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Michelle Elie’s statement jewelry

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Michelle Elie’s statement jewelry

From chunky, Deco-style cuffs to ornate animal-embellished handbags, we’re fascinated by the work of jewelry designer Michelle Elie. We chat to her about her inspirations, her cosmopolitan background and why bigger is often better.

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What is your personal relationship to jewelery ?

I definitely think it all comes from my mother. She always loved buying and collecting jewelery. She had a thing : every time she travelled, she was always searching for a particular piece. Jewelery can be quite a personal choice, more so than clothes, and somehow we always have an emotional reaction to all types of jewelery, whether it is new or old. There is emotion to it.

Your line offers a lot of statement pieces. Style-wise, is bigger always better ?

I personally like bigger pieces when it comes to costume jewelery. A statement piece always says a lot about the mood you are in at that moment. I find it more fun and playful. Style-wise, it always depends on how you wear a piece, [making sure] the piece is not wearing you. Bigger can be better depending on the content.

You have Haitian origins, have lived in Miami, spent time in Paris, Cologne… How do you think all this has influenced your work ?

It is always amazing to experience different cultures in the world, because the world itself it so amazing. One can only benefit from living in so many places. Before I lived in Miami I originally grew up in New York, which gave me the “anything is possible” attitude which I have now passed down to my children. Paris was incredible for me; I learned the language, worked in fashion as a model, studied French cuisine and traveled around Europe while there. My Haitian roots keep me grounded and allow me to not to take anything for granted and count my blessings. Miami at the time was just pure fun and pleasure. I now live in Cologne which has a huge relation to art, design, and architecture. Overall, all these influences can be found in my work.

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How do your collections come together ? Where do you get your inspiration from ?

I sometimes have little ideas on what I wish to say or do for a while, and then out of nowhere inspiration comes from a trip, an exhibition, a song, a person, a film, my husband, the children, an artist… This collection was inspired by the Italian architect Carlo Scarpa, during many trips to the Venice Biennale. Right now I am fascinated by Eileen Gray and Le Corbusier’s E.1027 house in the South of France. I am looking forward to visiting it once it’s renovated and to see the film The Price Of Desire based on her one her most iconic and important architecture. Le Corbusier painted several murals and towards the end of his life he drowned while swimming off the beach of Cap-Martin. This is so fascinating and intriguing.