How did your label begin?
I began eight years ago. What I was doing at the time when I moved to New York was spinning parties and promoting special events, and basically being a “woman on the scene” so to speak. I was working at Mao PR. I was doing fashion during the day and then just sort of living the nightlife at night.
I’ve always had a keen sense of creativity - I went to school for music and lived in France and did all these really amazing things that sort of instilled this go-getting value that I live by. At some point I was spinning a party, and I was like, “Wow, this is really fun, but I’m really a creative person in the physical and the tangible, and I want to make something.” So basically I decided to make jewellery…I really wanted to start something and to be responsible for the vision, and all things outside of that desire I would figure out along the way. So that’s basically what motivated me to do it.
What was at the heart of your creative vision?
Essentially, the drive that I have in terms of being a high-achiever in life. If you’re a kid, your chores are like to take out the garbage or mow the lawn; I’d be like, “Hell yeah! Lets do it!” - you know, like really going for it. I put lot of effort into everything that I do, so I think at the heart of what I do is this underlying passion that I infuse into everything that I touch…
What is your message to the public about jewellery?
Be risky, take risks with what you put on your body. What I would say to my clients - with anything that they do in their life, not only just with their jewellery choices - is that they should dive in at the deep end.
What kind of things inspire you when you are working?
Honestly inspiration can come from anywhere and at any moment. If you live life with open accepting eyes, then I feel like inspiration can be absorbed from all over the place. From the belly of the streets in Manhattan to haute couture runways in Paris, there is inspiration everywhere – it’s just being open to absorbing it…
What INSPIRED your current collection?
With my new collection, it’s called 'Il Futuro' and 'Il Futuro' in Italian means ‘the future’…What I’ve done in terms of communicating and showcasing this new collection is worked with 11-year-old kids - the sweetest, most enduring raw kids that I’ve ever been around… So instead of putting my collection to the fashion press and media, I put it out to the highly scrutinizing eyes of an 11-year- old class…
It taught me so much about who I am as a designer. I thought that maybe I had something to show them, but when I left there, it was really moving because I understood that they had showed me so much more…
What childhood memories have stayed with you throughout your working life?
You know when I was growing up, I grew up with a single mother and a twin sister. And what my mother taught me is to really embrace who I was as an individual and to make my mark in my life. I think in growing up and being a little girl, I always wanted to be a woman. And it was always empowering finding ways and solutions to make me feel womanly even though I was only like six or seven, you know? And that’s when you see little girls play dress up and being princesses - these are all the things that make girls feel more feminine and like they are going to eventually reach their potential as a beautiful woman.
I remember when I was growing up my sister and I used to play with Lee Press On Nails and put make up on and I’d wear my mum’s skirt as a dress and you know find little ways for me to feel more feminine. And it became ritualistic in a way. And when I finally did become a woman, and I was making jewellery in the city… I went back to that moment when I was putting on Lee Press On nails.
That’s a very essential design thread that I use for Bijules things. Once this person puts this thing on, they are going to feel so much more empowered and closer to their potential being. And it’s that, that keeps me motivated.
Do you have any advice to up-and-comers?
I think my advice would be to keep going, and to push themselves further and faster than they have ever…
The best piece of advice I could give to anyone: really take that plunge. Take that step into an unknown direction because other than that, you’ll just be repeating things that you already know. And that doesn’t create culture, it doesn’t create news, it doesn’t create art - it doesn’t create anything. I feel like if you don’t follow your dreams, then nothing will happen to you.
Your wildest project to date?
I think I have yet to even encounter my wildest project. I’m in the thrusts of opening it. I am opening the Bijulesterie. You know if you go to get a pastry you go to the patisserie. If you go to the butchers shop, you go to the boucherie. With Bijules, if you want to get Bijules, you go to the Bijulesterie!
Here on the Bowery (NYC), I’m opening the showroom. And it’s appointment-only, so what I’d like to invite my clients and readers to do is basically email us. We create an hour slot for you, just as if you were going to get your hair cut at the salon or get a tattoo appointment. I want my clients to descend into the belly of the Bowery and to experience Bijules not just on the product itself, but around the world that surrounds it…
Have you got any other projects at the moment?
I’m working on a few projects. I’m developing a men’s line for a new retailer launching here in Manhattan. I’m also working on another collaboration with artist Luca Venezia aka Drop The Line…
Later in the summer I will be working on my new fashion film with director Lina Plioplyte and stylist Masha Orlov... [The film] is not just the jewellery it’s also the inspiration surrounding the jewellery, the experience. It’s the discovery, it’s the movement - it’s like a whole sort of experience basically.
Who is your idol?
My idol is someone who may or may not exist yet. I think my idol is someone who is bare-bones passionate about everything that they do. Sometimes an idol might be my four-year-old god-daughter, who when I look at her, she’s so raw and unedited and unfiltered that she at that moment is my idol. Maybe it’s running into a fashion icon of mine in Paris and at that moment she becomes my idol…because she’s so passionate and honest about her position in the world.
I don’t think all or any of my idols have names or faces- I think basically it’s something that they live by. There’s something that pulsates in the core of who they are that makes me stronger.
Interview: Marina Kolobova
Photography: Elizabeth Raab