In jewelry, we seek surprise and astonishment – but rarely find it. Now, fashion jewelry designers are taking up this challenge. Providers of a strange aesthetic, breaking the codes of good taste, advocates of gender fluidity, and exuberant, they master technological processes and new materials. An uppercut: minimalist enthusiasts and serious minds, beware.
By Sandrine Merle.
Panconesi is the undisputed leader of this movement. Currently heading the design department at Swarovski, he spent years as the (anonymous) creator of spectacular fashion jewelry for Givenchy, Peter Pilotto, Balenciaga, Mugler, Fendi, and even Rihanna’s Fenty (see the neo cameos). For his own brand launched in 2018, the commitment is equally powerful. His favorite piece of jewelry: endless variations onhoop earrings. The camouflage enamel Serpent, coiling upon itself, recalls tribal piercings. The “Blow Up” earring splits in two. Another earring is formed by three sentimental rings: signet ring, solitaire, and wedding band. The “Up Side Down” is enormous and becomes an ear halo. They all accumulate for unprecedented ear parties. They mix with big bangs of stones on golden metal stems or intertwine with clusters of malachite balls, crystals, etc. Distortion of natural and organic beauty meets perplexing aesthetics: through hand, face, and head jewelry, the body seems invaded by disquieting vegetation.
At the origins of the brand launched just 3 years ago is Yann Tosser-Roussey’s fascination (trained at Studio Berçot and then at Kenzo and Hermès) with 3D printing. “This technology lies at the heart of the creative process,” explains the designer who grew up with MTV and Britney Spears. It is this technology that led him to the material PLA. The layers of filaments of this polymer made from vegetable waste, in this case corn, create a unique effect, striped, brushed as gold could be. “For now, I am still constrained by existing colors and the process that requires architectural models: the pieces are not reproducible on a large scale,” explains the designer. They evoke Sputniks, while others seem to have been made from electrical dominoes. Since the material is not injected into a mold, the interior is hollow: extremely lightweight, it allows for enormous volumes; heart-shaped hoops are bigger than the head. Insane.
With a degree in industrial design, Hugo Kreit worked as a set designer for Hermès and the Bureau Betak (for fashion shows of Christian Dior, Jacquemus, etc.). The functional, visual, and musical influences of these worlds infuse his work. In his first collection, he presents a sublime flower made of chromed polymer, combining Art Nouveau codes and emojis. This is followed by heart-shaped earrings bristling with spikes, oversized bubble gum rings, made of resin and silver-plated brass, adorned with large gemstones reminiscent of the 18th century. Chains and safety pins intertwine; the punk silver ball dog collar is fastened with a pretty black satin ribbon hanging down the back. After collaborating with the label Poster Girl (known for its lace and glitter bodysuits, cut-out mini-skirts, appearing on British reality TV), he now joins forces with Nina Ricci’s artistic director, Harris Reed. Kreit navigates a path between the beautiful and the ugly, the monstrous and the marvelous.
Banner image: Roussey