One sources of inspiration for the new jewelry collection from Clara Kasavina is Antonio Gaudi, the Catalan architect, whose distinctive organic style was inspired by nature — cathedrals like sand castles (the Sagrada Familia Cathedral known as Barcelona’s Natural Wonder) and lighting fixtures like the sun.  Another inspiration is the new Freedom Tower, or One World Trade. While it references such iconic buildings as the Empire State and Chrysler, we love its simplicity, and that its shape is ‘eight tall isosceles triangles, a shape we use over and over from Swarovski Elements.  What all these inspirations  have in common is roots in the past but thoroughly modern design.





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Peek at Fall 2013 Collection

We were privileged to be given a Sneak Peek of Clara Kasavina’s Fall 2013 Collection of impossibly beautiful evening bags and collectible fashion jewelry. Clara, who always has her pulse on the most up-to-the-minute fashion trends, has designed her collection around three topical themes:  Africa, Anna Karenina and Asia all of which come under the rubric, Affordable Luxury.  Here’s a foretaste of what’s to come:

1.  This is Africa    


In keeping with her extraordinary ability to create accessories using skins, Clara Kasavina’s Fall 2013 Collection includes a variety of belts wrought of exotics that conjure the bushveldt of South Africa, the plains of Zambia and the desert of Namibia.  These wholly original belts are fastened with sculptural buckles in the shape of elephant or cheetah heads. The to-die-for buckles were created by Clara’s husband and design partner, Misha Berger, whose background is in both sculpture and jewelry.

Elephant BeltClara is best known for her red-carpet-ready evening bags and minaudières, many encrusted with Swarovski crystals. This fall Clara’s evening bags combine leopard prints with smooth leather inserts. Minaudières close with double faced heads of cheetahs. There are bracelets, too, in both copper and dark brass, which feature double-faced cheetah or elephants closures.

Clara-32.   Anna Karenina

Inspired by Leo Tolstoy’s classic book, the period and the film starring Keira Knightley, Clara has designed evening bags embellished with Russian broadtail & sheared mink.  “I remember,” she says, “Russian dolls dressed like Anna Karenina, who, though a fictional figure, was universally known in Russia. The dolls wore a typically 19th century fashion – a tight-fitting jacket and skirt that billowed to the floor. The outfit was green and adorned with Russian broadtail.” This fond memory inspired Clara to create broadtail (now often called Astrakhan, after a city in Russia) handbags.  These creations, carried in the evening to dinner, the theatre or a special event, project quiet luxury without foregoing sensual appeal.

Sheared Mink New Norma Satchels

Sheared Mink New Norma Satchels Asian Collection

3.  Asia

Tassels are popular in Asia as ornaments on everything from hand fans to shoes (Chinese women used them to draw attention to their feet), at the ends of belts and as bookmarks. Depending on the culture, tassels have been used as symbols of love, protection, status, prayer and decor. In ancient Japan, a samurai would hang silk-braided tassels from his sword as a protection in fighting battles.   Clara just adores decorative elements and has discovered the ornamental value of tassels from China and Japan, Thailand and Korea.  “They are so charming, and they add panache to an evening bag or purse. Don’t you agree, darling?”

Tina soft leather pouch with detachable chain which can be worn as a necklace.

Tina soft leather pouch with detachable chain which can be worn as a necklace.

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Fabby Minaudiere is a Star!

More and more celebrities are gravitating to Clara Kasavina, award winning designer of evening bags, minaudières, clutches, purses and collectible fashion jewelry. Spotted at the premiere of Quentin Tarantino’s new hit film, Django Unchained, was beautiful Nichole Galicia wearing a long, one-shouldered white gown and carrying Clara Kasavina’s aptly named Fabby. The fabulous Fabby minaudière is a rectangular clutch in silver (it also comes in gold) studded with large, varying-shaped clear crystals. It’s the perfect evening bag to wear for a special occasion — a party, a benefit, the opera — or dinner with your significant other. Wherever you go, you’re sure to turn heads

Nichole Galicia

Nichole Galicia

Fabby Minaudiere

Fabby Minaudiere


If you want to channel Marilyn Monroe, wear a Clara Kasavina evening bag, just like this glamorous MM lookalike did. The event? A photo shoot for a Teaser Magazine.  Styled by Brendan Cannon and photographed by Marco Marezza. Here is “Marilyn,” poured into a body-hugging fishtail dress, swaddled in a white mink stole and carrying Clara Kasavina’s “Fabby.” The sparkling minaudière is the perfect complement to the softness of the fur wrap and holds its own with the sequined and pailetted gown.  “It’s flattering to see my Fabby bag on this gorgeous model,” says Clara. “I think the real Marilyn Monroe would have approved. Don’t you think so, darling


Written by Peggy Healy Parker

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Metropolitan Opera Collection

High drama. Stunning sets. Sublime music. Celestial voices.
These are the hallmarks of New York’s legendary Metropolitan Opera.  Who is not swept away by the opera house itself with its grand staircases and glittering, fanciful Swarovski crystal chandeliers, a commemorative gift of the Austrian government when the new Met opened at Lincoln Center?


