egyptian magic

The latest collection from Melbourne-based jewellery designer Estelle Dévé, Egyptian Magic. 

I have been thinking a lot about jewellery lately, and the fact that I don't wear/own a lot of it - my usual collection consists of a few simple rings, my watch and a delicate gold bracelet. Then I saw Estelle's latest lookbook; I love that the shapes are organic yet structured and while they are more statement pieces than I am used to wearing, there is still a strong sense of elegance and refinement. Above are just a few of the pieces I'm dreaming about, the Akhenaten necklace, Giza earrings and Nuri bracelet (decisions!), and I'm delighted to share with you this interview. Thanks Estelle!

You grew up in France, tell us a little about your childhood and why you moved to Australia?

I grew up in a teeny tiny village in south of France. My brother and I were the only kids there so we pretty much spent our whole time together, playing in the forest, creating our whole little world that only we understood; building cubby houses (including one that had two levels which we were particularly proud of), and doing "excavations". There was this ditch outside the village that used to be a tip in the 1800s and I don't know how many hours we spent there digging holes and finding pieces of ceramic, crystal bottle tops and even a gold ring! I was outdoors and probably covered in dirt 90% of the time and the other 10% I'd come home and look at fashion magazines and draw clothes that my great grandma would then make for me.
It was a pretty amazing thing to grow up there, however I had always been fascinated by other countries and culture and I knew from a very young age that as soon as I could I'd move overseas.
I moved to the U.K when I turned 18, and when I had the opportunity to finish my last year of uni in Australia, I didn't even think about it twice. That was 7 years ago, I guess I fell in love with the country, the way of life here..

When did you know you wanted to be a jewellery designer?
I'm not quite sure to be completely honest. My dad had a jewellery label with my aunt when I was very little and I remember going there and playing with pearls and beads and making little necklaces and things. I guess it's always something I had an interest in, but I also think I wasn't aware of it. Growing up it was never a career path I had considered. I was very academic and the idea of doing a job that was "fun" didn't even cross my mind. I went to business school and worked in a few fashion related job once I graduated and I soon became very bored. A few in my friends in Sydney had jewellery labels at the time and I used to go to their studio and help out until the day my friend asked why I didn't want to do this as a job. I had no real reason why I shouldn't, so I just tried my luck. 4 years later, here I am. Funnily enough, I was the one the most surprised: when I told my parents they just told me "that makes sense"..

What are the processes you go through when designing a collection?
Mmm, the whole design process is still a mystery to me. Every season I start with a very precise idea of what I want the theme to be, and in the end, I do something completely different. Every single time. 
I usually start drawing a lot, sometimes getting to the point of having drawn several precise pieces and usually I hit a point where I am not 100% satisfied with this and I have to start all over again. For some reason, I am completely unable to figure out what it is that I really want until I have figured out what it is that I don't want :)

Once I get to this stage, I usually read books, look at movies and images and try to free myself from work, empty my brain out, and eventually something comes out. Strangely, a lot of ideas I dream of. For some reason I find it much easier to picture things with my eyes closed.

Figuring out the ideas, making sure that they are exactly what i want, is generally the hardest part. Once that's done it's 75% of the work done!
Then I put the ideas in practice, either designing them by hand, either working in CAD and printing them in 3D, then cast in metal. Once they're all cast and plated, I assemble everything by hand in my studio. And.. Voila!

I love anything Ancient Egyptian - I found the collection at the Louvre in Paris very inspiring. Tell us about the influences behind Egyptian Magic…
Ancient Egypt is something that has always fascinated me. Last year my little brother moved there for work and coincidentally I started reading all these books about their mythology and amulets so designing a collection in relation with all of this only seemed natural.
I do love the collection at Le Louvre also, it's amazing! Poor boyfriend, I must have dragged him to every single museum that had a Egyptian collection while we were in Europe last year.. :) I've always thought that if design didn't work I'd go back to uni to study Egyptology..

Tell us about your personal style… are there any particular designers or icons who inspire you
I'm not quite sure how to describe my personal style except from the fact that I'm very very picky! I have all those rules that only make sense to me, which makes it a complete nightmare for either me to find things or for others to buy me presents..
Whatever it is I'm all about texture. the fabrics used are very important to me. I like my clothes to feel special, to have some kind work in the cut, fabric, or in the details that makes me justify it's purchase. 
Designer wise, I love Dries Van Noten for his beautiful fabrics, Balenciaga for the most amazing cuts and Christopher Kane for surprising me every single season and development the most amazing new technologies. And of course, if I had all the money in the world, I'd go to Celine, like everyone else, for the most beautiful basics in the world.

What's next for Estelle Deve?

The future will tell I guess.. But I would really like to collaborate with a clothes designer next season. Just putting the word out! :)

Photographs by Rene Vaile for Estelle Dévé SS 12/13
(you can find a selection at Mychameleon)