Elvira Sazesh makes luxurious unconventional jewelry combining metals with silks, leathers and hand printed suede. Her designs are decadent, supple and ornamental in a way which has yet to be seen in jewelry design. Exploring the limits of what jewelry can be, they merge disparate craft disciplines—from leather working to goldsmiths’ techniques—to re-define and re-invent the metallurgical practice of jewelry design with a soft, textile, decorative touch.
You studied women’s wear design at the London College of Fashion. How did you make your way to jewelry design?
By chance, like most things in life. I heard from a friend about Liberty open call day. Liberty is a famous and prestigious department store in London. Once a year they open their doors to the public and you have 3 minutes to pitch your product to the buyers. I have never been a big fan of pattern making (garment wear) so I decided to make a few pieces of necklaces and earrings a few days prior to the Liberty open call day. Luckily for me the head buyer of accessories and jewelry loved the piece and from that they I decided to give the jewelry a go.
How did studying women’s wear influence your way of thinking of jewelry as a soft, pliable form?
I have always loved working with leather and soft suede. This could be seen in my graduation collection in 2004. It’s funny when I look back at that collection most garments are somehow jeweled with crochet, circular cut leather and beads. I didn’t think about this at the time, but somehow it was always there as apart of my creations.
What gave you the inspiration of combining unconventional materials such as suede, leather, silk rope, and metal in jewelry?
Inspiration comes to me from everywhere. It can be an 80s movie such as Beetlejuice or childhood heroines such as Jem and The Holograms and The Misfits. My designs are quite dramatic. So was the fashion in the 80s. As a child of the 80s, this made an impact on my creations I guess.
All of your designs are hand-crafted. Can you tell us more about how they are created and about your atelier in London?
I buy most of the leather that I use from a big warehouse in East London. Some of the pieces are trimmings. I have always enjoyed cutting much more than sewing. Most of the pieces have been cut many times to create the tassel like effect. East London has become my adopted home ever since I moved to London in 2000 to study fashion. My studio is a walking distance from my flat and I surround myself with mementos, images and materials that inspire me.
Can you describe these mementos, images and materials that inspire you? What is surrounding you at this time?
Old postcards from a trip I took to the beautiful island of Sicily. The color of the autumn trees surrounding my windows. The emerald green color that I am really besotted by at the moment. Multi-colored crystals in different forms and shapes.
Does the history of Victorian ornamentation and British design play a part in developing or conceptualizing your jewelry, and if so how?
Not really. I was born in Iran just before the Iranian revolution in late 70s. My family and I moved to Sweden in the mid 80s to settle in Stockholm. We also lived in Dubai for a little while before moving to Sweden. Those days Dubai was nothing like today… I think being brought up in Sweden has shaped the development and conceptualization of my designs. I love the Scandinavian simplicity.
Your suede is “individually hand printed.” Can you explain what this means and describe the process?
I never studied printmaking. As I wanted to find suede fabrics with cool prints and it was very difficult to source. I decided to I just experiment with it. So, I did some research and got some home printing materials from a haberdasher shop and gave it a go. The experiment was a success!
Jewelry is a form of personal expression. It’s wearable art. You can fully communicate your mood and personality through jewelry. You can make an instant statement update with the right statement jewelry while still wearing the same outfit.
Thanks so much, you make us dream! Bizou!
(images: Elvira Sazesh)