Clara Kasavina and her husband and design partner, Misha Berger, adore the opera, one of the cultural threads that informs their oeuvre of award-winning red carpet evening bags and fashion jewelry.

“A night at the opera, Verdi’s Masked Ball, say, or Traviata, stirs the passions, darling, and is so transporting, isn’t it?” Clara says, throwing her eyes to heaven. “It’s one of our favorite ways to be entertained.”

Why not take home a perfect souvenir of such an emotionally engaging evening? You can, you know, if you’re an opera buff, here’s a secret.  Clara Kasavina has created a Metropolitan Opera Collection. Own a piece of Met history with one-of-a-kind Clara Kasavina purses, which have been hand made using the actual golden silk brocade fabric of one of the Met’s original curtains, and also features  crystals from an original Met Opera chandelier in its clasps.

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Kate Cuff
The bags and jewelry can be found at the opera shop on the north end of the ground floor,  What perfect Christmas or Channukah gifts for lovers of Bizet and Puccini and Mozart! While you’re at it, get one for yourself, too, so you can flaunt your opera savvy next time you get dressed to kill.


If you can’t get to the Opera,  visit the Met Opera Shop online to shop the Clara Kasavina collection.

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How Passionate Animals Lovers Show their Love by Peggy Healy

You know Clara Kasavina and her husband and design partner Misha Berger for their luxurious, red-carpet evening bags and collectible designer jewelry, but did you know they are passionate animal lovers?  Each year they donate one of their priceless Swarovski-crystal embedded minaudieres to a fund-raising event in New York.

Mind you, this isn’t your garden variety fund-raiser.  Oh no, this event is in a class by itself.  And it’s not just one event — it’s actually a series of dinner parties given over the course of a week by Clara’s and Misha’s friends, philanthropists Allen and Heidi Roberts at their beautiful Park Avenue home.

Heidi Roberts

The funds raised go to a most worthwhile animal rescue center in South Africa, Hoedspruit Endangered Species Center (HESC).  Guest of honor at the dinner parties is founder Lente Roode, an Afrikaner who was raised with a baby cheetah.

Lente & Cheetah

Lente owns one of the great luxury safari camps in South Africa, Camp Jabulani, known as “the elephant experience.”  She started HESC originally to rescue injured cheetahs, but today the Centre is renowned for its work in saving and returning to the wild not just king cheetahs, but rare black-footed cats, wild dogs, and other injured and abandoned creatures.

But back to the fund-raiser.

For five nights running, Heidi and Allen Roberts entertain friends and followers eager to support HESC.  Tables are set with the most sumptuous flatware, fine china and sparkling crystal and highlighted with wonderful figurines of cheetahs and other animals.  Course after course appears over lively conservation and remarks by Lente on developments at Hoedspruit. Meanwhile, guests bid on silent auction items.  This year’s winner of the exquisitely-design Clara Kasavina “Samira” minaudiere was an editor of Town & Country Magazine.

Samira minaudiere

Clara confided that, “Darling, I’m extraordinarily pleased that such a chic editor won my bag.  With it goes my warmest wishes.”

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The Newest Must-Haves for Spring 2013

The newest must-haves from Clara Kasavina are her ”Fabby” clutches, a perfect name for this fabulous, to-die-for Spring line of pastel enameled designer evening bags.  These thoroughly modern minaudieres are charmingly inset with geometrically-shaped Swarovski Elements that add sparkle and pop. Clara’s renowned eye for color doesn’t fail – the bags come in the freshest, most delicate shades – Schiaparelli pink, mint green, a lovely blue you can’t quite put a name to. Like all of Clara Kasavina’s creations, the bags are hand-sculpted and handmade in New York City. Can you wait for Spring?

Enameled Fabby Minaudiere

Fuchsia enameled Fabby minaudiere

Clara told us, “Darling, my little Fabby collection is for the woman who loves fashion and who adores attention. Me? I would wear a matching Nina cuff while “clutching” a Fabby. Isn’t it delicious to turn heads?”

