At Home With...

Tour the Chic Tribeca Loft of a Rising Jewelry Designer

Tour the Chic Tribeca Loft of a Rising Jewelry Designer
Filed Under:

When I first spotted one of Mignonne Gavigan’s vibrant, beaded “scarf necklaces,” hanging ever so coolly around a friend’s neck, it was one of those where-did-you-get-that? moments of pure, unadulterated envy. I needed to know immediately who, what, where. As it turns out, a similar instant inspired designer Mignonne Gavigan Smith—a Parsons grad who spent 10 years designing for the likes of Marc Jacobs, Rachel Roy, Loeffler Randall, and more—to start making her signature jewelry piece. “I was draping a gown for a runway show and had ripped up a vintage gown to use as ideas for beadwork. There was a piece on the floor that I picked up, fastened around my neck with a safety pin, and walked home through SoHo wearing. People literally stopped me on the street and asked where they could buy one,” she says.

Soon enough, Mignonne had coined the name for her hybrid and left her role as senior shoe designer at Loeffler Randall to develop her own accessories brand. Today her eponymous collection encompasses a full lineup of “more typical” jewelry silhouettes—earrings, necklaces, and bracelets—and a few fun additions such as Spanish neckties and an Anna Wintour brooch.

Mignonne invited us over for a tour of her two-bedroom, two-bath loft in Tribeca, which she shares with her husband, Gray, and their cat, Franklin. To no surprise, it was full of intricate treasures. Continue reading for a peek.

Mignonne’s apartment building, formerly a storage warehouse for a Greek food importer, was built in 1887 and maintains its original hardwood floors. “You can still see the circular bottoms of the rice barrels worn into the floor,” she notes.

Mignonne’s apartment building, formerly a storage warehouse for a Greek food importer, was built in 1887 and maintains its original hardwood floors. “You can still see the circular bottoms of the rice barrels worn into the floor,” she notes.

“Each season I begin a new inspiration board by gathering colors, stories, materials, fabrics, embroidery techniques, mood imagery, and new ideas that I pin up on a large floor-to-ceiling board,” Mignonne tells us. “I begin by doing research on what is happening on the runway—colors, themes—but at the same time, I like to gather interesting details, artworks, and knickknacks that inspire me.”

“Each season I begin a new inspiration board by gathering colors, stories, materials, fabrics, embroidery techniques, mood imagery, and new ideas that I pin up on a large floor-to-ceiling board,” Mignonne tells us. “I begin by doing research on what is happening on the runway—colors, themes—but at the same time, I like to gather interesting details, artworks, and knickknacks that inspire me.”

“The Gucci ‘70s trend mixed with the Reformation ‘90s trend has been fun for us, as scarves are having a major moment right now,” Mignonne says. “Our signature scarf necklace is a great way to wear a typical scarf but in a new way.”

“The Gucci ‘70s trend mixed with the Reformation ‘90s trend has been fun for us, as scarves are having a major moment right now,” Mignonne says. “Our signature scarf necklace is a great way to wear a typical scarf but in a new way.”

“I’m obsessed with pom-poms and fringe,” Mignonne says. “We always try to incorporate both as MG brand staples.”

“I’m obsessed with pom-poms and fringe,” Mignonne says. “We always try to incorporate both as MG brand staples.”

“While working as a footwear designer, I was able to go on amazing inspiration trips all over the world. My favorite of these trips was to Istanbul,” Mignonne says. “The local bazaar is packed full of inspiration, and it was there that I purchased my first Persian rug. The rug is in our living room and provides such rich colors to offset the white.”

“While working as a footwear designer, I was able to go on amazing inspiration trips all over the world. My favorite of these trips was to Istanbul,” Mignonne says. “The local bazaar is packed full of inspiration, and it was there that I purchased my first Persian rug. The rug is in our living room and provides such rich colors to offset the white.”

“The light coming in the windows is spectacular, and the apartment is shaped in a long rectangle with windows at each end, so I knew I needed to maximize light,” Mignonne says. “I chose light-colored furniture to brighten up the hardwood floors and kept everything else pretty much white.”

