She has received numerous accolades in her field, including being named Best Jewelry Designer in Minnesota by several publications of record and a historic commission from the Minneapolis Institute of Art to design a capsule collection of pieces to complement their acclaimed centennial exhibition "Hapsburg Splendor: Masterpieces from Vienna's Imperial Collections."For more information, please call 612.802.3605 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.