We're not sure when we first began following (read: swooning over) Cassandra LaValle's beautiful style blog coco+kelley, but one thing is certain: once we started, there was no stopping.  We're pretty sure her philosophy/mantra has everything to do with the success of her lifestyle company and blog:  "Life is in the details.  Style accordingly."

From musings on color palette, fashionable picks, and foodie suggestions to interior inspirations and entertaining hints, coco+kelley's cassandra and team have you stylishly covered--in fact, their thorough and thoughtful features often leave us inspired to add a bit of meaningful style in unexpected places.  Perhaps this attention to detail is what drew us to the blog in the first place--Cassandra is a kindred spirit in that sense, and it was a thrill to finally meet her in person last fall at the Grand Opening celebration of C. Wonder's flagship in SoHo.   (And, yes...she's as beautiful, kind, and intelligent in person as she seems in her photos and posts!)  

Fast forward to this fall, and we were overjoyed to have the opportunity to enlist Cassandra as our September Leading Lady--we knew it would be a collaboration in every sense of the word, and we couldn't wait to see the process unroll!  When she sent along her inspiration board, we geared up for the challenge...detail would be key, no doubt, and capturing her strong sense of style while staying true to Elva would be a fun and interesting mix.  Off we went!

With green as her signature color, selecting some bead options was a solid start...and taking a cue from the natural elements included in her choices (the beetle and fly, specifically) for the vintage selections led us to a few insect adornments we had in our collections.

You can see Cassandra's preferences above...and we couldn't help but favor the two little green guys toward the bottom of the image that she liked.  We'd had one of the brooches for a couple of years (yes, years,) but when we found a second identical one just weeks before we began our project with Cass, it seemed a sign to incorporate them together in her design.  Partners in crime, they became the highlight of what was to come!

Next, we sent along some images of some very general proposed layouts...just to get the ball rolling to see how Cassandra was feeling about various pairings...and you'll see her notes on a few below.


These seemed to be missing something--we both agreed on this--and we decided to wait to proceed until we returned from an unexpected buying trip for beads to see if we might find just the right fit for the design...turns out it was worth the wait.  We sourced strands of the most gorgeous gray-green crystal that were the perfect bridge between the darker green and the beautiful antique aqua glass seed bead strands.  With the new palette in mind, we sent along the latest selections to Cassandra.

Then, based on her direction and our instincts, we jumped in with a "rough draft" design for her to see and consider, breaking up the green bicone glass beads with some golden pewter and the new crystal beads.  We also added a bit of vintage chain to layer amongst the strands of antique glass seed beads to lighten the green's heft slightly...

But it wasn't quite right.  As much as we loved it, the overall effect was darker than it should have been...with not enough contrast to let the pair of bug brooches enjoy some much-deserved attention.  Cassandra wondered if using fewer of the darker green and more of the gray-green would offer a solution...so we tried it out:

This seemed much closer to her original vision...and we loved the pale, drippy sparkle of the crystal and glass together.  We couldn't help but think back to her inspiration board's inclusion of the gorgeous beaded backs on the dresses, their strands a delicate but stunning fringe.  Yet something was still missing, and when we mentioned the option of utilizing more vintage chain, Cassandra realized what she was hoping to see.  We decided to remove a few of the crystal bead strands to accommodate a few more lengths of chain to compliment the golden wings of the brooches, adding a bit of edge to the design's feminine feel.

Bingo.  It was just what the necklace needed, and the insects seem to delight in the addition.  (And we did, too!)  We love the layered textures and colors, the hints of glimmer, the subtle sparkle, and the whimsy of the bugs resting happily amongst it all.  We couldn't wait to see Cassandra wear it.  So we finished up the design and sent it to Seattle for her to style...

...and we were speechless at the results.  Giving it her own stylish touch by twisting the strands in a lovely, graceful drape (those details are her signature and make such a difference!) Cassandra simply glows gorgeously in her new necklace.  We loved working with her and know the jewels will have a wonderful adventure with such a stylish gal!  The details made all the difference.

  • Posted byEmily Maynard /


  • Posted On October 12, 2012 by kristina

    love, love! what a wonderful creative process to share!

  • Posted On October 11, 2012 by Ebube

    wow! wow!! beautifully sophisticated

  • Posted On October 08, 2012 by Kris

    Wow! So much work goes into it. Thank you for for the step by step process. makes it more special to have knowing how much work goes into it.

  • Posted On October 04, 2012 by Jillian

    Loved reading about your creative process! It is fascinating, and the end design is stunning.

  • Posted On October 03, 2012 by Maria Valentin

    What a fab collaboration! LOVE the cascading Greens with the Gold. Your jewels are so beautiful!

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