Alison Lou Jewelry Founder Alison Chemla is Serious About Fun

If you don’t know Alison Lou Jewelry by name, you’ve certainly seen jewelry that takes inspiration from the New York City-based fine jewelry brand.

Founder and creative director Chemla was the first fine jewelry designer to use emojis in her designs, infusing humor into pricey and precious pieces with her Emoticore collection. And over the past decade she’s helped pioneer the return of brightly colored enamel—a material she uses to delightful effect—to the jewelry landscape. She’s been copied widely, and notes, “I used to be so upset by it in my first few years of business, but now I just keep on moving!”

She’s also been, for such a young designer, uncommonly influential in her decade in business, and unusually surefooted in conjuring designs that feel original, and with a clear point of view. Eleven years into the brand’s lifespan, you know an Alison Lou piece when you see one.

 

Alison Lou founder and creative director Alison Chemla
Alison Lou founder and creative director Alison Chemla (all photos courtesy of Alison Lou)

 

And celebrities and stylists have flocked to the brand since day one. Chemla’s LOUCITE collection of hoop earrings made of lucite and hand-painted enamel, which dropped in 2018, established an especially brand strong following among notables including Emily Ratajkowski, Selena Gomez, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Rihanna, Gigi Hadid, Celine Dion, and Tracee Ellis Ross.

“When designing, I like to not only look for gaps in the market, but to create what truly speaks to me and what I can see my customers wearing and loving for years to come,” says the designer. “Alison Lou is known for its whimsy and kitsch, but I pride myself on doing this all in fine materials, so the luxury is never lost.”

 

Alison Lou Happy Anniversary pendant
Alison Lou 'Happy Anniversary' 14k gold pendant with black diamonds, $3,630

 

Chemla’s start in jewelry came through an internship at Finn Jewelry, and she later worked at former “it” brand House of Waris (which has since left the jewelry space). But she says she was “obsessed” with jewelry from childhood, stating that growing up, “It was everything to me. I always wore jewelry that had words and names on it. I had a necklace that said MOMMY in gothic letters in high school. I thought it was great and funny.”

Now she's a real life mama—she has two young and adorable kids—and headquarters her brand in a hybrid store-studio in Manhattan. Alison Lou sells directly online and is stocked in some of the world’s top retailers, including Net-A-Porter, Browns, Holt Renfrew, Matches, Shopbop, Saks Fifth Avenue, Maisonette and Boon the Shop.

 

Alison Lou emerald earrings
Alison Lou emerald and 14k 'Rectangle Streamer Cocktail Drops' earrings, $2,970
Alison Lou Away You Go pendant
Alison Lou 'Away You Go' 14k gold with white diamonds pendant, $2,620

 

Her latest collection, CeLOUbrations, toasts the brand’s 10-year anniversary, and “draws inspiration from some of my favorite vintage pieces in a more fun, modern way,” she says. “I took milestones we often celebrate in life and created pendants that spoke to them and feel very personal: a big birthday, milestone anniversary, just married.” The pieces are classic Alison Lou: colorful, witty, girly, and chic.

She attributes her ongoing success to “a mix of a little luck, making what I love, knowing what will translate, and a true understanding of our customers and trends—while making sure to always stay true to the core of Alison Lou.”