With crystal clear skin and peridot eyes beneath a halo mane of fuchsia hair, Tarina Tarantino is the namesake of an illustrious brand of accessories and jewelry, all made in the United States. The designs are incendiary, truly original pieces of art. These aren’t pieces for the shrinking wallflower — you’ll be the center of the universe. Known internationally and dubbed the “Queen of Irreverent Luxury”, Tarantino and her husband, Alfonso Campos, launched the brand in 1995. In those early days, Tarantino was working as a makeup artist. Her day shift behind the MAC makeup counter yielded a built-in market, as customers would come up for eye shadow and end up buying the jewelry right off of Tarantino’s arm. Most days, she says, she’d go home without any jewelry on at all. At Campos’s urging, she put together a group of her jewelry designs to pitch to area upscale department stores, yielding a $5,000 order from Fred Segal. Campos sold his car to finance that first collection. Fortunately, her timing couldn’t have been better. The duo unveiled this decadent line amongst the excruciating minimalism of the 1990s, a period when accessories were barely an afterthought on the glossy pages of fashion mags. Tarantino’s nostalgic yet contemporary designs were so colorful and innovative, they demanded the attention of customers who could never sit in background. Today, Tarantino is easily one of the hottest jewelry designers out there. Her designs range from the outrageous to the absolutely precious. Her baubles are emblazoned with skulls and crossbones as well as dueling captions like “I Love You” and “I Hate You”. She has partnered with legendary pop icons such as Hello Kitty and Barbie to create collectable pieces of fine jewelry. Tarantino uses these icons to show women that they should have fun no matter what their age — just because you’re growing up doesn’t mean you have to “outgrow” your favorites. Creative even as a little girl, lately Tarantino has been practicing jewelry design, playing with beads — in a word, experimenting. She pulls inspiration from everywhere, from books and music to 1960s movies. Even the children’s books she reads to her two daughters have inspired her. In fact, her daughter Chloe was instrumental in designing a bracelet for Tarantino’s line.