You’ve been a dancer, a model and a creative manager. Why did you go into fashion? “I’m a workaholic. I studied dance but had to quit after I was injured. I attended a fine-arts school in Brussels, where I did everything from sculpture to painting. I entered the fashion industry at 19, as a model in New York, and my most recent job was running my own agency, where I managed a collective of artists.”
How did jewellery come into the picture? “I was fond of clothing design but jewellery to me was much more interesting. My mother was a strong influence. She was an actress and model in the 1970s and loved unconventional jewellery. I became fascinated by the idea of creating an object that could live by itself, even if it is not worn. It had to be singular in its own right – hence the name, Objet Singulier.”
What’s the philosophy behind the brand? “The kind of design I am doing is very sculptural and architectural. The aesthetic is minimal but at its heart is this idea of craftsmanship. The line came to fruition after I serendipitously met the owner of a group in Asia that owned several licences for fashion and jewellery brands.
“They also owned an amazing workshop in Vietnam that specialised in the traditional art of lacquering. To me it embodied this idea of quality and craft and was the perfect starting point for the brand.”
How would you describe your creations? “My designs are an exercise in balance – of strength and softness, and curves and straight lines. The pieces are made from brass and lacquer – brass being the more modern, industrial material while the lacquer resin is symbolic of an ancestral technique that is more noble. Each object is a reconciliation of past and present.”
What makes this lacquer technique so special? “Everything is made in a traditional lacquerware village near Saigon. At the moment there are 200 artisans working there. Creating one piece is extremely laborious and takes two to three months. It took two years just figuring out how to apply this technique to jewellery because 18 layers of lacquer are applied to each object. That in itself is an art.”
With such limited production, how do you see the brand growing? “We are also working on furniture, including an onyx and lacquer cabinet. I am also keen to explore other crafts such as enamel, leather and ceramic. And we do special orders in pure gold.”