In just three seasons, the jeweler Eddie Borgo has gone a long way toward achieving what every designer strives for: an instantly recognizable aesthetic. But he knows exactly where his interests and influences lie. Thanks to his parents’ fondness for ’70s-era rock ’n’ roll (the family pet, a black cat, was named Sabbath), Borgo has an encyclopedic knowledge of pop’s most stylish icons. “I love the way the Rolling Stones looked then,” he says. “Tough but romantic.” His punk-meets-posh jewelry, built on his penchant for classic rock style and clean geometric shapes — he has a triangle fixation that verges on the Masonic — manages to be both utterly of the moment and satisfyingly timeless. With its profusion of spikes and vertebral sinuousness, it’s also ever so slightly creepy. But that, perversely, only strengthens its appeal.
Borgo worked as a display artist and stylist and tried his hand at clothing design before realizing his true calling. “Even when I was making clothes, though, I kept making things that were accessory driven,” he says — “pullovers that had shredded necklaces sewn to them, or braided scarves attached to them.” He struck out on his own for spring 2009, with a debut collection that featured spiky cuff bracelets and tulle-covered chains. Since then, he has refined and feminized his look, though he has been careful not to tamper with its signature street-smart appeal. He has also added a men’s line and worked on a series of high-profile collaborations with designers likePhillip Lim, Joseph Altuzarra and Jen Kao. For spring, he has leavened his punk influences with an infusion of color — deep reds and blues inspired by stained glass and Islamic mosaics.
“What I want to do, maybe not next, but soon, is fine jewelry,” Borgo says. “I’d really like to work with sapphires and rubies, and using color in this collection was a step toward that.” But, he hastens to add, the rock ’n’ roll is here to stay. “That will always be part of the collection.”