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Art Basel Miami Beach 2022


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Photo by Roland Halbe, courtesy of Frédéric Malle.
Courtesy of Frédéric Malle.

Deborah Pagani’s Finding Joy in the Little Things

By Eliza Jordan

June 30, 2020

The jewelry designer Deborah Pagani is spending time amid COVID-19 surrounded by her family in Southampton, NY. She’s finding joy in the little things—like listening to Frank Sinatra, working virtually with clients, and figuring out homeschooling. Although it’s a change of pace, she’s finding inspiration for future projects in craft activities like beading with her kids.

Whitewall spoke with Pagani to hear more about she’s juggling her time inside and how she’s focusing on the big picture.

Open Gallery

Photo by Roland Halbe, courtesy of Frédéric Malle.

WHITEWALL: How are you doing?

DEBORAH PAGANI: I am incredibly busy with homeschooling my daughter and twin boys, being a referee, and keeping a positive, healthy environment at home while still working on my fine jewelry and hair accessory collections. The situation is a lot harder than what I expected, but I feel incredibly grateful that we’re safe and my husband and I are both able to work, so you won’t hear a complaint from me. I am also coming from a place where I am petrified that we open up too quickly; if we see a second wave, I believe we will be hit even harder. More lives lost and kids definitely won’t be able to go back to school in September. I think it’s so important to look at the big picture—long term, not short term.

Open Gallery

Courtesy of Frédéric Malle.

WW: What are you listening to, reading, watch?

DP: Schitt’s Creek. I really feel like Moira and I could be great friends, and I’m missing her now that I’ve finished all seasons. I just started “Vienna Blood” and I’m hooked. But honestly, I only watch, max, one hour of TV per night.

I’m listening to a lot of Frank Sinatra because it reminds me of “old New York” and love when I can catch a live [performance] of Black Coffee.

WW: What are you cooking?

DP: I really thought I would take advantage of this time and be able to cook more, but it’s just not the case. We made my husband’s birthday cake gluten-free and dairy-free, which turned out pretty good given the fact we had to substitute many ingredients we couldn’t find at the store. My husband has become the king of vegan tacos, so I’ve been letting him take the glory these days.

WW: How are you staying connected?

DP: Despite being spread thin these days, I feel more connected than ever—most importantly to my kids. I have learned so much about them (and about myself)! I’m also really active on Instagram, doing Lives to stay connected to my followers and clients, and Facetiming with family and friends.

WW: How are you staying creative? Are you able to make work at this time?

DP: I had high hopes for quarantine—painting, crafting, designing—but much of that has been squashed due to all the homeschooling, though crafting and beading with my kids has given me some ideas on a few projects I’ll be working on when production can start up again. I’ve also been working with clients virtually on some custom pieces (much of what I do is bespoke), so I’m really looking forward to getting those into production.

WW: Where are you finding hope/inspiration?

DP: Finding joy in the small things has been my saving grace, putting on makeup, doing my hair with a pair of Chain clips, layering on my necklaces (yes, even with sweats), so I can recognize myself. Watching YouTube videos on all things beauty with my daughter. Watching scary movies with my boys. Having FaceTime calls with my sister and only talking about all our favorite new beauty finds. All of this inspires me and reminds me that nothing ever stays the same, and this too shall pass.

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