Adorn London had the privilege of interviewing Maia Adams about the book; the influence of the catwalk and couture on mainstream jewellery and the piece she would choose to wear if she was a ‘catwalk queen’.
Adorn: Maia, your book Fashion Jewellery Catwalk and Couture is an inspiration and a real documentation of the jewellery of our times, how do you think catwalk jewellery influences our jewellery purchases?
Maia: I think that today, more than ever, the way designer fashion is disseminated in print, but more importantly online, makes it accessible to new and bigger audiences. Inevitably, the catwalks become a primary source of inspiration, and that extends to the way collections are styled – not least with jewellery. For example, last year you couldn’t open a fashion magazine without seeing statement jewellery on the catwalks. Hit the high street today and there’s a plethora of big, bold and pretty sophisticated-looking pieces out there. I don’t think the catwalk’s the only influence, but I think it’s a big one.
Adorn: What motivated you to write Fashion Jewellery Catwalk and Couture?
Maia: Ever since I was very small I’ve loved jewellery – my grandmother had an amazing collection which was brought out on special occasions – and I’d also written a lot about the form in the past. On the back of that, I agreed to write the seasonal press releases for London-based jewellery agent, Valery Demure. Twice a year I would interview her all her jewellers about their collections, and try to find the words to best represent their work. I guess it just came to the point where I had access to all these amazing designers and felt it would make a lovely book. It was what you might call a lightbulb moment.
Adorn: Do you have one overwhelming memory about something you experienced whilst researching the book?
Maia: Probably trying to pin down exactly what I meant by designer fashion jewellery when I came to write the introduction! When I started out, I viewed it as a niche medium sandwiched somewhere between art jewellery and fine jewellery, but once I started researching and interviewing, I realised that the variety of approaches, techniques and materials used means the boundaries are actually very fluid. In a nutshell, I focused on jewellers who produce their own collections according to the bi-annual fashion calendar, and who have, in many cases, collaborated with fashion designers to create collections for them, or catwalk pieces for their shows.
Adorn: Do you think we will be seeing more jewellery and fashion designer collaborations in the future?
Maia: Absolutely. I think there’s a lot of mileage left in it, especially with jewellery enjoying such an exciting fashion moment right now. Collaborations are a great way to combine ideas and resources to create something entirely new. The luxury brands such as Lanvin, Marni, Prada and YSL, realised a while back that jewellery is a lucrative way to extend the brand. They have made a concerted effort to focus on that facet of their output, often collaborating with an established jeweller who will work behind the scenes. We are also seeing interesting results when the medium is applied to other areas of fashion. My book’s full of examples: Ligia Dias’ embellished knitwear for Comme des Garçons, Florian’s Bubble Dress for Hussein Chalayan and Judy Blame’s trinket-festooned bags for Louis Vuitton to name just three.
Adorn: If you were a catwalk model, which piece would you love to wear?
Maia: Probably one of Scott Wilson’s headpieces. He studied jewellery at Middlesex, then millinery at the Royal College of Art so he does a good line in pieces that blur the line between headgear and jewellery. Or one of Florian’s giant vacuformed pieces from back in the day – something about their amorphous blobbishness repels and attracts me in equal measure. I’d love to know how they feel on the body.
After graduating from Central Saint Martins with a degree in Fashion Communication and Promotion, Maia worked as a freelance writer and editor contributing fashion and lifestyle articles to publications including British Vogue, Elle, The Guardian, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Wallpaper*. Maia is also the Jewellery Editor at Plastique Magazine and a lecturer in fashion journalism at The University of the Creative Arts and Central St Martins in London. To keep up to date with Maia’s jewellery musings follow her blog.
Adorn London would like to thank Laurence King publishers and Maia Adams.
To read more about the Colette exhibition and the book signing in Paris, including images, click here.