Comfortable, casual, and creative. That’s the desert look. Dominique Cohen helps each customer find their personal version of that on El Paseo.
“Everything we do is handcrafted, creating as much beauty as we can,” Cohen says of her namesake Los Angeles–based brand. When it comes to jewelry, that often includes casting, finishing the details under a microscope, polishing, and assembling. If it’s fabric design, it could be ice dying, to give a unique impression of color. “Everything is slow around here,” she says. “We make things to measure. We ship custom order[s].”
They can also design a space in a customer’s home or a wardrobe, notes Cohen, who has done wardrobes and jewelry for film and television, including the original Mackenzie necklace worn on HBO’s The Newsroom by Mackenzie Machale (played by Emily Mortimer); and a diamond pave necklace worn by the character Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) in the series finale of Homeland on Showtime.
Cohen uses an ice-dying process to get a richness of color; the color mixes are proprietary. “People are drawn to it because it’s different, but customers don’t know why,” Cohen says. “There are individual touches, so people know it’s a Dominique Cohen.”
“He enjoys the technical details of making something work seamlessly when it is worn on the body,” says Cohen. “His mechanical abilities are incredible, and he has a wonderful sense of detail. Sometimes, people are spending $18,000 on a necklace, so you don’t want it to flip. He can design a tiny element to fit into the design, related to gravity, that will prevent that. Sometimes, the beauty of something is not obvious. We think a lot about symmetry.”
Cohen says many of her customers are collectors, who are attracted by the high level of design. Spiroff was attracted to the brand’s design because “it’s very natural, artisanal. There’s a piece for everybody. Not everyone can do that.”
All their work is produced in Los Angeles in limited quantities. Cohen says she’s proud of her L.A. roots. “We do things differently than the rest of the country. We feel so grateful for our success. We’re very focused.”