Talking jewelry with the king of color
I always wanted to do something creative. I realized that Fine Arts would be a stepping-stone to any creative area, whether fashion design, sculpture or photography. Doing Fine Arts would allow me to develop my aesthetic sense to its fullest. I didn’t want to be limited by a specific way of thinking.Tell me about your first collection, and also what inspires you to create a new collection.
My first collection was very difficult. I had to break away from everything I had done in the past and create my own style. I think that was the most challenging part. I relied a lot on my sense of color, which has become an integral part of my designs. When I design, I like to have all my materials around me. I make a few sketches of ideas, but the real designing starts at the workbench. First and foremost, I’m a jeweler, and I love hands-on designing. Every single piece in my collection I first make myself. Only then do we rework it to make it feasible for production.
How did you first start to collaborate with Swarovski?
I’ve always been fascinated by color and all things shiny, so there was no other option—Swarovski has such amazing quality and variety of stones that no matter what I do there always seems to be a Swarovski crystal sneaking its way into the design.
Where do you produce the collection? Tell me about the production process.
We produce everything in the workshop in the historical center of Madrid: we have the original sample here in the workshop, which we use as an example of how the pieces should be made, and then our team solders the different components. After that, we send the pieces to be gold/silver-plated (this is the only bit that we don’t do ourselves, although it’s still done in Menorca, Spain). After the plated items are sent back, we set the Swarovski stones and assemble the pieces—each and every one is checked by our quality control officer, and only then do we add our label to the finished jewelry.
How was your experience with Roberto Cavalli and Emanuel Ungaro?
It was amazing to see how the fashion industry functions and the pace at which it works: I was used to having months to design something, then suddenly everything had to be done in a couple of days. We worked right through the night in order to get the pieces done in time. It’s such an incredible feeling, seeing your work appear later on the models in Milan or Paris.
You were born in South Africa, studied in Munich and worked in London—how did you make the jump to Spain? Describe the adventure of creating a brand in an unknown country.
After doing so much in London, I realized that I’d love to make something that reflects my own ideas, without the limits that another person imposes on you. I could have started my business anywhere, but since my partner already lived in Madrid, it was an easy decision, one that I’m very lucky to have made. Trying to start a company in a country where I didn’t speak the language (both the linguistically and culturally) was quite tricky in the beginning; it took years to finally feel that I had figured out the way things are done in Spain. They say Spain is different—I soon realized that this is very true, but it’s different in a good way. I wouldn’t change it for anywhere else.