Stylepoints: Getting the Royale treatment

  • Article by: SARA GLASSMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 17, 2011 - 8:42 AM

A Q&A with Roseville native, designer Nicolina Royale, who got cut last week from "Project Accessory."

Designer Nicolina Royale models some of her designs.

Accessories often make or break an outfit. That's definitely the case on the "Project Runway" spinoff "Project Accessory" (8 p.m. Thursdays, Lifetime).

Although eliminated last week, Nicolina Royale (formerly Nikki Cosentino) was one of the show's most memorable contestants. The Roseville native, who now lives in Los Angeles, designs leather bow-ties, amulet necklaces and studded boutonnieres favored by celebrities, including Avril Lavigne, Demi Lovato, Anna Paquin, Randy Jackson and Steven Tyler. You'll even spot the pieces in "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1" and worn by Jackson Rathbone on the red carpet.

Royale's rock-and-roll style and outgoing personality are getting her noticed for the right reasons. Before she was designing jewelry, she was best known in the Twin Cities for a traumatic high school incident that led her and her mom to lobby for an anti-hazing law in the state.

Q You're so much fun to watch on television.

A I've been obsessed with "Project Runway" since the conception of the show. I always laughed at the criers. Then I went on "Project Accessory," and I'm the crier. You never understand how hard it is until you're there.

Q You almost won the shoe challenge. Ariel Foxman said, "I think if that shoe was in any store, tomorrow, it would sell out and they'd have to reorder them."

A I've never been happier in my life.

Q Do you mind being called "crazy"?

A I take it as a great compliment. I'm a really fun, happy-go-lucky type, and I have no problem telling you what I think. The crazy eyes, waterfalls, waterworks -- I've heard it all. Crazy eyes or not, people know who Nicolina Royale is.

Q Why jewelry?

A I was at the University of Minnesota for broadcast journalism and wanted to be Barbara Walters. Then at the beginning of my junior year, I went to L.A. for an internship at "Entertainment Tonight," and I never went back. I worked in the Rainbow Room, which is where anything rock 'n' roll happens. I waited on Nancy Sinatra, Korn and C.C. DeVille. I wanted to be a rock star, but I'm not an American Idol. I don't sing. So I reassessed and decided to make accessories for rock stars.

Q How did you start?

A In 2007, I made cufflinks out of guitar picks. One of my clients was wearing a piece in Bloomingdales, and it was discovered. I started with men's accessories, and now my brand has really evolved.

Q Tell me about Rocco, your toy poodle.

A He's my main man. He's amazing. He wears a motorcycle vest harness. He's very much rock 'n' roll. When I was on the show, he broke his leg. I had a premonition about it, but you can't call anybody. He had to have 16 staples and a pin.

Q You and your mom were responsible for initiating the anti-hazing law in Minnesota. Can you talk about your experience at Roseville High School that led to that?

A In 1995, there was a thing called sophomore kidnap. They pick you up at night and brought you through the town and tortured you. I said something, and it went on like a Lifetime movie. I had death threats and everybody hated me. My car got keyed. ... I finished school at Irondale, and we passed the anti-hazing bill to help other kids.

Q Any message for students dealing with hazing or bullying now?

A It's the same thing now: Stand up for yourself, even if you're standing alone. Keep going. High school is nothing. People are really mean, but the people who were picked on are the ones that are going to make it. Hold on to your one friend, and talk to your mom. It will get better.

sales+events

THURSDAY

Monique Lhuillier trunk show: Experience the designer's spring 2012 ready-to-wear collection. The gowns, cocktail dresses and other pieces are inspired by athleticism and sports, but maintain the designer's feminine edge with sheer lace insets and sleek silhouettes.

Through Saturday, Monique Lhuillier Flagship Salon, 3928 W. 50th St., Edina, by appointment, 612-929-0747.

FRIDAY

PJs and Paws dog walk: To celebrate their micro-fleece dog jackets ($20), KN Karen Neuberger will host an event for dogs and their owners that includes a red carpet, activities and treats. Proceeds benefit the Animal Rescue Team of the Humane Society of the United States. All participants will take home a doggie bag of goodies.

8 a.m., Herberger's, Rosedale Center, St. Paul, $25 entry fee.

Grethen House fall sale: Take 30 percent off fall merchandise, including Theysekens' Theory, Megan Park, Yigal Azrouel, Comme des Garcons, Martin Margiela, Costume National and Peter Cohen.

Through Saturday, 4930 France Av., Edina, 952-926-8725.

SATURDAY

Green Gifts Fair: The sixth annual event will feature recycled, fair-trade and organic gifts from more than 70 local retailers, an eco fashion show and the opportunity to sew your own cloth gift bag or recycled tote bag.

10 a.m.- 5 p.m., Midtown Global Market, Mpls., www.doitgreen.org.

Sara Glassman sglassman@startribune.com Twitter: @sararglassman

Ship & Shape

There's something about the holidays that brings people together. Local artists and designers Maddy Nye (www.maddynye.com), Erin Smith (www.sisbro design.com), and Annika Kaplan (www.annika kaplanjewelry.com) have joined forces to create the website Ship & Shape (www.shipand shape.com), which launches Saturday. Every quarter, they'll offer exclusive collections from 18 artists, including Annie Larson of ALL Knitwear, Rachel Blomgren and dullDiamond. The giftable accessories, artwork, stationery, clothing and ceramics will be $20 to $200. See for yourself at their pop-up shop Ornamento (noon to 4 p.m., Sunday, Honeycomb Salon, 3504 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls., 612-824-2662).

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