Hip accents designed to draw the eye down

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Between tongue studs and toe rings, there's very little untapped real estate left to bejewel -- except, perhaps, the hips of the low-riding jeans that are a uniform for so many women. So Wendy Thorlakson, producer with a bevy of Hollywood pals, created Jean Jewels -- hanging pendants that can be fastened to a belt loop.

Dangling from silver chains emblazoned with double Js (for Jean Jewels), the pendants look a little like hanging key chains. They are shaped like flowers, crosses, peace signs, hearts and cameos. More abstract pieces are made with materials such as lapis, ivory and amber, or crystals wrapped in wire.

Lance Bass, the 'N Sync member who is a partner in Thorlakson's film production company, A Happy Place, has been spotted on red carpets sporting an American flag-shaped Jean Jewel. And Mariah Carey ordered several butterfly-shaped pendants to wear on her "Charmbracelet" tour.

"When you're wearing low-riding jeans, you don't want to wear a big old belt that accentuates the widest part of your body. You don't want a hula hoop around your waist," Thorlakson said during an interview at her office in Venice, Calif.

The reedy, 30-year-old blonde, who was wearing blue nail polish, lives in Manhattan Beach. Her office is furnished with a Twister mat on the floor ("for settling arguments"). There's an oversized purple-and-gold-striped couch -- complete with SpongeBob throw pillows.

Before founding A Happy Place with three partners in 2001 (the company's first project was a teen film, On the Line), Thorlakson worked in development at Tom Hanks' Playtone Pictures.

Thorlakson fell in love with low-riding jeans when they first appeared on the fashion scene nearly four years ago. To set herself apart from the hip-hugging pack, she embellished her belt loops with baubles.

"I wanted something to dress up my jeans and to draw the eye down, so I started taking my necklaces apart and having a jeweler put clasps on the pendants."

Recently, Thorlakson teamed with a few partners in the apparel business to introduce the line of pendants.

Jean Jewels, which cost between $75 and $500, are available online at www.jeanjewel.com.

The Los Angeles Times is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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