Celebrity jewelry designer Tarina Tarantino is a big fan of bold colors and inventive designs. In her Guest DJ set, she tells us about creating unique playlists for each of her collections and reveals her romantic side, sharing the song that escorted her down the aisle. She also captures the energy of fashion week in a dance track by a mysterious artist. Tarina’s brand is headquartered in Downtown LA at a building dubbed “The Sparkle Factory” and she recently launched a make up line for Sephora.
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Anne Litt: Hi, I'm Anne Litt and I'm here with designer Tarina Tarantino. She's known for her jewelry, accessories and now make-up. Today, we'll be playing excerpts of songs that have inspired her over the years as part of KCRW's Guest DJ Project. Tarina, so good to have you.
Tarina Tarantino: Thank you. Great to be here.
Anne Litt: I'm so glad you are here. What did you bring for us today, what is your first song?
Tarina Tarantino: My first song today is a piece called "No Strange Delight" by Roxy Music.
TT: It's so hard to choose because there is so much from Brian Ferry and Roxy Music that I love. I'm actually working on a collection right now, called "Strange Delight" and it was inspired by this song, so that's part of it. But it's also a song that, while I know the literal meaning of the song has a more sexual connotation, for me just the idea of a Strange Delight, whatever it is, conjures up really great images.
AL: Does music inspire most of your collections?
TT: Music is a huge part of my inspirational journey when I'm working on collections. It is something that is just so important, in my world, in our world. In my family, we are all big music freaks, so it's something that's always part of it. But, yes, whenever I am working on collections I'm usually listening to music that will go along with it and, what ends up happening, is that by the time the collections are finished and we get to shooting the campaigns, I have made a playlist and we are usually listening to that music during the photo shoots as well, which is kind of fun.
AL: That was "No Strange Delight" by Roxy Music. So, moving on to the second track, you brought Royksopp. Tell us about this song "You Don't Have a Clue."
TT: This song is from their most recent album. It is a song that, if I had to have a soundtrack piece of music for the night that I met my husband Alfonso, this would be it. It's such a kind of a sweet song where she's talking about this person that she's met and that person doesn't really know it yet, but this is "it" for her. And, you know, the night that I met Alfonso, when I was driving home, I was thinking to myself ‘I think my life is about to change.’ And so this song, when I heard it, it just reminded me so much of that night. That is what's so wonderful about music is that it can make you think of things, remember things; you know, it takes you to another place.
AL: That was "You Don't Have A Clue" by Royksopp. I'm Anne Litt. I'm here with Tarina Tarantino. She's the jewelry, accessories and now make-up designer who is here as part of KCRW's Guest DJ Project today. Next up you chose a really interesting piece by Michel Legrand. I think you should explain where this came from.
TT: This is from the film "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg." One of my favorite movies of all time, starring Catherine Deneuve, from the 60's. It is so inspiring and a movie I often refer to in what I'm designing and when we're working on campaigns and things like that.
It is also the music that I walked to during my wedding. Again the hopeless romantic in me, this film I just love so much and this particular piece of music is the opening music where you just see the street at Cherbourg, it's like a street scene, and you see all these beautiful rainbow and pastel colored umbrellas passing by and the rain coming down and it is such a sweet yet so sad piece of music -strange choice for your wedding - but such a gorgeous piece of music. And this film, I think, is one of the most romantic of all time, so another piece that's very personal.
AL: Talk to me about color a little bit, talk to me about what came first for you, was it the color meets the music meets the film and now I want to make jewelry to wear on me?
TT: I think it all works together. When I think back to my childhood and the things I remember. The incredible music playing on the record player and the purple shag carpet in my parents' living room and the brown velvet couch and the great movie posters on the walls and the psychedelic art and all of those things. It does all work together and it does all come through in my designs and in my collections.
Color is a very important part of my life -- obviously, I have fuchsia hair. For me, that was the ultimate way to live color, but it's also my therapy and my drug. Color, music… these are the things that, you can be feeling down and go start playing with color - whether it be painting or creating jewelry or creating anything - listening to great music, it's very therapeutic.
AL: That was Générique by Michel Legrand. Next you brought us a local artist by the name of JD King and it's a song called "Peppermint Dream." Tell us about this.
TT: Well, JD King is a good friend of ours whose music I would describe as country /rock. The first time I heard JD, I flashed back to - again back to the 80's - Dwight Yoakham's first album. But what I love about JD is that his lyrics have that psychedelic quality. "Peppermint Dream" is a song all about going to that magic place where everything's okay and you're just relaxing and you're having your green apple lemonade in an orange rocking chair watching the clouds go by and that place that we all want to go when we're stressed out. It's just such a great song, and he's such a great guy and such a talent artist.
AL: That was "Peppermint Dream" by JD King. And next up we have a great dance track, it's by Sally Shapiro "Hold Me So Tight." She's teaming up with Felix Da Housecat on this one. Tell me about this song.
TT: Sally Shapiro, I just love. She's a mystery because nobody has ever interviewed her. You know, is it really a Sally Shapiro? Or is it her and her producer? Her whole story is kind of interesting.
This particular song "What She Knows" is remixed by Felix Da Housecat, who is the Godfather - to me - of house music; he's one of my favorites. It really reminds me about the nights in Milan - travelling through the streets, going from one party to another during fashion week and just the beautiful, sexy gothicness of Milan at night. And, again, going back to Sally Shapiro, she's kind of the pop-princess now. I'm just a huge fan, I really am, and love her music.
AL: Tarina, this has been great. Thanks for joining us on KCRW's Guest DJ Project.
TT: Thank you, I had a great time.
AL: And a great talk. For a complete track listing and to find these songs on-line go to kcrw.com/guestdjproject.