Boys Will Be Boys: Von Kottwitz

Is there any truth to the cliche that boys like to build and girls play dress up? Nina Stotler’s Von Kottwitz jewelry line is screwing up that stereotype with a unisex collection of elegant necklaces, wallet chains and bracelets made from hardware. For her women’s and men’s lines, the New York-based designer and trend-tracker (she currently serves as the Youth Culture Editor of crafts deceptively opulent and authentically sleek designs from zinc and bronze nuts, bolts and chains. Her necklaces for women feature an intense gold or silver triangle made from strips of nuts strung onto an industrial chain, earrings from tiny clusters of nuts, and bracelets of nuts and chain-line. Stoler began her “industry collection” for the Von Kottwitz label after producing collections of customized vintage crosses and heirloom second-hand objects. Despite their association with building and carpentry, the industry collection’s nuts and bolts are more closely tied to Stoler’s heritage than the heirlooms were, because her aesthetic was formed by Berlin’s ravaged but stately architecture which she first saw as a child when she visited her mother’s native country. Like Berlin’s low-cost free-form sex-appeal today, the men’s and women’s lines are rough but flexible with adjustable clasps and multiple ways to be worn.  And from the wearer’s perspective, “The necklace is heavy and cold when you put it on, but it is quick to turn warm on the skin,” Berlin-based French photographer and Von Kottwitz fan Maxime Ballesteros attests. The gold “bib” necklace that Stoler gave me as a birthday gift never fails to be fondled by inquisitive and admiring strangers whenever I wear it—especially in Berlin, the gritty scene of the line’s inspiration.