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Claudia Kretchmer

Tragedy, love, determination, and a gift for design brought Claudia Kretchmer to where she is today. Kretchmer, stepdaughter of design legend Steven Kretchmer, was nearly finished with her Ph.D. in Astrophysics when both her parents died within one year. Resolute in her decision to keep the company going, a leave of absence from school to help run the brand turned into a long-term commitment to take over designing. “My parents built such a wonderful company, I want it to go forward,” she says.

Along with her industry experience (she’s been a regular at trade shows since she was 13), the interest and aesthetic she learned from and shared with Steven make her a natural for the role. A female perspective, meanwhile, brings the signature Kretchmer look a feminine touch that has already earned her design awards. “Steve and I always talked about science, we were on the same wavelength,” she says. “[In my designs] people can see it’s a Kretchmer look, but it’s a little softer.”

She also infuses her creations with her own background. A new line pays tribute to astronomy, for example, with gems set in jewels as stars are positioned in the sky.

While finishing her degree is a priority, she intends to also keep the Kretchmer legacy going, beautifully blending past and present: “I think there is so much more we can do, with [Steven’s] technology and my designing to come up with new lines.”

Excerpt from JCK Luxury Designer Issue 2008 written by Carrie Soucy.