An Hour in the Life Of Accessory Designer Jaclyn Altieri Murphy

Who: Jaclyn Altieri MurphyWhat: Accessories designer and owner of LuniacStyleWhen: 8am, Saturday June 16Where: Sandy Point Beach, East GreenwichShe places a stretchy cotton turban on my head like a …


Who: Jaclyn Altieri Murphy
What: Accessories designer and owner of LuniacStyle
When: 8am, Saturday June 16
Where: Sandy Point Beach, East Greenwich

She places a stretchy cotton turban on my head like a crown – one half bright pink, the other a multicolor floral that’s reminiscent of my grandmother’s old curtains. “It’s perfect,” she says, stepping back with a nod of her head. I examine my reflection in a hand mirror as the warm morning sun casts a glow on my face. I look chic, regal, trendy. She’s right. It is perfect.

Jaclyn has been making jewelry since she was six years old. “I remember going on car rides with my parents and lugging my bead boxes everywhere,” she says with a smile as she hands me a pair of dangly peace sign earrings, which coordinate perfectly with my new headpiece. “Back then I made necklaces and bracelets to sell on the beach.” I glance at the ocean; she’s come full circle.

LuniacStyle is Jaclyn’s successful jewelry and accessories line, and this morning she’s invited me to join her on the beach for a photo shoot. Ethereal young models don flowy dresses, stacks of gold bangles and strands of funky necklaces. Like me, they wear turbans on their heads as they pose gracefully by the sea. I’m reminded of a scene from a Brigitte Bardot film.

“I love the look of old Hollywood glamour icons, with tons of jewels, and that whole beachy scene,” Jaclyn says. “I think of Elizabeth Taylor and Sofia Loren. They would wear the most elaborate outfits on the beach and rock them.” She pauses to select a new set of jewelry and to fluff a model’s hair. “I love turbies at the beach.” Me too, I think to myself, me too.

“I wanted to put a little spin on the turbies: mix and match materials, sequins, studs, puffy hearts. I wanted to revamp that old Hollywood glamour. I love the girls who aren’t afraid to take fashion risks. It’s all about mixing and matching. My mother always told me if I have 10 outfits in my closet, I could have 50 just by rearranging things and getting a little creative.”

I kneel in the sand beside Jaclyn’s friend Kristen Marrah, who owns Gloss & Glamour Salon. After rising before dawn and procuring the beautiful hairstyles and makeup for the shoot, she’s now wrapped up in a sheet, which blows softly in the breeze. The two ladies have joined forces to create LuniacGlamour, a “shop within a salon” in East Greenwich.

“We’ll only be featuring local designers from Wear RI Style,” Jaclyn says of the store, which is set to open its doors at 37 Main Street later this month. “You can come see us, get styled, shop a little.” Speaking of shopping, I peruse through display boards that are propped up in the sand and settle on gold hoops — skewers for tiny turquoise sugar skulls. Perfection.

Hey Jaclyn…

Style me. What should I wear with your jewelry this summer?

“Flowy tops, skinny jeans, a super high wedge and a glamorous turbie!”

It’s Saturday afternoon and you’re having lunch with your girlfriends. What are you wearing?

“My style is funky, and sometimes outrageous. I really feel like you can wear anything as long as you own it. There are no rules with fashion. I love wearing long dresses with a turbie or bow. You’ll usually see me with something in my hair or some crazy large earrings.”

Do you have formal education in the arts?

“I am completely self taught. I have no formal training. It’s just in my blood. It’s what I have to do.”

What were you doing before all this, then?

“I was a social worker for eight years, starving for a creative outlet. A friend asked me to make her bridal jewelry; that kickstarted my Etsy shop and the rest is history.”

Tell me about your involvement with StyleWeek.

“As soon as I heard about StyleWeek, I knew I had to be involved. I love all things fashion, and felt as if StyleWeek was a way to get more publicity and to meet some really great designers. This summer will be my third time in the Accessory Showcase.”

What does your husband think of your passion for fashion?

“David is a really amazing person. When we first met, I thought he was unbelievably cute — but his wardrobe consisted of tucked in polo shirts with khakis! As we started dating, I think he was a little weary of my style. He grew to love it, and he always pushed me to follow my heart and dreams of LuniacStyle. Now it’s not just me that’s noticed for some crazy risk-taking outfits!”

The photo shoot draws to a close and the unmistakable look of satisfaction lives on Jaclyn’s face as she helps to pack up all the accoutrements. “I never in a million years thought I could actually do this for a living,” she says with pride. “But here I am, and it’s completely a dream come true.”