One does not merely meet David Yurman; one is enveloped in the resplendent energy he exudes the minute he casts his gaze on you. He is seriously one of the most charismatic people I have ever met! He won me over from the moment we sat down for the interview (I am also a sucker for guys who say they like my outfit- it’s nice when men appreciate fashion!). We talked about everything under the sun; from family to his passion for work and his childhood in the Bronx– we took a stroll through nostalgia lane and evoked the scent of his life.
David Yurman is clearly a man who adores his wife (and is doing his best to keep up with her!) and devoted to the company they founded together that will one day be passed down to his son, Evan. I have no doubt the legacy of David Yurman will become one of the great American tales. Read on to discover the luxurious world of David Yurman! (I recorded the interview as to give you every little detail!)
Left: David Yurman and Tina Craig.
Beauty Snob Tina: What is the story behind the David Yurman fragrance?
David Yurman: You know, it was a natural creative extension, my wife and I both worked on it the way we work on our jewelry collection. Jewelry is about emotion, the stones, the metals, you fall in love with it. Fragrance is also about emotion; it’s about memories, it’s about sensuality. At first I didn’t realize the connection but they are amazingly similar. The conceptual part about the bottle– sculpting the bottle, drawing it, the technical side of faceting a stone pressed between the handblown crystal bottle finished in Italy. We worked with techinicians similar to our jewelry technicians. It was important to represent what we both liked (meaning my wife and I). We both tested 85 fragrance swatches, we came up with 10 we liked, 8 out of 10 were identical. What are the chances?
BST: Maybe it’s because you share so many of the same memories and these scents evoked parts of your life you shared fondly!
DY: (laughing) Yes, maybe that’s it! We’ve been married 36 years- there must be something to it. You know, we both grew up in the Bronx, that must have been it. We grew up with honeysuckle everywhere, it was not like it is today.
BST: How romantic! I love it! So tell me about the scent.
DY: The complexity of the fragrance is subtle. Mid notes are patchouli, and we actually added a soft musk, the floral scent is a very rare rose, called Bulgarian rose otto- and it’s wet. Usually the dried roses are used. And it finishes on a water lily, cassis, a light finish. First it’s strong, it brings you in but then it mellows.
BST: Has your wife’s been testing it out?
DY: Oh yes, she has for the last 6 months. It has to last for the day and it does, then it finishes off beautifully.
BST: You’ve been an iconic jeweler for over 25 years, why the foray into fragrance now?
DY: Again, it’s an extension of our jewelry line and it’s all an expression of emotion. It’s another way for us to express how we feel about our senses. There’s a lot to be said about taste and aesthetics, why we choose or not choose something. And we’ve come to a branding position, David Yurman is a name now. So now what else do we like?
BST: What else can the David Yurman woman expect from the brand? Maybe bags!?!? (switching to Bag Snob mode and looking hopeful)
DY: Well, we do have a line of eyewear, optic and sun- they’re done and ready for launch. It’s been a busy year for us. We were in Italy, we were looking at small leather products. I don’t know what we’re going to do with the bags.
BST: Oh- I have an idea! How about doing evening bags with David Yurman inspired jewels?!?! And maybe belts?
DY: You know, that’s an idea but we don’t have anything for certain. My wife, besides shoes, is fanatic about bags though so it’s something we’ll think about.
BST: If she loves bags, please tell her to read my other site, Bagsnob.com
DY: (Laughing) okay– I will. Bag Snob huh, I like that.
BST: Do you have a ritual before designing a new line?
DY: It’s constant, we design everyday. We have 5 or 6 design assistants who do research but mostly I come up with the initial concepts and we further develop them with my wife and the assistants. In fact I had 5 emails this morning about our Spring line, we’re in market now. Designing is a constant part of my life.
BST: You started your career as a sculptor. Do you still have time for that?
DY: I changed from artist to jewelry designer, it’s another way for me to express my artistic creativity. So no, I no longer do any sculptures.
BST: What about your Childhood dreams? Did you ever think you’d be where you are today?
DY: I had very little dreams. My wife had the big dreams. I had no idea all this would happen.
BST: Behind every successful man, right? A woman with big dreams? (giggling)
DY: Absolutely. She said “I want to have the House of Yurman” very early on. She is really the visionary, marketer, the force behind the brand if you will.
BST: Is she here today?
DY: No, unfortunately she is not. We had an exhausting 15 day trip through Italy and it was just too much for her to come here for the event.
BST: Do you have any children?
DY: Yes, we have a son, Evan (beauty snob note,,, Evan is a hottie!). He is in Asia right now, in China– we have a store in Hong Kong. He’s presenting a new collection of watches.
BST: Tell me more about your childhood– what is your favorite childhood memory?
DY: I had a sublevel tree house, it was underground. I covered it up with all kinds of leaves and branches, my friend Tom Meade and I built a tree ditch in the field.
BST: Ha- I like that– how fun, a ditch house instead of a tree house!
DY: Yes, that’s it- it was a ditch house! (laughing) It was our secret little place, you couldn’t see where it was under the snow. We knew where it was by tree markers, etc.
BST: A secret fort, I’ve always wanted one of those where no one can find me!
DY: Exactly, it was our secret fort and we’d spend hours in there waiting and looking for rabbits to catch.
BST: What is your favorite past time?
DY: I ride Scooter
BST: You ride a scooter all over New York?
DY: (laughing) No, no, Scooter is a Quarter Horse! His name is Mr. Scooter. Let me see– what’s today?
DY: Okay, he’s in Bridgehampton today, tomorrow he gets moved to Connecticut and I stable him up and when I get back on Friday for the weekend I’ll take him out for a ride. That’s how I relax.
BST: What do you prefer on a woman, flats or heels?
DY: At night, definitely heels. During the day, because we’ve got to cover ground– flats!
BST: So she can keep up with you?
DY: No, actually, (laughing) I try hard to keep up with my wife! Especially when she’s out shopping, it’s not for the weak at heart, or the weak at leg!
BST: Have you ever shopped in Hong Kong?
DY: Absolutely, we love it. We love Lane Crawford– they are so efficient, they have ear pieces and microphones to ask for sizes from the stockroom.
BST: I know! I always expect some mission impossible type of girl to swoop down from the ceiling on a cable to with things from the back!
DY: Yeah, that wouldn’t surprise me a bit!!
BST: So where is your store in Hong Kong?
DY: It’s at IFC– Second level– great position. We are very pleased with it.
BST: I will make sure to let our Asian readers know! So tell me, what book did you last read?
DY: My life with Dogs. I read like 5 pages at night, reading relaxes me and puts me to sleep.
BST: Okay, last question– what advice do you have for women who want to build a jewelry wardrobe? What key pieces does she need to start with?
DY: You know, jewelry is so individual and personal. But if you mean right now, I think a statement necklace is a good place to start. One that you can wrap around your neck, different ways to wear it. Pick a piece that has multi-use.
BST: Like your southsea pearl lariat!
DY: Yes, exactly. But you can’t forget the bracelet- the big cuff or a bangle, that’s very verstaile. You know, you have ‘it’ bags, ‘it’ shoes but jewelry, jewelry is constant. We never go out of style. A beautiful piece of jewelry is always in style.
With that, we bid adieu but not before David asked his assistant to snap a photo of us on his blackberry so that he could send it to our friend Hamilton in New York. What a fun afternoon! I look forward to meeting his dynamic wife and have a round of shopping or two with her!
Buy David Yurman fragrance here– or run to the nearest Neiman Marcus to test for yourself. I received a sample and it is a gorgeously rich scent that lingers all day and softens by the end of the day.