A.L.C. Design Genius Launches Jewelry Line
by emili vesilind
Lieberman, wearing her Double Bondage bracelet, dresses a model in A.L.C.’s Phoebe dress.
Andrea Lieberman helped redefine the role of wardrobe stylist as a bona fide creative force in the 1990s and early 2000s by orchestrating some of the most indelible fashion images of the past decade. (Think Gwen Stefani's rasta/Harajuku getups and a young Jennifer Lopez in that now-legendary navel-baring Versace dress.)
In 2008 she added fashion designer to her CV when she launched her own luxe sportswear-inspired collection, A.L.C., which is currently sold in nearly every fashion-forward shop in LA—from Satine and Switch to Barneys New York and Madison. Last August, Lieberman became a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), the governing body for high fashion in the 50 states. And most recently, she added a jewelry component to her line that boasts the same "pedigree with an edge" vibe as her apparel.
The new jewelry line is as fashion-forward as we have come to expect from Lieberman. Brass is given a high-polish finish and crafted into rings and bracelets in the shape of padlocks, nails, screws, and other antique hardware-inspired staples. Lieberman also works bondage elements into the collection with bracelets and rings that look like handcuffs—softened enough to be feminine without losing their feeling of intrinsic dominance. And several pieces evoke other powerful images, such as a cuff shaped like a shark and studs that resemble its teeth.
The line is Lieberman's second foray into the arena; she had a fine-jewelry collection before launching A.L.C. that was stunning, but so expensive, "you couldn't really wear it," she admits. Still, "I approach this new collection with a fine-jewelry head. I love jewelry—I always have and I always will. It's spirit-defining. What you choose to put on defines the spirit of who you are."
If you ask her, the New York native—who lives in LA with her husband, son, and daughter—credits her success to hard work and "being at the right place at the right time." But there's more to it than that. Lieberman is renowned for her highly creative eye and ingenuity in mixing costuming elements with high fashion, which have helped her music-industry clients extend their artistic reach well beyond what blares out of stereos. "My passion was always creating images, doing videos, crafting looks that identify an artist at that time in her career," says Lieberman.
A born aesthete, Lieberman began her fashion career in her teens, first as a shopgirl who attended weekend and summer classes at Parsons The New School for Design (her eventual alma mater) and later as a fledgling stylist running around the city shooting fashion with photographer friends. "I had a connection with someone who worked with [designer] Stephen Sprouse and could score a bunch of clothes for a shoot," she says. "We went and had a super-fun time shooting all night long. It was really my first foray into styling."
After high school Lieberman interned for avant-garde nightlife fixture Diane Pernet and with the Giorgio di Sant' Angelo label, and post-college she worked in the public relations department at Romeo Gigli.
A friend in the music industry hired Lieberman to style her first music artist, and "before I knew it, I was doing [Sean] Puffy [Combs] and Jennifer [Lopez]," she says. "When I saw an opportunity, I took it and worked really hard."
Lieberman says she launched A.L.C. "at a point in my styling [career] when I felt like I needed to be more challenged." Also, "I didn't know how I would travel for styling [once I had] babies."
The ready-to-wear label, which is roundly adored by celebs (Charlize Theron, Cameron Diaz, and Olivia Wilde among them) and noncelebs alike, comprises classic pieces tweaked with a rocker edge. Think menswear-inspired, stovepipe-leg trousers; tissue-thin, long-sleeved jersey dresses; artsy sweatshirt tops; floral maxi skirts; and striped sailor tees.
Unsurprisingly, Lieberman's spirit has certainly been riding high since being accepted into the CFDA. "I'm suddenly clued into this whole network of amazing, talented people," she says. "The people in the CFDA are people I have respected and been inspired by for so many years. To be accepted as a part of their tribe is amazing. It makes my heart sing."
photography by melissa valladares (lieberman, jewelry); hair by alkin at the wall group; makeup by jamie dorman at exclusive artists management; model: natalia F. with vision los angeles.
danny martindale/getty images (theron); jason laveris/getty images (wilde)
LAC celebrates the women of its May/June 2013 issue at Palihouse in West Hollywood.