Rona Pfeiffer already had her moment.
Eight years ago, after stringing key chains with her ten-year-old daughter, she accidentally uncovered a talent for jewelry design. “I did it in a way you aren’t supposed to,” she told us at last night’s shop-in-shop at Elizabeth Charles in N.Y.C. “I didn’t even know where to get materials!”
As usual, the learning curve favored the bold, and soon Barneys was picking up the collection. But as quickly as luck presented itself, the designer was confronted with a difficult decision: her father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and Pfeiffer chose to abandon the business entirely. “I’m not sorry about it,” she says. “People were outraged, but in the long run, it didn’t hurt me. I believe that in a way, I was rewarded for it.”
Years later—and with Audrey heading off to college—Pfeiffer is back. Her vintage-style, hand-painted designs are sold at select retailers including Fred Segal in Santa Monica as well as bicoastal Elizabeth Charles outposts. And on the heels of her newfound commercial success, she’s collaborated with celebrated costume designer, Colleen Atwood, to create custom pieces for sister-in-law Michelle’s role in Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows (out May 11). “I have a 9AM appointment with God,” she remembers telling her famous in-law of meeting with Atwood. “She is a presence, a genius.” The resulting designs include an elaborate piece, worth $29K, which Pfeiffer’s auctioning off to benefit Alzheimer’s research.
Greeting her admirers at the tastefully appointed event, Pfeiffer reflects on the near-decade it took to get here: “The stars must be aligned,” she sighs gratefully.