By Tali Jaffe Minor
If your Instagram feed looks anything like ours, you’ll have @willsnotebook on your most-frequented list. Its creator, Will Kahn, is a jewelry consultant, editor, stylist and new contributor to Bal Harbour Magazine. For our Fall Issue, Kahn produced “Pencil It In,” which showcases an enviable ensemble of jewels inspired by Bal Harbour Shops’ tropical landscape.
Here, we catch up with Kahn to discuss how he developed his signature style, his all-time favorite jewelry and advice on how to shop for jewelry.
You spent many years in the market and accessories departments at Town & Country, W and later at Moda Operandi. What do you enjoy most about your work now, as an independent editor and contributor?
I love being able to work from anywhere—such as Bal Harbour Shops!
Your IG posts @willsnotebook read like a fabulous three-dimensional collage. When did this approach turn into your signature style?
As an editor, I see beautiful jewelry every day and I was looking for a creative way to share it on Instagram. As a male editor, it wasn’t as simple as just putting on the jewels for a selfie. I always carry my notebook with me, and the idea was born.
There’s a through line in your story, “Pencil it In,” in the Fall Issue of Bal Harbour Magazine that takes its cues from the lush tropical landscape of Bal Harbour Shops. Can you elaborate on how you came to this story line?
You can’t help but be overwhelmed and impressed by the natural beauty of Bal Harbour—it really is paradise. So, when I was looking for inspiration, it was an obvious choice. Also, the vibrant colors of nature are reflected in the mood and way people dress around here; I wanted to have that come across in the jewelry I selected.
Which are some of your all-time favorite pieces that you’ve had the chance to document?
From this assignment, the Tiffany & Co. ombré aquamarine and diamond necklace designed by Reed Krakoff really resonated with me. It’s truly a modern vision of High Jewelry—simple and chic and you can wear it every day with a t-shirt.
Your work is a hybrid of handmade and digital, do you mind getting technical for a moment and share what equipment and programs you use?
I have a great tripod and external light that lights the notebook and sometimes I do the pencil in post with an app on my iPad and my Apple Pencil. The notebook itself is Hermès.
How many notebooks do you go through in a year?
I go through three Hermès inserts a year - they snap into the leather cover.
What about advice when it comes to making an investment in a piece of fine jewelry or timepiece?
Get what you love. Don’t worry about whether you can wear it every day or not—if you love it, you will wear it.
What was the first major watch or jewelry purchase you made for yourself and why?
When I became a director at Town & Country, I got myself a Rolex Datejust in stainless steel from the 60s. It felt very Paul Newman to me, and I loved that watch.
Are there any book recommendations you’d like to share on the subject of watches and fine jewelry?
Yes! My editor in chief at T&C, Stellene Volandes, has just released her second book “Jewels That Made History” and the amazing Marion Fasel has a new book called “Beautiful Creatures: Jewelry Inspired by the Animal Kingdom.” They are must-reads for the jewel-obsessed.
Is there a trend in jewelry you’re especially fond of?
I love a simple diamond line necklace worn casually with a t-shirt—a la Hailey Bieber or Kaia Gerber.
I understand you’ve relocated to Miami. What are some of your favorite haunts so far? And what’s on your list of “please reopen soon!”
Outside of Bal Harbour Shops, which is our go-to, I love Mr. Mandolin for takeout, Coyo Taco in Wynwood, for the margaritas, Lido grill at the standard for waterfront dining and I’ve come to really love a good car wash at Prestige Auto Spa with their Juice and Java cafe. But, my number one spot is Miami Juice; their chicken salad is addictive.
Once travel is a little more feasible again, is there an artist or studio that tops your wish list for a visit?
I can’t wait to get back to LA! There is an amazing wealth of jewelry talent and creativity there: Irene Neuwirth, Lisa Eisner, Anita Ko, Jacquie Aiche, Jenna Blake, Andrea Fohrman, Sylva & Cie, Vram, Cathy Waterman, Sarah Hendler, Spinelli Kilcollin—just to name a few!
Care to share your Bal Harbour Shops (BHS) routine?
My husband Josh and I are die-hard Hillstone fans, so that’s our number-one dinner spot. Usually we will walk the first floor, including a lap around Saks and Neiman Marcus, before heading to Hillstone where we start with a drink and some palm tree gazing in the bar before sitting down for dinner. We always take a trip up to the third floor to visit Books & Books.
When it comes to your personal style, what are you wearing these days?
The Florida lifestyle has changed me into an athleisure person. I take calls all day on the Bal Harbour beach trail in all-black Nike clothes, white Nike socks and sneakers, and a good lathering of Sunbum sunscreen. The rest of the time it’s all navy: Save Khaki t-shirt, Ralph Lauren pants, Vilebrequin swimsuit and white Jack Purcell sneakers.
Click here to view the full story in our Fall Issue of Bal Harbour Magazine.