Collaborate And Conquer: A Great British Duo


One of the many great things about our work here at Adorn HQ is that we get to spend days on end perusing catwalks around the world in order to keep our finger on the pulse of the hottest jewellery for the forthcoming season.

Spring Summer 2013 saw a plethora of bejewelled beauties hit our radar, and whilst the usual suspects delivered in style, it was the up and coming designers who really pushed the boundaries of showcase jewellery.

One such designer was London-based Phoebe English, who collaborated with friend and creative polymath Reid Peppard on the jewellery for a show staged at the elaborately Art Deco Freemason’s Hall.

We caught up with Phoebe and Reid to find out more about the venture…



Phoebe, please tell us about your ss2013 collection.

The clothes were lose fitting pieces in simple cotton poplins in cream and black which were designed to look as if they were in the process or act of falling off the body, these sparse shapes and empty areas of clothes were then adorned and decorated with Reid’s decorative plant like jewellery.


How did the collaboration with Reid come about and why did you decide to work with her in particular?

Reid and I studied together at Central Saint Martins, and so have known each other for a while. As we are such good friends and had studios so close together it felt like a natural progression to work with her, we share such a similar aesthetic.


What brief did you give Reid in order to develop the jewellery?

I showed her some of my general research images, and found one image in particular of a crassular cacti that we were both very drawn to, the collection grew from that one image really.


The jewellery is very eye-catching. Why did you choose such statement-making pieces?

A lot of my initial research was centered around Green Man imagery, a pagan god who breathes leaves from his mouth and represents an exhaulation of spring. I wanted the models to look like they were literally breathing spring but also being stifled by the mouth pieces at the same time.

What did the jewellery add to your presentation?

I needed the jewlery in the collection as I needed a visual device that could connect the clothes directly to the heavily baroque and ornately decorated space that we showed in. I had designed the clothes to contrast against this interior, so the pieces linked the vision of the girls back into the space.


On your blog you state that an "attention to ‘surface’ is a key aspect of the design process and largely informs how a garment interacts with the movement of the female body”. Does this idea extend to accessories such as jewellery and if so, how?

Yes, it did, both Reid and I love articulated jewlery, so she made each piece as individual sections that then were linked together and so curled around the body like a snake.


Would you consider creating a stand alone jewellery line and if so, what might that look like?
Yes, prehaps in the future, I think it would probably be very minimal with a focus on richness and explore the different qualites of metals.




Reid, you’ve been described as a taxidermist and artist. How does the jewellery you created for Phoebe fit into your creative portfolio and what ethos that underpins your work?

A huge part of what drives my design work comes from the natural world, as a direct result of my work as a taxidermist and artist. This collection of jewellery is no exception, but it does mark the first time that I had ever taken the essence of a living thing and translated it (with out casting it) into articulated pieces of jewellery.


Can you talk us through the process of making these pieces?

When Phoebe and I first sat down together to discuss a collaboration, we had a look through the varied visual research she had amassed in preparation for her womenswear collection, and what stood out most to me (perhaps unsurprisingly) was an image of about 100 or so different succulent plants. We were both drawn to one specific plant in the bunch… a beautiful Crassula capitella. With this as the initial starting point, I came up with a few design ideas, and worked closely with Phoebe and her partner Rose as they were developing their collection.


Have you made jewellery before? If so, what and for whom?

I’ve designed three collections of jewellery under my jewellery brand RP/Encore, and I have also made jewellery for menswear designer Oscar Quiroz.


What are the main considerations when creating jewellery?

Well, wearability is obviously key, but for me longevity and individuality are of the utmost importance. Jewellery is so very personal, so I think it’s lovely that with this collection each piece is made individually by hand just like Phoebe’s beautiful garments. To buy a piece from this collection is to buy a little hand made token of our hard work and united creative vision.


If you could collaborate with anyone on a jewellery collection or piece, who would it be and what would you make for them.

I would love to make a metal cast of a cardboard, foil and duct tape crown for the Swiss artist Thomas Hirschhorn. He gave a great talk at CSM years ago, and inspired me to look at "throw-away" materials in a new light.


Photos: Mitchell Sands

Words: Maia Adams

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