Edita Reads | Under Another Light: Jewels and Ornaments Gianfranco Ferrè

Under Another Light Jewels and Ornaments Gianfranco Ferre Book Review

Under Another Light Jewels and Ornaments Gianfranco Ferre Book Review

Under Another Light Jewels and Ornaments Gianfranco Ferre Book Review

Under Another Light Jewels and Ornaments Gianfranco Ferre Book Review

Under Another Light Jewels and Ornaments Gianfranco Ferre Book Review

Under Another Light Jewels and Ornaments Gianfranco Ferre Book Review

Under Another Light Jewels and Ornaments Gianfranco Ferre Book Review

Under Another Light Jewels and Ornaments Gianfranco Ferre Book Review

Under Another Light Jewels and Ornaments Gianfranco Ferre Book Review

Under Another Light Jewels and Ornaments Gianfranco Ferre Book Review

Under Another Light Jewels and Ornaments Gianfranco Ferre Book Review

Under Another Light Jewels and Ornaments Gianfranco Ferre Book Review

Flicking through the pages of Under Another Light: Jewels and Ornaments Gianfranco Ferrè felt like looking into a mirror. Here I see Ferrè without a certain consistency. Yes, the architect of fashion did not focus on one look when it came to his bejewelled creations. Finally, someone with a similar lack of consistency as me in my style, someone whom I could relate to, someone who created to experiment, to build, and to push boundaries. I am not comparing myself to fashion’s architect, I am merely happy to see an almanac of works, rather than a book with a set look, zooming in on small variations on a single idea, that a lot of designers stick to as this is their trademark.

To me, Under Another Light is a book of photography that pushes you intellectually: You view the images, you interpret the pieces and only once you have analysed and understood the experiment that every item is, you decide whether or not you are warming up to the work, or as the book refers to it “body of jewellery”.

“In each jewel lies a world. Or rather, the world. Ever an object of incommensurate symbolic value, for me a jewel makes makes an infinite number of things tangible: references, refferals, glances at the most varied kinds of reality actual as well as dreamlike, from which I draw inspiration. Therefore, I do not feel the slightest difference between ‘dreaming’ a dress or a jewel. So the impulse to search for stimuli and suggestions is absolutely similar, in an infinitely heterogeneous dimension, with neither spatial nor temporal borders.” Gianfranco Ferrè

Truly, Gianfranco showcases a whole myriad of worlds in his jewellery:

  • Those that focus on beautiful workmanship make his trips to India evident. They open a world where you can imagine yourself entering an opulent room worthy of his majesty, the Maharaja, and peek into his jewellery box to find incredible traditional pieces. In this world, you are forgiven to forget that these were designed by Gianfranco Ferrè.
  • Those that mix wood, brass and copper reveal the designer’s love for working with unusual materials. The experimental, almost industrial, pieces displayed in the book can be worn even today by the trendiest folks from the hipster crowd.
  • Those that simply must be styled with hauntingly beautiful and almost ghostly chiffon dresses by McQueen. Although in your mind you understand that you are looking at metal work, your heart sees feather light, delicate, almost vulnerable jewellery pieces that portray frozen movement. In this world, Gianfranco made time freeze, and within it a captured emotion raring to get out, but never able to.
  • Those that embody luxury. Ferrè’s take on luxury jewellery is not like any other designer’s. In this world, he did not focus on what an elderly wealthy socialite might be keen on, although that segment of population was probably the only one able to afford his jewellery. Instead, he continued pushing his knowledge of architecture, building monumental pieces that would make the loudest statement in the room.

There are more “worlds” that you can discover in Gianfranco Ferrè’s jewellery – but you need to find them yourself. Use this book as a map, and every “world” you locate – a treasure. It’s an adventure you won’t regret embarking on.

Thank you Skira and Fouchard Filippi Communications for sending me a copy of the book to review.

Edita reads | The Art of Bedouin Jewellery By Heather Colyer Ross

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This book is an amazing profile of Saudi Arabia and the jewellery pieces specific to each region of the Kingdom. What I personally enjoyed looking at was the map of how semi-precious and precious stones, glasswork and design influences have travelled to the gardens of Allah from all over the world.

From medieval times, jewellery has been the sole luxury for the people of the dessert. Generally, the Bedouin people are very practical in the sense that all they really required are the bare necessities such as shelter, food, water, farming work and trade. The good life, the simple life. And yet there is nothing simple in the art of Bedouin jewellery. Local artisans are known for their scrupulous work when it comes to detailing and unique use of metal alloys.

Over the years what we now call Bedouin silver has earned a reputation of being a low grade, readily tarnished metal. Indeed, as it is tradition to melt down pieces belonging to past generations and create new artworks for the young, it is close to impossible to find historical pieces. By melting the silver and mixing in other metals, the purity of silver has gone down steadily, paradoxically adding charm and uniqueness to the craft.

