An Eye for Fashion

Susan Scaparotti gives a personal touch to her red i jewelry line
Susan Scaparotti’s one-of-a-kind lariats have been known to cause tiffs among women who paw over displays of the playful necklaces.

Scaparotti has overheard these exchanges, some of them a tad possessive in an “I-want-that-one” sort of way. Enthusiasts are often focused on her signature design: a delicate “open” necklace that clasps by folding one end over the other, weighted by colorful baubles. Carved jade, turquoise chunks, Lucite — no two are the same.

“The lariats have a life of their own,” she says. “The colors change, the beads change — that’s a whole business in and of itself.”

Scaparotti also has a sterling silver collection and designs custom boutique lines for stores such as Kilgore Trout, Lush Boutique and Lingg Showroom. “My stores have always given me the freedom to create lines that are specific to their customer base — I’ve learned to listen to buyers when they have ideas,” she says.

A buyer background, formal art training in sculpture and years spent at the former Deering Gallery in Beachwood Place make Scaparotti a natural trendspotter. During her time at the gallery, she burned the midnight oil making her own jewelry while tending shop during the day. Her brand name, red i, was inspired by this nonstop schedule.

“I’ve always been into the fashion sense of jewelry,” she says. “I think people want to buy gifts and pick up a little something that will make them feel good.”

Scaparotti makes each piece by hand, reaching into a personal stash containing thousands of beads she’s nabbed from markets in New York, bead shops in Texas and art shows all over. Her travel itineraries

always include pit stops to find materials.

“I’ve become more careful about what I purchase now,” Scaparotti says, trying to reform her see it, like it, buy it ways. These days, she seeks out plums, yellows, dark blue and black. She “adopts” and recycles sterling silver chains to create pieces like her Wrap It Up bracelets ($145-$595).

While Scaparotti has a buyer’s practical intuition for what consumers demand, she has never sacrificed her personal style. “It’s fashion,” she says. “It’s fun.”
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