IMAGE Insider Guide: Fine jewellery and luxury piercing expert, Maria Tash, opens her little black book
Piercing is both an art and a science and no one does it quite like Maria Tash.
Born and raised in New York, Maria Tash opened her first studio in Manhattan’s East Village back in 1999. In 2004, she launched a line of international stores with its flagship location in New York City. Over 23 years later and she’s established her eponymous piercing and fine jewellery brand as one of the best (if not the best) in the business – with locations in cities all around the world, including London, Rome, Dublin and Dubai.
A favourite with celebrity clientele, Tash’s designs have been worn by everyone from Hailey Bieber to Rihanna, Ashley Graham, Beyoncé, Blake Lively, and Gwyenth Paltrow.
We sat down with Maria to ask her all about her life in loves and take a peek inside her coveted little black book.
What was your most recent fashion/beauty purchase?
Aesop’s Fabulous Face Oil and Dr Perfect’s Daily Disposable Bamboo Toothbrushes. I put the face oil on my neck only now, during the summer, as I think it is important to vary the oils/creams used on my face and neck. The disposable toothbrushes are a need I didn’t know I had. Now that I use them, I’m reluctant to put a used toothbrush back in my mouth.
What colour palettes/styles/designers are you interested in at the moment?
I’m in love with dusty pink, lavender, and ivory. I always mix designers when I put my outfits together daily, and get great joy out of creating new combinations by layering apparel and accessories. My clothes and belts are organised at home by colour, not designer, and I usually visualise the colour I want to wear that day when I wake up (or the night before if I have an early agenda) and then build a look around that vision.
As far as designers go, I like Elie Saab and Zuhair Murad dresses, J Mendel’s pleated silk chiffon tops and dresses, Valentino’s draped layered chiffon long blouses, and Agnona’s comfy cashmere which I still wear in air-conditioned summer offices and homes. I have many, many belts, and I wear them both over light blouses and dresses as well as over jackets and coats. I sometimes even wear a belt over a dress and a different one over the coat at the same time. My favourite belts are those from Alaia, McQueen, and Oscar de la Renta.
Is there a new fashion trend that particularly excites you?
I can’t think of a trend that I follow. I like to think my style is a mix of many interests and frankly, if the term “trend” comes up, my inner rebel tends to snarl and I won’t want to partake.
What beauty product/s can you not live without?
Every day I wear Giorgio Armani Rouge D’Armani Lipstick in shade 503 or 102. Even when I’ve given my eyelashes a rest from wearing mascara every day I don’t feel ready to go outside without this matte lipstick. I feel pale and undressed without it. I also like its magnetic closure because it’s fun.
Your favourite holiday destination/hotel (or a spot on your bucket list)?
I really enjoy staying at the St. Regis hotel in Bal Harbour. It’s right across the street from the Bal Harbour shops, where I have a store. Bal Harbour and its shopping centre is a special quiet and luxurious enclave with good restaurants. It’s a quick trip from NYC, and a wonderful feeling to slide open the hotel doors and see and feel the gorgeous Miami coastline.
The last gift (fashion/beauty/jewellery) you received?
I tend to purchase items that I want for myself, and do not wait for someone to buy any particular item for me. The last item of jewellery I purchased for myself was a vintage Colombian emerald cabochon ring with pear diamonds at Sotheby’s. I love emeralds.
What’s your favourite city for shopping?
I love Manhattan shopping; that’s part of the reason I continue to live here. In Manhattan, you really can find anything or find the person who can get any esoteric items you may be searching for. From a jewellery perspective, you can find any unusual stone you might want here. The same goes for fashion – I love Manhattan’s fashion sample sales, Bergdorf Goodman department store, and its designer boutiques are top-notch, never mind the great restaurants after some shopping.
Can you tell us about one of your most treasured fashion items?
I am very fond of several custom-made coats. In the winter months, I actually plan what I wear under the coat by the colour of the coat I want to wear that day. I’ve been getting clothing made for me for a couple of years now, and for me, there is so much fun in selecting the fabric, adjusting the shape of a pattern to my taste while trying on the muslin version first, and then having the final item in its intended fabric custom fit to my body. This procedure is not unusual for men with custom-made suits, but for women, it is not common as we are not really offered that service
A fashion-based Instagram account you follow?
I find fashion-based inspiration by looking at runway images of specific designers through Vogue‘s historic runway annals. I like going back through the digital images, which are organised by designer, year, and season, and seeing how the best designers put whole looks together. Before there was the internet, I used to spend money buying (for about $65 each at the time) the large glossy magazines showing highlights of each fashion season. I think that’s why I so appreciate the Vogue runway digital history available anytime online. I also still enjoy using Pinterest.
A fashion piece you’d buy if money was no object?
For apparel, I would want vintage, historic, best of Mcqueen and Mugler pieces. For stones, I would buy marquise and oval-shaped Internally flawless D colour type two A diamonds and create clusters where I have sketches ready for them.
Any advice for people getting their first Maria Tash earrings? Do certain styles suit certain people?
It is important to look on the Maria Tash website and on our social media to see versatility in how to wear a given style. A good starting point is to either be inspired by the beauty of a piece and then find a location to put the piece in, or, be intrigued by a location on the ear (or body) and then find an appropriate piece that suits that place. Our stylists will guide you on the metal colour choice, and length of post or diameter of the ring after the above selections.
Of your own pieces, which style do you wear the most?
My floating diamond tassel earrings are my favourite because they are so lightweight, full of movement, and bright. They have pear and round diamonds hanging together and in nice proportions to each other, and pear shapes are one of my favourites. I wear these earrings almost every day. They usually live in my helix piercings as a bold upper ear statement, but I do move them to my lobes when I want a fun and lightweight statement first lobe piece.