There are now larger sales of Bedouin pieces around the world – but this does not derive from the fact that life’s good and demand is on the rise. On the contrary, the people of the dessert opt for selling their creations rather than keeping them. Some days are tougher than others.

But weddings are immune to tougher times. Any Bedouin bride, regardless of her status within the tribe, will wear the most epic of creations on the day of her wedding. Head, nose, neck, ears, waist – everything will be covered in artisan pieces, even if they are just borrowed for the day. Of course this makes me admire the devotion to tradition of the Bedouin people. I learn from them everyday.

While Bedouin jewellery can be bought almost anywhere these days, for the most unique pieces head over to the female-only souq in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. I know one day I will.

Edita reads | Piaget

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When I was a teen, I remember hating watches. I thought they were just plain ugly pieces that one was supposed to wear when he was older. I now know why I felt this way – I had no good examples to look at. Piaget was not a word in my vocabulary. Thank goodness for growing older and growing wiser. Thank goodness for this book.

The truth is this tome (and it is certainly a tome as it is heavier than my monthly grocery shop) is not necessarily for jewellery lovers. If you consider yourself one, you will delight in looking at the pretty pictures and the vintage Piaget ads here and there. You will be limited to this though.

To truly soak in the glory of this book, you must be willing to immerse yourself in the world of jewellery, from the meticulous process of making it, marketing the goods, through to understanding a brand with historical significance. All of these aspects are covered in Piaget, so to really enjoy this book in a maximalist sense, being a jewellery lover is simply not enough – you must have a healthy obsession with fine jewellery and watchmaking.

Lest we forget that Piaget is the brand that invented jewellery that tells time. That is a radically different way of looking at traditional watchmaking, that is known to be rather rigid and almost exclusively masculine. This is the moment when you picture a man (à la David Gandy) in a a sharp suit looking to his right, a golden Rolex around his wrist nonchalantly shining in the morning sun. Piaget thought, yes, let’s have that. But let’s also make watches sexy and exaggerated. So add a particularly feminine lady in front of our David Gandy lookalike wearing stacks of fine jewels and no watches. After all it’s her timeless jewellery that tells time. Genius.

From 1874 to this day Piaget has stayed within the confines of its own motto: Always do better than necessary. Because of that as time goes by, Piaget’s jewellery keeps on ticking as the brand’s diamonds and emeralds continue shining on. Get this book to find out just how brightly.

This book is written by Florence Müller. Photographs are by Philippe Garcia and Steve Hiett. Get a copy via Abrams and Chronicle. Thank you for my copy!

Edita reports | Meeting Diane Von Furstenberg

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“I’ve never known what I wanted to do but I’ve always known the kind of woman I wanted to be.”
Diane von Furstenberg

Success is when a complicated surname rolls off the tongue around the world without any problems. That is how I define success. And success is how you define DvF.
Diane is a designer who simplified fashion. She took a step back and thought about the three pillars she wanted her designs to achieve. These were:
– To be demure enough to go and see your boyfriend’s mum
– To be sexy enough to turn heads
– To be a flattering and simple go to piece, any day, every day

All of these put together seem pretty difficult to achieve. But perfection is often in simplicity and that’s what Diane reminded us of with the legendary wrap dress.

Speaking to us at the V&A, Diane came across as a witty, no-nonsense business woman who has been through it all. And yet her humour and sarcasm made her look so youthful. I remember one of my best friends saying that people with a strong personality seem taller in real life. Diane’s personality made her eighteen forever and at least six one. She just had that all encompassing energy where she could wrap her arms around you just by speaking to you. A true mentor, a true achiever.

I asked Diane what her advice was on dealing with let downs and failure. I figured the message would be extremely strong coming from a fashion icon. It was. She told me that she was yet to meet a woman who wasn’t strong. According to Diane, in the times of catastrophes or incredibly difficult times it is the women who stand up and carve the way for the better. She firmly said that she had one policy when it came to failure – learning from it, gaining strength from it. And who can argue? Nay. Who dares to?

Journey of a Dress isn’t really a book about choosing fabrics and prints. At first glance it well may be, but if you look deeper it is about the journey of DVF as a designer and as a woman. The dress is almost a by-product of Diane’s experience, of her life, personality and most of all femininity. It is her autoportret.

Andy Warhol may have painted her twice, but it was her who conceptualised her own autoportret which she was, is and will be most famed for. The wrap dress.

“Feel like a woman – wear a dress.”

Thank you to the V&A for having me.

Edita reports | Alexa Chung’s It Paperback Launch

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“Do not leave until they kick you out. The later it gets, the better it gets.”
Alexa Chung – It*
To know a person doesn’t actually mean to know trivial or biographical facts about them, it is to observe how they make you feel when they enter the room. That’s what I have been keen to see during the It paperback book launch with Alexa Chung.

