Facets of Femininity
It might sound sexist to suggest that only female designers bring a personal perspective to their work. It is often said that male designers are inspired by their mothers, while female creatives design for themselves.
In the case of jewellery, the attitude is different. But it is generally true that men choosing jewels for women are more likely to pick a showpiece, while the female instinct is to keep things private.
I spoke to two jewellery designers, Sabine Getty and Vania Leles, both of whom will speak at the upcoming Condé Nast International Luxury Conference in Lisbon on the 18th and 19th of April. They have different attitudes and creative temperaments. But their individual visions make an interesting story. Here is my interview with Sabine, and Vania’s will be published tomorrow.
Sabine Getty: Kid’s Stuff
“I was playing with my baby daughter, Gene, and one of her toys is a set of wooden blocks in geometric shapes. I held them up to her face like cute earrings and that’s what made me start this collection,” the designer said. “I felt that is the story I want to tell: It’s fun, it’s fresh, it’s all about youth and innocence, and it also links back to one of my favourite films, Big.”
The designer said that the Tom Hanks movie resonated with her, and made her appreciate the concept that people were only acting as grown-ups.
But looking at the geometrically shaped jewellery collection, there was hardly a hint of the playroom, even when a triangle or a square, pierced with holes, gave a faint suggestion of small fingers trying to put pieces together.
I asked Sabine how she made the leap from baby toys to adult elegance. “It’s jewellery because of the medium – when you go into metals and stones, you change direction,” she explained. “I drew them in blocks of red, blue, and green Crayola colours. Then you go into the reality of the material and it is much more subtle.”
Made in Lebanon, the pieces are shaped along graphic lines in triangles, squares, and circles. But the soft pink, silver and green colours have a slither of relief to stop them from appearing one-dimensional and flat.
And where do you find the Sabine Getty jewels? Only privately. Although she has produced a range of less “high jewellery” for stores, pieces from this “Big” collection are made to order in two to three weeks. On the principle that absence makes the heart grow fonder, the jewels are private commissions, individual and original – which is the essence of luxury in today’s instant world.