Maturin necklace: Badger’s claw with porcupine and pheasant quills
(PHOTOS BY SHAWN SMITH | STYLING BY KIMI )
Jewelry doesn’t have to be a last-minute attempt to add a sparkle or jangle to your nocturnal attire, nor should it be a cold, predictable alloy that one out of every five at a party has procured at an Urban Outfitters. The perfect adornment can have the power to change how you move across a room and how you move the eyes and mind of an unsuspecting onlooker. The right piece can be as original as your own skin. To the avant-garde designing trio who have gestated the concept of GODDOLLARS, necklaces, earrings and other accouterments embody a dedication to the ethereal realm of culture where life imitates art and social identity pushes the boundaries of reality.
Two years ago, Gregori Nuñez and Loren Granic began GODDOLLARS with the fashion-curious in mind. They wanted their line to build a bridge from emotion to social ideology. While still in their early 20s, they decided on the rhetoric of the Dada art movement as the inspiration for their designs. They strove to reinterpret beauty in the found object, embracing the inherent anarchist tendencies of urban life in modern culture. Their ultimate thematic destination was not only to affect how people perceived jewelry design but to introduce them to a world of unexpected aesthetic symbolism, invigorating role-play and postmodern enlightenment. How apropos it was to them that Tristan Tzara, Dada’s torchbearer, once described Dada ready-mades as “noisy primitivism hanging from a dead necklace.”
Persis earrings: Shaped pheasant quills
Primitive indeed were Nuñez and Granic’s initial two series, distinguished simply by the primary colors red and yellow. In the first series, Rouge, they began experimenting with feathers, teeth, bird talons and crusty antique charms, strung together in a complex balance of leather, bone, pearl and chain. The concoctions were visions of post-apocalyptic wonder — straight off the costume racks of Tina Turner’s character in Mad MaxBeyond Thunderdome. Sexy and dire in its intimate challenge of the wearer’s psyche, the jewelry represents life and death in flux — an ode to the forgotten. For the Jaune series, they added to the mix the mad genius of their longtime muse and fashionista/makeup artist Kimi. “She inevitably brought a feminine perspective to the adornments,” says Granic. Though feminine, the necklaces were no less raucous. The Jaune line flirts with the intimidating savagery of warring tribes. Porcupine quills flirt with the jugular in a most unnerving way, sometimes drawing drops of blood from the wearer. Granic says the blood makes great designs, especially if you’re wearing a white tee. It recalls the nihilistic onstage tendencies of a young “Stooge” bent on baring his soul, bereft of etiquette. And Nuñez believes “the moniker ‘GODDOLLARS’ is ultimately a sarcastic slap-in-the-face to the greedy and narrow-minded nature of this country.”
Tribal chic: Augustus necklace made from a vintage leaf charm, avian claw and feathers
The upcoming Noir series will reveal echoes (literally) of Old West cowboy Americana, with some pieces as heavy as six-shooters and as loud as dinner bells clanging over the prairie, at the same time incorporating the geometric lines of the Bauhaus era. Currently, the collections are available at Scout on Third Street, and through GODDOLLARS’ Web and MySpace sites. “No two are alike, and I think that the customers appreciate that aspect. So much different emotion goes into each piece, they begin to have a life of their own — like any piece of fine art,” says Granic. Who wants what everyone else has, anyway, be it a personality or a bracelet?
Together, Nuñez, Granic and Kimishare the same passion and are obsessive-compulsive about their product, even if the process renders them sleepless for days, bloodied and creatively exasperated. But the cavalcade of GODDOLLARS does not stop at your neckline. Keeping their audience on the edge of their seats is a good way to keep the party up too. “The pieces are just a symbol for a lifestyle,” says Granic, who is now creating a branch of the company that supports creative and refreshing new avenues in L.A. nightlife. Granic, a DJ and producer himself, who spins wildly psychedelic electronica, and the rest of the GODDOLLARS gang are working with veteran event planners Steven Hauptfuhr and Aaron Castle, along with a battlement of colored lasers, to revive regular events in our famished downtown and shock the throngs of starving scenesters back to life. They intend to invoke the bygone days of the costumed club kids and the impeccably coifed “happenings” of the 1920s. Throw in the sacrificial rites of various indigenous tribes and you’ve got a potion of lavish hedonism mixed with the lascivious air of a revolution.
GODDOLLARS don’t care who you are or how you get on their train, they just want a swarm of freethinking upstarts to help them fling hatchets at lackadaisical socialites and the fashion-frozen. It’s the world of the anti-aesthetic, the monstrous and the fabulous, all clasped around your neck.