When Alexa and Alexandra Shulman of British Vogue entered the lecture theatre, suddenly the grande, historical interior transformed into a cosy living room. I got so comfortable, I almost found myself resting my feet on the head of the gentleman in front of me (it’s not that you have a comfy-looking head, sir, it’s just that I started feeling extremely relaxed. Forgive me?). I was moments away from asking my boyfriend to pass me the beer, only to snap out of it and realise that it was the V&A lecture hall I was at and it wasn’t a onesie I was wearing, but vintage Dior. My boyfriend wasn’t there either, I was sitting next to a lovely girl who probably ended up thinking I was some sort of weirdo. Oh well.

That’s how Alexa Chung made me feel.

Cool and collected, in a stunning dusty pink Emilia Wickstead (I wanted to match my book) and “knuhhag bropfffeeeee something” shoes, Alexa spoke about her life in the spotlight and what happens when the lights dim.

It – is it it or is it not?

I love a good coffee table book. It is one of those. The format is not traditional and is purposely inconsistent. Think of it as Alexa’s blog, only printed. Imagine every topic as a separate blog post covering topics that are dear to Alexa’s heart, from grandpa Kwan’s extremely cool style to tweeting about coffee spills and everything in between.

There is a number of ways you can read the book. You can read it cover to cover, you can flick through the pages, you can skim through the copy, hell, you can make a number up, open that page and read it – you will get your time’s worth. The beautiful part is that this format allows you to dip in and out whenever you like – there are no strings attached. It is you literary friend with benefits which is there for you when you need it.

Alexa’s writing style is synonymous to her personality. If she thinks it, she will say it, and then publish it too. Expect pearls like: “I am obsessed with moisturising. I am also obsessed with cigarettes – so I I like to think that the two balance each other out” or “I have started putting nail varnishes in the fridge to keep them nice but now there’s nowhere to put the butter”. About the latter, I do that too by the way, it works.

In a nutshell, It is a collection of personal memories and anecdotes that make the author and the reader connect. While reading is a passive activity generally speaking, It leaves an impression of a dialogue between the author and the reader, just like blogs do. You will be left feeling as if you just went for a nice cold pint with Ms Chung. Maybe asked her for a lighter too once you stepped into the pub garden.

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Alexa on hair

Boys say they don’t mind how you get your hair done. But then they leave you for someone with really great standard girl hair and the next thing you know you’re alone with a masculine crop crying into your granola.
I like the fact It has a lot of hairspiration. I like the fact that there is a lot of emphasis on the fact that it is ok to be confused about what hair style suits you. I still have no idea what hair cut could be my signature one. I think I never will. And that’s ok. I am not alone.

While most of us shiver at the thought that our hair isn’t perfect for a really important occasion. Meanwhile Alexa confessed that she prays to go out of the salon with her signature messy sexy do. She told us that often her hair will have an overly good day and that in Chungland this simply won’t do, for Alexa is famous for her perfect imperfection. It was refreshing to find out that she’s like all of us: thanking the hair stylist politely, and then going home and redoing it. Sound familiar?

Alexa on social media

“Social networking in an ironic name for something that has little to do with connecting us with others and everything to do with self-promotion.”
Alexa’s is a very straightforward, down-to-earth approach to Twitter, Instagram among other social platforms. She revealed that a few hate-messages made her hide her Instagram account from the public’s eye. Thoughtless dialogue, hate for the sake of hate, compliments for the sake of compliments can make the social sphere the loneliest place online. I guess one can feel lonely both within real and virtual crowds.

Alexa on fashion

“Looking effortless takes a lot of effort.”
Alexa’s fashion icons are as cool as her fashion sense. First up, we’ve got Wednesday Addams, we also have the Spice Girls, followed closely by Winona Ryder during her Heathers day, and lest we forget Grandpa Kwan and – as Alexa reminisced – two particularly stylish school teachers. One of my favourite references is Eddie Sedgwick, as I too, have a particularly warm spot for her. I remember myself thinking one time… Why is it that all of my icons are either dead or fictional? While Alexa’s are not like mine, she does reference the living, you can definitely see her sentiments shine through her style. The collection of her memories, her love of clothes, her influencers as seen through her eyes is what makes Ms Chung a modern icon and muse to many.

I decided to open the Q&A session and ask Alexa what her pet peeve was. She laughed and said she didn’t know she had one until the day before – when she saw those sporty socks/shoes with toes things. She thought these were horrid. Are they a thing? she asked me back. I hope not, I replied without a microphone and yet I am sure the whole of V&A heard me.

According to Andy Warhol, fame lasts fifteen minutes. He is right. Alexa’s fifteen minutes are up as her fame morphed into legend.

Tag, she’s it.
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*All of Alexa’s quotes cited in this piece are either from the book or from the event.