“The light coming in the windows is spectacular, and the apartment is shaped in a long rectangle with windows at each end, so I knew I needed to maximize light,” Mignonne says. “I chose light-colored furniture to brighten up the hardwood floors and kept everything else pretty much white.”

Mignonne’s bookshelves showcase relics and reading from her travels. “I travel a lot and love going to the local markets for inspiration. We source materials primarily in France, Italy, and India.” Her pieces are “hand-beaded in India by the same craftsmen who work with Oscar de la Renta, Dries van Noten, Balmain, and Carolina Herrera, to name a few.”

Mignonne’s bookshelves showcase relics and reading from her travels. “I travel a lot and love going to the local markets for inspiration. We source materials primarily in France, Italy, and India.” Her pieces are “hand-beaded in India by the same craftsmen who work with Oscar de la Renta, Dries van Noten, Balmain, and Carolina Herrera, to name a few.”

One of Mignonne’s original scarf necklaces is framed in a shadow box in her crisp white kitchen as decor.

One of Mignonne’s original scarf necklaces is framed in a shadow box in her crisp white kitchen as decor.

Some of the designer’s cherished handbags from her days at Loeffler Randall are on display among fashion and art inspiration books and magazines. Mignonne keeps an office, where her team works and the inventory is held, a couple of blocks from her apartment. “I split my time still between there and my apartment, where I still design from,” she explains. “We also use our apartment as our showroom during market.”

Some of the designer’s cherished handbags from her days at Loeffler Randall are on display among fashion and art inspiration books and magazines. Mignonne keeps an office, where her team works and the inventory is held, a couple of blocks from her apartment. “I split my time still between there and my apartment, where I still design from,” she explains. “We also use our apartment as our showroom during market.”

“My favorite trip I’ve ever taken was with my husband to South Africa. We spent time in the city of Cape Town, the wine vineyards in Franschhoek, and on safari in Kruger National Park. We fell in love with a local Cape Town photographer, named Caroline Gibello, whose photographs are incredibly compelling,” Mignonne recalls.

“My favorite trip I’ve ever taken was with my husband to South Africa. We spent time in the city of Cape Town, the wine vineyards in Franschhoek, and on safari in Kruger National Park. We fell in love with a local Cape Town photographer, named Caroline Gibello, whose photographs are incredibly compelling,” Mignonne recalls.

While on safari, we closely followed a family of lions, and for my birthday, my husband enlarged one of Caroline Gibello’s photographs of a lion pride. It takes me back there everytime I look at it.

— Mignonne Gavigan Smith
In her home and her jewelry designs, there is a subtle theme: blue. “Blue is my favorite color, and I find myself always gravitating towards it. Looking at my current design board, you can see lots of chambray blues,” Mignonne says. “Neutrals are always a staple too. I love bold colors, but you need good neutrals to offset them.”

In her home and her jewelry designs, there is a subtle theme: blue. “Blue is my favorite color, and I find myself always gravitating towards it. Looking at my current design board, you can see lots of chambray blues,” Mignonne says. “Neutrals are always a staple too. I love bold colors, but you need good neutrals to offset them.”

The gallery wall in the couple’s master bedroom showcases photographs from their travels as well as special personal moments.

The gallery wall in the couple’s master bedroom showcases photographs from their travels as well as special personal moments.

A photograph of Mignonne and her husband, Gray, adorns her nightstand.

A photograph of Mignonne and her husband, Gray, adorns her nightstand.

“My personal style is pretty laid-back,” Mignonne says. “Lately I like to wear a T-shirt, jeans, and a cool pair of sneakers or some interesting easy dress with some lace-up sandals. I like to play down my outfit so I can throw on an MG piece and let it be the bold part of my outfit.”

“My personal style is pretty laid-back,” Mignonne says. “Lately I like to wear a T-shirt, jeans, and a cool pair of sneakers or some interesting easy dress with some lace-up sandals. I like to play down my outfit so I can throw on an MG piece and let it be the bold part of my outfit.”

The energy of New York City provides so much inspiration. You feed off of it. Everyone is operating at the top of their game, being the most productive, reaching the most people… it’s infectious.

— Mignonne Gavigan Smith

Related: Inside Loeffler Randall’s Elegant SoHo Office

Filed Under:

Join the Discussion

Join the Discussion

Leave a Reply