Fabby Minaudiere and Nina Cuff

Blue enameled Nina cuff

The new “Fabby” group was launched at the recent ENK International Accessorie Circuit trade show in Manhattan’s Javits Center.  Women’s Wear Daily, bible of the fashion industry, proclaimed “a proliferation of pastels” and cited the leading handbag designers, including Clara Kasavina, of course, who were one with the trend. Here’s what WWD said:

“For spring, Clara Kasavina combined soft pastels and dramatic, geometric-shaped Swarovski Elements for the ‘Fabby’ clutch, an enamel Fabergé inspired minaudiere that retails for $1550. All of the pieces in the 17-year-old line – which is carried at Henri Bendel,  Bloomingdale’s, Harvey Nichols and Lane Crawford – are handmade in New York City by Kasavina and her husband Misha Berger, from casting and sculpting to setting the stones.”

An enamel bag!  How smart!  How fresh!  Clara Kasavina has taken an ancient technology adored for its smooth, hard, durable-qualities and color fastness, and brought it right up to the red-carpet minute.

Both Clara Kasavina and her husband and design partner Misha Berger are devotees of Carl Fabergé, the gifted artist-jeweler to the czars known for his superb craftsmanship. Fabergé revived the almost-lost art of enameling. His bold bejeweled objets deluxe and objets de fantasie were embellished with enamel.  Is it any wonder Clara Kasavina has created beautiful clutches crafted of this exquisite glassy substance? And can you see how Faberge objects like the one below have inspired Clara’s “Fabby” line?

Courtesy of Faberge

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Smoldering passion, an illicit love affair and the cultured characters of 19th century Russian high society are the stuff of Tolstoy’s genius novel set in St. Petersburg and in opulent dachas outside the former capital city. It’s the stuff, too, of Hollywood, which has produced at least a dozen cinematic versions of the novel. The newest, starring Keira Knightly and Jude Law, opens November 8. Already popular retailers are launching Anna Karenina collections to include “luxe fabrics, embellishments, lace, sparkle and a touch of romance.” These same elements imbue Clara Kasavina’s Fall/Winter 2012 Collections of red-carpet-ready evening bags and stunning fashion jewelry. Case in point: Clara’s unabashedly luxurious, gold and ruby crystal Leane Minaudiere:

Below is Keira Knightly as Anna swathed in sable hat and boa, riding in a sleigh or sledge under gaslight on a snowy St. Petersburg eve. Clara, born and raised in the former imperial capital of Russia, suggests her Peter the Great egg-shaped minaudiere as the perfect sparkling “icy” accessory for a romantic winter outing.

Greta Garbo, gorgeous in a snowy-white satin gown graced with bows, full-length white kid gloves and gardenias in her hair, is the picture of elegance and amorousness as Anna Karenina at St. Petersburg’s French theatre with her paramour Fredric March playing Tsarist officer Vronsky. Clara pictures “Anna” clutching her flirty floral hand-sculpted Rosalie Minaudiere, studded with Swarovski Elements and closed with a floral magnetic clasp.

Greta Garbo starred in two separate silver screen adaptations of Anna Karenina – one made in 1927 (under the title “Love”) and the second in 1935. It was said Garbo’s beauty was so flawless and her face so fabulous, she had no bad angles. Clara Kasavina’s chose her adorable “Mink Galaxy clutch” for “Anna” to wear with the fur-collared coat and marabou-feathered hat featured in the film. The bag’s metal frame is encrusted with Swarovski crystals and crowned with a sparkling crystal clasp, a little touch of luxury to flaunt strolling St. Petersburg’s Nevsky Prospect or Upper Madison Avenue.

When first published, Anna Karenina was put down by critics as “a trifling romance of high life.” Yet, the greats felt differently: Dostoyevski deemed it “flawless as a work of art”; Nabokov admired the “magic of Tolstoy’s style”; and Faulkner declared it the “best novel ever written.” In a 2007 TIME Top Ten poll, 125 contemporary authors agreed with Faulkner, choosing Anna Karenina as “the greatest novel ever written.”  Clara Kasavina and husband and design partner Misha Berger respond naturally to this stirring novel as seen in their brilliant necklaces and earrings that could easily grace any of the beautiful women who have played Anna in scenes from ball to boudoir.

Vivien Leigh, best known for her role as Scarlet O’Hara in Gone with the Wind, reprised the role of Anna in 1948. As the filming was under way, world-famous English fashion and portrait photographer Cecil Beaton shot Leigh as Anna for VOGUE magazine. “This flower-bedecked pink outfit and fingerless lace gloves requires the prettiest, most romantic bag to match Anna’s pensive mood,” says Clara.  “I think my floral Melissa in Fuchsia would suit it well.”  This adorable puff lamb leather bag is capped by a little enamel floral clasp pave-ed with crystals.

All the romance, opulence, and passion of Anna Karenina are inherent in Misha Berger’s magical Samira minaudiere and Clara Kasavina’s playful Larissa, both brilliant, collectible objets de luxe, that could only have been designed by those with artistic Russian souls.

Larissa & Samira

Written by Peggy Healy

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