Fashion designer Isabel Bonner launched her first jewelry collection, under the Isabel Bonner Studio banner, in 2018 and is part of a growing wave of clothing designers and fashion designers who have turned to jewelry design.
The most high-profile example of this trend is fashion designer Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert, who was named Swarovski’s creative director last year and has since launched her first collection. But the list also includes former fashion designer Diva Pittala, who recently launched a jewelry collection called Dust, and Sophie Buhai, the former co-creative director of womenswear brand Vena Cava who now makes jewelry. under his own name.
Why is the fashion herd flying to jewelry? Presumably, they recognize that jewelry is, generally speaking, a more stable and predictable business than fashion, with a less demanding pace. The rising profile of fine jewelry on Instagram, TikTok and among celebrities makes entering the industry a more exciting prospect.
There’s also the potential now – where there really wasn’t before – for jewelry designers to become real names on their own, outside of Tiffany & Co. and the like. Biggie fashion magazines (including vogue) and influencer feeds with huge followings regularly adore jewelry designers, and feature jewelry as well as clothing. Again, even five years ago this was not the case.
Jewelry is so hot in 2021 that one could argue that indie designers – names like Harwell Godfrey’s Lauren Godfrey, Johnny Nelson, Bea Bongiasca, Marla Aaron and Ariana Boussard-Reifel – are the brightest new stars in fashion. fashion.
Bonner, who splits her time between London and her hometown of New York, says she was drawn to jewelry for its slower pace. And she trained in jewelry design, having studied it at London’s iconic Central Saint Martins fashion academy. After graduating, she pursued a career as a designer, but eventually returned to jewelry “due to the slower nature of this type of creation,” she says. JCK. “With jewelry, unlike styling, I work on ideas for months. There is a research phase, a drawing phase, a wax model phase, and then the production of samples. The final step is to tell the story and communicate it to others. So you have a lot more time to spend on a concept and creating a piece.
Bonner’s fashion background and savvy eye for style clearly inform her jewelry collection, which is full of mostly metal pieces that perform tiny carvings, incorporating pearls and petrified woods. Her designs are the kind of cerebral, subtly sexy pieces that fashionistas crave. “I’m always imagining what I’d wear with the piece, or who I see them on, so the two are very intertwined,” Bonner adds.
The designer is constantly inspired by modernist furniture and sculptures by Barbara Hepworth, Donald Judd and Walter De Maria. And modernist and brutalist aesthetics coexist in his work. Bonner says she’s drawn to the iconic moves because of their ability to communicate “striking emotion…through something so simple and direct.” There is elegance in these shapes.
The designer notes that jewelry “can often be more personal than clothing” and has the power to “elevate any outfit.” Still, Bonner likes jewelry to be a choice, not a necessity, loves clothes. “There’s nothing utilitarian about it. Jewelry is purely decorative. Which, presumably, makes his creation a pure passion.
Top: Cosima earrings, $450; Isabelle Bonner Studio (all photos courtesy of Isabel Bonner Studio)
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