As a storm raged on outside, Rebecca Fine and Erik Kogut said “I do” in the glass-enclosed area at the Hotel Crescent Court on June 1. With the lights dimmed, Rebecca’s gold, floral earrings reflected the candlelight that illuminated the space.
Crafted by her mother-in-law, Monika Knutsson, Rebecca’s earrings were created out of lace from Monika’s own veil that she wore on her wedding day.
A fashion designer originally from Sweden, Monika attended ESMOD and got her start working for Isabel Marant in Paris, then moved to New York City in 2008. Since then she has been designing jewelry, and in 2010, she founded her company, Monika Knutsson. Although she is still based out of New York, her designs made their way to Dallas for her son’s wedding.
Monika creates her pieces through a multi-step process: First, she photocopies the selected lace, and through those images, mocks up several designs for the client to choose from. Once a design is finalized, Monika sews the lace together by hand and dips it in lacquer so that it’s sealed and shaped. Finally, she sends it to a plant in Brooklyn for it to be dipped in 24 karat gold—the very same gold that is used to make the Oscar statues.
Worn by the likes of Beyonce, Whoopie Goldberg, and Man Repeller blogger Leandra Medine, the pieces are ethereal but sturdy. “Beyonce wears them on stage, and I think one of the reasons is because they’re very light and she can do all her dancing and they’re not going to pull on the ear,” Monika says.
While Monika offers already existing pieces (using lace that she’s collected since her days in Paris), clients can also have custom items made from personal lace. When making those custom pieces, Monika is careful to only cut the necessary amount of fabric for the item—if she can, she will take the lace from places like pockets or the lining of the garment. At Rebecca and Erik’s wedding, the bridesmaids also wore custom creations by Monika: stud earrings using lace that Rebecca’s great-grandmother made.
The ladies that made the lace are Monika’s driving force. By adding value to the lace, she hopes to honor them and their work, which at one time was not appreciated to the degree Monika believes it should have been.
“If I can honor the women who originally made the lace and then make it beautiful piece of jewelry that the client can treasure for a long time, for generations to come, that makes me very happy,” Monika says. “The great grandmother of Rebecca, she was not a wealthy lady. By gilding the lace and making it into jewelry, you’re basically adding value to this work that this woman did.”
Offering statement earrings, wrap-around bracelets, and necklaces of varying lengths (just to name a few of the options), Monika also makes cuff links, tie clips, and thin bangles for men, and most recently, has begun creating decorative home items like shades and sconces. With a booming online store, Monika also sells her pieces in stores in New York and Los Angeles, and after visiting Dallas, she has plans to begin selling here, too.
“I always try to sell in places that I love going to,” Monika says.