A former designer at Cartier, jewelry designer Hannah Martin, trained at saint martin's school, founded her own brand in 2005. Since then, her innovative designs have offered a new take on luxury jewelry, far from a conservative haute joaillerie, and quickly garnered media attention. Hannah opens up about her inspiration, creativity, state of the industry, and what's next for her. An interview guest edited on lux-fix, the new luxury e-tailer.
WHAT WOULD BE YOUR DEFINITION
OF LUXURY JEWELRY? IS IT DIFFERENT FROM HAUTE JEWELRY, WHICH MAKING PROCESS IS
SLOWLY BECOMING MORE AND MORE STANDARDIZED? I guess everybody has their own definition of luxury – it is a word that is bandied around far too regularly (in my opinion) in marketing speak these days. I believe luxury jewellery is made up of a number of ingredients: the quality of craftsmanship is vital. For us this means making every piece by hand in our workshop and using the finest British craftsmen in London’s Hatton Garden. The design is as much a part of this craftsmanship and should be unique and forward-thinking. For a jewel to be classed as luxury I also believe it should not be mass produced – luxury is not something that you should see being worn by half your friends! I also believe luxury needs to have a timeless quality – once a piece is bought and worn, it begins it’s own history. We don’t launch things to a season – all our pieces are designed to be passed down through the generations and live a life of their own.
YOU HAVE A BRAND IN YOUR OWN NAME. UNLIKE FASHION HOUSES LIKE DIOR OR
VUITTON THAT PROMOTE THEIR JEWELRY DESIGNER, MOST OF THE CREATIVE FORCES BEHIND
CARTIER, BOUCHERON, VAN CLEEF ETC... REMAIN UNKNOWN. IS SIGNING
JEWELRY WITH A NAME A SEAL OF CREATIVITY?
That’s what I hope! I am very passionate and very specific about what I design, and with my name over the door it means I can’t let up on this! This has it’s positive and negative implications, but we feel it adds an extra stamp of integrity. As a brand we pride ourselves on being open and honest about everything we do – and this is a part of that.
YOUR INSPIRATION SEEM TO COME FROM MANY, MANY
THINGS. DO YOU EVER LOOK AT PAST JEWELRY ARTISTS, SUCH AS DEPRÈS, RENÉ BOIVIN
OR MORE RECENTLY JEAN DIN VANH, AS A SOURCE OF INSPIRATION? It is difficult when it comes to looking into the past for inspiration, there is a fine line between being inspired and repeating what has already been done. I do look at past jewellery artists however – as much for business inspiration as for style. My favourite era has to be the Art Deco period – the creativity and craftsmanship during this time is unmatched to me! What I find most inspirational is that jewellery artists at this time were not afraid to push boundaries – with design and with materials. Top of my list of favourites are Suzanne Belperron, Boivin for sure, Jean Fouquet and Maison Fouquet.
DO YOU THINK IT IS STILL POSSIBLE TO CREATE? Absolutely! Or I wouldn’t be doing what I do! I suppose it becomes harder and harder to create something new, but that is what makes designing so fun. I think there is always room to develop, improve and push things forward either through design, craftsmanship, technology or all of the above!
THERE ARE MANY TRIANGLES IN YOUR CREATION: ANY REASONS? Hard to explain this one! I am attracted to the shape for it’s strength and power, and also for it’s historical significance across many cultures. The triangle talks to me for some reason – and I can’t always escape that!
HOW DID THE TRANSITION GO BETWEEN BEING A SMALL, CREATIVE DESIGNER TO THE
HEAD OF AN ORGANIZED (OR IN THE PROCESS OF BEING ORGANIZED) COMPANY?
It has been a long and organic process (that still goes on). I never wanted to be a ‘designer-maker’ or somebody sitting alone in a studio making my own work and hoping somebody would find me! I have a long standing relationship with my business partner Nathan Morse – we met very early on in the business and he has been an integral part of making it grow into what it is today.
Our visions for the brand are limitless! And for us, there is always more to be done, and more ways in which we can grow. Developing a business is a creative process in itself with many highs and lows but it is something that both Nathan and myself are incredibly passionate about and find exciting
To answer the question more specifically, the transition has been good – and will continue to get better!
THE WOMAN WHO CREATED "BOHO CHIC" HAIR AND BROUGHT FREEDOM TO WOMEN’S HEAD IS GONE.
Ten years after Melka Tréanton’s death, and one month after Nicole Crassat's passing, Fashion has once again lost one of its greatest influencers: the only hairstylist from the 1960s and 1970s Vogue Paris chose to mention in their retrospective book "Vogue en Beauté".
The French hairstylist Thérèse Chardin, credited for creating the iconic boho-chic hairdo that became a worldwide trend in the seventies, has passed away.
Independent and entrepreneurial, Thérèse Chardin had decided to shake off conventions and break apart rigid, established hairstyles that had been deemed appropriate for women. Blurry, foamy hair would become her signature. Her salon on the champs-elysées is a hit.
Her insolence brought her the attention of the fashion press, Marie Claire, Elle, Vogue. Already well known in France, the hairstyles she created for the 1964 chloé runway collection brought her global recognition; free women now had a signature look: blury, unstructured hairdos that mirrored the revolution society was undergoing. L'oréal started to run print commercials using her name.
After successfully lauching a line of wigs, Thérèse Chardin decided to push another boundary. 5 years after France had ended its decolonisation wars, she offered white, upper class people blonde or brunette afro-wigs called "nigerians", long before Madonna. It caused uproar and was too taboo for some fashion magazines that decided not feature the wigs in their editorials.
Building up on her previous successes, she launched a fashion accessory line, followed by a jewerly line, and opened a boutique within Le Printemps department store.
Exhausted from work, she called it quit in the early seventies, going back to Art school. She started working again in the late 80’s, mostly with her best friend Melka Tréanton in New York, where she championed the “Punk look” within women’s magazines.
Her work and influence were recently mentionned in the following publications:
Fashion has brutally lost another of its grande dame, therenowed stylist Nicole Crassat.
Nicole was the editor and chief of Elle in the eighties, when the magazine's authority over fashion well exceeded that of Vogue. She has helped launch Jean-Paul Gaultier's and Azzedine Alaïa's careers, along with other top editors, namely Catherine Lardeur, Claude Brouet and Melka Tréanton. She then became a prominent Editor at Large for Elle US in the 90's.
When it came to styling, whether one was appreciative of her work or not, no one in the industry would deny Nicole's outstanding qualities: talent, and a real style. Her creativity and rare ability to style even the most inexpensive Fashion had earned her the profund respect of her peers.
Although retired, Nicole's passion for "La fashion" remained uncorrupted, still attending Fashion week and especially Alaïa's presentations. Amongst the new designers, Nicole was appreciative of Rick Owen and Riccardo Tisci's work.
No longer than three weeks ago, Elle photographed her as part of an article on Carine Roitfeld, who described her in her book as a "great, talented stylist".