High-society socialite, artist, Dior muse and jeweller, Bao Bao Wan is one of China’s best loved celebrities and a woman with serious style credentials.
This spring sees her eponymous jewellery collection make its debut in the Luxury Jewellery Room at Harrods. Inspired by her rarefied upbringing in Beijing’s Forbidden City Bao Bao Wan fine jewellery references auspicious Chinese symbols and childhood memories.
We caught up with the lady herself while she was in town and asked her to tell us more…
Adorn London: Why did you choose jewellery as a means of creative expression, and what does the jewellery you create say about you?
Bao Bao Wan: I don’t follow trends as I can’t keep up with fashion, the seasons and the changes. I am more of a nostalgic person, it’s hard to see what I have created go off “trend” so quickly like that so I prefer jewellery, creating with material that’s more precious and long lasting.
A lot of people say the art work of artists is often times a portrait of themselves. All my jewellery reflects a part of my life, childhood, romance, where I have been and where my heart has skipped a beat. It’s all very personal.
AL: Tell us about your inspirations and your creative process.
BBW: Inspirations, they knock on your door and it’s not something you can chase after. Once I was drifting into sleep when an idea came to mind so I sat up and put my thoughts on a piece of paper. Sometimes they even come to me when I am working or talking to people and I would have to disengage myself to make sure I capture the idea.
The part of making the pieces can take forever, it’s about precision, opposite from being free and artistic. It’s a very long process which can be tedious at times but worthwhile for the finished piece. Time after time looking at the mould, sending back and forth with the factory correcting the smallest detail. For instance there was a ring from my Butterfly Bamboo collection which we changed one millimetre of the butterfly wings four times and it really tried the patience of our jewelry maker.
AL: What are your hopes for your jewellery brand?
BBW: I don’t really plan that much in life and I never even planned to be a jewellery designer. I only wish to see more women wearing my jewellery.
AL: Which other jewellery brands do you admire and why?
BBW: I love David Webb. It’s very loud yet very delicate. My fine jewellery designs have a similar aesthetic so I like other brands that I have something in common with.
AL: What does it mean to you and your brand to be stocked in Harrods?
BBW: Harrods is the best, very simple. It’s a place I have great admiration for and I am delighted to be the first mainland Chinese designer to be part of its Luxury Jewellery Room.
Interview: Maia Adams