A few months ago I started following a local jewelry designer on Instagram. https://www.instagram.com/stephanielakedesign/ Her name is Stephanie Lake and she is known for taking vintage costume jewelry and repurposing the pieces to create statement pieces. I think she has a loyal following and some of her pieces have graced the pages of local publications. Here are some pics of some recent necklaces from her website:
Yes, they are not for a woman who wants to blend in. They are definitely “statement” pieces. I know a few women who have been to her house to purchase jewelry. They describe her as unique with a bold style. She has curated an “image” that I can only describe as a modern-day Zsa Zsa Gabor. Dahhhhhlings! On her Instagram, she models her jewelry and promotes her privileged lifestyle as Mrs. Clifford Franklin Lake III. This well-groomed couple has a full social calendar with her feed featuring photos of couple dressed in glittery opulence as they attend the many galas of the season. The word flamboyance was invented to describe their lifestyle. As Robin Leech would have said, “Champagne wishes and caviar dreams!”
As if the photos were enough, the hashtags underscore her commitment to fabulosity. I can’t get enough of captions like “#savetheworld” and #poloforphilanthropy” … I’m sure her charitable contribution to whatever cause she was going to will undoubtedly save the world.
She even makes going to the lake a grand event:
She actually uses the hashtag “low key” next to “bedecked” and “adorn.” I am left to wonder where in the hell her lake home is and whether she has ever wielded a rake or a shovel in her lake life. I can’t see her huddled over the campfire roasting marshmallows for a s’more wearing a fur coat but you never know. She really does like fur and this week we were treated to a photo of her concert-going attire:
Her Instagram feed also prominently features her daughter, Odette. Odette is four and is celebrated on her mother’s feed for her discriminating taste (she favors caviar), her designer fashion sense, and her love of ballet. This week Stephanie posted images of the ensemble she is purchasing Odette for spring of 2018 describing her lovely daughter as a “high style child”:
Odette has a discriminating palate as she recently celebrated her birthday and wanted caviar which her mama served in a silver bowl.
She also likes blue omelettes served with caviar and creme fraiche.
Odette is frequently featured wearing her fur coats and fur doodads:
At her party honoring her 4th birthday, Odette proclaimed to all of the adults, “Attention everyone, it’s time to open gifts! Fill your glasses and get ready!” Classic Odette. I mean, when my boys celebrated their 4th birthdays, I’m sure they also issued a similar edict to the other 4 year olds in attendance. Either that or they stuffed cake in their mouths using their hands.
For Halloween, Odette wore a costume that would have made the other children envious and undoubtedly driven them to seek new parents who would put as much time, effort, and money into their costumes as Stephanie did Odette’s. No hot glue guns or cardboard boxes in this ensemble:
Ms. Lake’s feed also features images of their opulent life including her luxury Christmas decor and some gifts for Odette. I mean, doesn’t every child want a mink teddy bear?:
This week featured a clip of Stephanie blowdrying Odette’s ballet tutu because she will only “don” warm clothes:
There are countless photos of little Odette in her ballet class wearing ensembles of tulle and taffeta and cardigans. She also has a few photos of Odette entertaining her friends serving them treats on silver platters, just like we all do when our 4 year old entertains:
I was curious about Ms. Lake’s background and the internet is filled with articles wherein she promotes herself. PROMOTES is a word one can certainly ascribe to Ms. Lake and the reality is, nobody fact checks the biographical claims of most social media divas but I must say some of the info she promotes seems a bit far-fetched but hey, who knows, maybe she really did spy on the Japanese mob and nearly drown in the Turkish bath. Here is an excerpt from an interview she did:
Where are you from?
Stephanie: At this point it’s a mash-up and I am “from” everywhere that I have spent significant time. I was born in Chicago. I spent my childhood in Houston and my adolescence in Minnetonka. As an undergrad I lived between Dallas and St. Paul and finished in London, where I ended up living for a while. For grad school and all through my 20’s I was based in Manhattan but also lived or worked in Paris, London, Istanbul and Tokyo. By the time I was 30 I was living on both coasts, commuting between Los Angeles and New York, until I re-met my husband, Cory (we were high school crushes). We started living here, New York and Los Angeles, and now it is Minnetonka full-time—not quite full circle but awfully close.
You have had an amazing travel log, what are some highlights?
Stephanie: There have been so many surreal moments. I will never forget remember walking through Versailles with the on-site curators and opening rooms that had been undisturbed for decades, one filled with 18th-century cabinets covered in butterfly wing decoupage. But not everything is so lofty! (laughs) I went to Kyoto primarily to spy on Geisha and the Yakuza, the Japanese mobsters, who were incredible with their bleached hair and enormous American cars. The first time I lived in London I worked at Tower Records in Piccadilly Circus and one day I would see Vivienne Westwood on her bicycle, the next day Def Leppard signing autographs. In Istanbul, I almost drowned in the Turkish baths (it is not like a spa day, at all). So, there are a million memorable moments, but for me travel is always a reminder to look at my own day-to-day surroundings and find some delight. It is my constant assignment to try to maintain that heightened sense of wonder.
After all, she did somehow ingratiate herself to fashionista Bonnie Cashin, the head designer for Coach. Ms. Cashin is often credited with creating the concept of layering and was known for the brass turnlock hardware she designed. Stephanie met Ms. Cashin when she worked at Sotheby’s. They became friends and when Ms. Cashin died, Ms. Lake ended up owning all of her loot. Apparently there are a lot of items in the collection and Ms. Lake filed an application in the United States Patent and Trademark Office in 2012 to obtain the Cashin trademark. Opposition to Ms. Lake’s claim came from the trustees of the Bonnie Cashin Foundation and Coach. Apparently the whole thing is still pending but a lot is at stake as Stephanie could relaunch a stand-alone Bonnie Cashin brand.
In every article Stephanie makes sure you know that she is the 5th person in the world to have a PhD in Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture. Every article. Every one. Both my husband and I hold doctorates. I tell you that not to brag but to add context as neither one of us would EVER mention it. Ever. Frankly, it just isn’t a very Minnesotan thing to do. Minnesotans tend toward the understated. We like modesty and privacy and those who are humble and hardworking. We tend to avoid confrontation and we aren’t known for engaging in conspicuous consumption. We adhere to the belief that the tallest tree will get chopped down. Perhaps that is why “Dr.” Lake is such a unique thing in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. She is a tall tree indeed.