Queen Bee

by Amanda Bedgood

After more than 40 years of design, Mignon Faget's still got it.

After more than 40 years of design, Mignon Faget's still got it. Photo by Robin May.

Mignon Faget is an artist. A living legend. A New Orleans institution. And it's easy to see why when I perused her new Lafayette store filled with a diverse offering of pieces. Things that are utterly Louisiana and absolutely sophisticated - from fleurs de lis to accordions. Clever little bits - the pirogue earrings and a blackened redfish charm that pays homage to Acadiana. Pieces that are inspired by nature - like The Hive collection (my personal favorite) - and others that are sleek and modern.

Every single thing may be quite different, but in each is a sense of true craftsmanship. Of absolute artisty. That's the thing about Faget. She is, above all things, an artist. And after 40 years she has no shortage of ideas. And no plans to retire.

"I have lots of ideas that haven't been tapped," she says. "I don't have trouble thinking them up."

If the number of pieces in her store are any indication, the statement is true. And The Hive is a sweet example of her unique approach. From the bronze cuff that is a simple honeycomb to another silver cuff dotted with honey-hued gems in every few combs, Faget has a way of creating timeless pieces that are also completely current.

"I like things that are of value. That you keep. That are passed on to other people," Faget says just days after her Lafayette store opened in Parc Lafayette. "It's not trendy. Although I find Alexander McQueen is doing things with hives now."

Faget began her hive collection two years ago, and just this fall the ever-creative team of the internationally renowned fashion house of Alexander McQueen rocked the runway with models wearing beekeeper head dresses and honeycomb printed pieces in honey hues.

"Maybe they saw the jewelry," Faget says.

At the opening event in Lafayette, Coeli Hilferty of Mignon's marketing team said The Hive was a hot commodity in the fashion world this season, putting the designer known for timeless pieces smack in the middle of all that is trending.

"Jewelry is a luxury. But it doesn't have to be a stuffy thing," Faget says of her approach to creating.

As I admired her work that spans more than four decades and runs the gamut in inspiration the question goes very quickly to the future. To what could possibly be next. That, however, is a secret this queen bee isn't buzzing about outside of the hive.

"I plan on going back to nature and I've had an idea for a number of years," Faget says cryptically. "You'll like it. It's organic."