Dare to dazzle

Dare to dazzle

by marlies|dekkers

Karen Erickson is unique, with a mind as bright and sparkly as the fabulous, hand-crafted jewelry she designs for celebrity-fans like Madonna, Kate Moss, Angelina Jolie and Beyoncé. I met the ‘Duchess of Fabulous’ in New York, where she dazzled me with her stories and enlightening insights. “One day, instead of falling in love with each other’s genetalia, we will fall in love with each other’s souls.”.

Marlies: You started Erickson Beamon over 30 years ago, and since then you have dressed both the former First Lady and Lady Gaga. How would you describe the Erickson Beamon look?

Karen: Intricate, beautiful, handmade, luxurious, artistic. It’s unique but it’s in the moment because I always keep moving. I don’t plan anything; inspiration knocks on my brain and demands to be born.

Marlies: What I love about your pieces is that they enhance women’s beauty. They really let us shine.

Karen: Thank you! That’s the whole concept: to help women be full of confidence. Express yourself, be yourself!

Marlies: What was your dream, and how did you pursue it?

Karen: I actually never had a specific dream, I sort of fell into everything! It’s a weird and wonderful story, really. When I was in high school I had a friend who smuggled hash in snakeskins. Afterwards, he would give me beautiful long pieces of python skins, stacks of them. I decided to make boots out of them. A friend of mine was friends with this guy named Iggy Pop….who happened to be friends with a guy named David Bowie. They needed some shoes, and that’s how I started dressing celebrities when I was a teenager.

Marlies: Wow, great story!

Karen: So did I plan anything? No. But I could draw and connect the dots.

Marlies: So what would be your advice to women dreaming of starting their own business?

Karen: Try to see the opportunities around you and grab them!

Marlies: I love the fact that you work so closely with the next generation: your 2 daughters Mandie and Monique.

Karen: How lucky am I!

Marlies: How have you managed to combine business and family throughout the years?

Karen: I’ve never had the luxury of someone else’s money, and I had to raise my family in a very expensive city. So I always brought my kids to work after school; they even had their own desk in the office. And so we worked together on everything: their homework, my jewelry, finding new designers. One thing led to another…

Marlies: Wonderful! Do you consider yourself a feminist?

Karen: I think all those concepts and labels are old fashioned. We need to be humanists, we need to evolve. So that one day, instead of falling in love with each other’s genitalia, we will fall in love with each other’s souls, which goes beyond sex and sexual identity. Feminism is a result of a male patriarchy and we’ve had to stand up against that. But we’re not just part of our little world, we have to think globally: are things good for women in India and China? How about Iraq? No, not yet.

Marlies: What can we do to solve that?

Karen: Try and rule our lives with love. Don’t only think of yourself. Keep spreading the word. It’s a matter of collective consciousness.

Marlies: What is your message for the next generation of women?

Karen: My goddaughter is in 10th grade and she is very much involved in feminism. When she had to write a paper I suggested that instead of calling it HIStory she should call it HERstory; tell her story from her point of view. That’s my message for her generation.

Marlies: Yes! ‘His story’ has been told long enough. It’s time to tell our own stories. Beautiful, Karen! Thank you so much.

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