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.