Vashti de Verteuil (pronounced ver tu’e) is a petite, lively woman with an engaging manner who becomes ever more animated when the talk turns to designing. Obviously a woman who is passionate about her career as a jewelry, belt, and clothing designer, Vashti exudes the kind of enthusiasm and determination that helped propel her from the isle of Trinidad to New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) to study fashion design. Inspired by the small specialty shops in Paris, Vashti went on to open a shop showcasing a dazzling array of one-of-a-kind accessories and clothing.
Starting out in the early 80′s, Vashti turned to accessories and began working with semiprecious stones, brass, and Swarovski glass for cuffs and encrusted belts. It was the kind of luxurious Venetian look that her friends thought would be a perfect complement to the dazzling color and rich fabrics of Yves Saint Laurent, one of Vashti’s early idols. (These pieces are now available by special order).
Vashti eventually landed commissions (with introductions from friends in Paris) from fashion icons Yves Saint Laurent and Jean Louis Scherrer that led the way to selling accessories to department stores such as Nordstrom, as well as boutiques and specialty stores around the country, and a luxury retailer based in Hong Kong.
Currently working in sterling silver, the mixed semiprecious stones guide Vashti in shaping a specific piece of jewelry. Using fresh water pearls encrusted in 14K white gold, Vashti adds just the right touch to a simple pair of sterling silver hoops earrings.
Her fine craftsmanship is especially apparent for the intricately designed sterling silver, wide wedding band commissioned for Meryl Streep in the much touted film It’s Complicated. A real public relations boon, the ring is prominently displayed on Streep’s ring finger on posters and ads for the film currently gracing bus stops and subway stations around town. (Above)
Situated on East 9th Street, a bastion of small specialty shops, Gallery Vercon is aptly named as it represents Vashti’s commitment to presenting and selling contemporary jewelry as well as clothes, scarves, and handbags of up-and-coming designers. Trunk shows are frequent with notifications being sent out by e-mail.
Among the eye catching items are cocktail hats that are fun, sexy and unusual giving the wearer the mark of a fashionista. Vashti’s daring and imaginative bridal headpieces, sold only by special order, are head turners and perfect for the bride who wants a high-end couture look. Vashti replicated a design motif from the bride’s Versace wedding dress by repeating it on the headpiece, a detail delighting the bride-to-be.
Other items of interest are hand-painted tee shirts by Barbara Shelley and loose, casual skirts below the knee by Yolanda Kwan that can be bought off the rack or made to the specific requirements of the customer.
While trends come and go, Vashti believes that “great accessories have a prolonged life,” a motto that is reflected in her classic designs and the various items sold. Along with designing, filling special orders, and managing a business, Vashti is an instructor at Parson School of Design teaching courses in sterling silver, beading, appliqué, and embroidery. The web site is under reconstruction, but Gallery Vercon is on Facebook giving a quick look at the shop and some of the fine items sold.
332 East 9th Street
New York, NY 10003
Credits: make-up, Emanuel Garcia-Rosario, 917-326-1477
Photo, Janusz Kawa, 212-505-9650