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August 27 2014

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10 posts tagged "Elie Top"

Q&A: Lanvin’s Elie Top Is Launching High Jewelry, Was Bottle-Fed Chanel

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Elie TopElie Top, the fashion jewelry designer behind Lanvin’s remarkable baubles, announced today that he would launch a line of precious and semi-precious jewelry during the Couture shows in January. In an exclusive interview, Top spoke with Style.com about his lifelong influences, his friendships with Alber Elbaz and Loulou de la Falaise, and how he intends to handle high fashion as he ventures into the ever-expanding “haute jo” [high jewelry] category.

Finally! What convinced you to take the leap?
I’ve always had the idea of doing my own jewelry, but it was really about meeting the right people at the right time, ¬plus I’m not sure I was creatively mature enough before. And then there came a time to decide, and that’s when I met all the right people at the right time. They all complement each other. It was a good match. I’m really happy about it.

How do you envision your own brand?
I consider it sort of haute fantasy jewelry based on my experience in
costume jewelry. I want to take advantage of all the sophisticated techniques and possibilities high jewelry offers. For me, it’s a natural extension of my aesthetic and my taste for couture and costume jewelry, recast through the prism of high jewelry. I’m very French, so it will be a French brand, entirely. We’ll have a little salon where I can receive clients and design exclusive pieces. I’m obsessed with doing things myself from beginning to end. The point is to remain exclusive without being elitist.

Who do you look to from the past to define that style?
There are my basic-basics: I was practically bottle-fed on Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent, who are the foundation of fashion jewelry in the noblest sense. There are so many things I love: Art Deco, Despres, Fouquet; then Boivin and Belperron are always hovering in the background.

But a lot is about what I feel like now and the season, because I live in the world of fashion. It could be Belle Époque garlands one minute, or something very Baroque the next. And it’s not just jewelry—earlier this year I saw Einstein on the Beach in Paris and it was phenomenal, just extraordinary. But architecture, especially Art Deco, has always been important to me. I am always torn between that and things I loved as a child.

Which were?
Versailles, Vaux le Vicomte, Venice, Rome, and churches in general. From a young age I was crazy for Baroque. I would spend hours drawing my own meticulously detailed churches and castles that were a total mash-up of Italian Baroque and French classicism. My parents were kind of post-68 hippies—they had no idea what to do with that. Later I discovered the more radical, pure modern art of the inter-war period, which influenced me in terms of line and is much more mechanical, industrial, and constructed. So my aesthetic centers on two contradictory codes. It’s like a morganatic marriage between fantasy and nobility. At some point, much later, it dawned on me that I’m still doing what I was doing when I was 8 years old. Right now I’m calling it futuristico-Baroque. It’s an improbable fusion of two worlds.

What’s the storyline for your first collection?
There are many stories that compose the same story, about twenty pieces in all. I’m not obsessed by the value of the stone itself; for me, it’s more about design, conception, volumes, etc. If the stone is very important, that’s great, but I hope the value will be in the work itself. I’m totally not interested in doing just a diamond necklace. I love the
possibilities of mixing things up.

What did Alber Elbaz say about your decision?
He’s always been supportive; it’s a conversation we’d had for a long time. That was liberating, because he always told me I should be thinking about that, that it was important. I was just starting as an assistant when we met, when he joined Yves Saint Laurent. He’s the one who put me to work on accessories and jewelry fifteen years ago. I consider myself very lucky to have met him when I did. The same goes for Loulou.

What was your relationship with Loulou de la Falaise?
Love and admiration. She and Alber were the biggest influences in my life
between the ages of 20 and 30, and she was very intuitive. When it came to jewelry, among other things, she was so un-bourgeois; there was no snobbery, just a love of beauty. She didn’t overthink fashion, she just threw pieces together and it came out great. Precious things are not always what the world says they are. It can come in all sorts of shapes.

How will you juggle Lanvin and Top?
It’s easy for me, because its not the same story. What I do for Lanvin is for Alber—it’s guided by his collection, and it’s about the clothes and his world. But it’s costume jewelry, and it’s subject to the fashion calendar. High jewelry is based on other techniques, so I wind up doing something completely different. But I’m used to working a lot—I love it. Eventually I’d like to do other lifestyle objects, too. I’m only just getting started!

Photos: François Goizé

Faux and Fabulous

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jewelry prize

If you’ve ever fallen hard for a piece of high-fashion costume jewelry, chances are good that it has passed through Edgard Hamon. Founded in 1919, the atelier was the first to create belts for Chanel, and decades later, it was the first to thread strips of leather through metal chains.

Today, the Edgard Hamon archives scan like a who’s who of couture’s glory days: Yves Saint Laurent, Lanvin, Nina Ricci, Chanel, Givenchy, Thierry Mugler, Balenciaga, and Christian Lacroix have all called on Edgard Hamon at some point.

Which is why Lacroix, along with Elie Top, Paris Vogue jewelry editor Franceline Prat, and various other experts all gathered today at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Their mission was to elect the winners of the two first-ever Edgard Hamon awards: the Edgard Hamon Prize for Costume Jewellery, which goes to a designer under 30 years old who has worked in fashion jewelry in France, and the 3,000-euro Edgard Hamon Future Hope Prize for Costume Jewellery, which goes to a student in his or her last year at a European school of fashion.

The contestants were challenged to design pieces based on the work of a chosen architect, and tonight, Style.com can exclusively reveal the winners. Century Xie took the 15,000-euro Edgard Hamon Prize for Costume Jewellery, and Yao Yu won the Edgard Hamon Future Hope Prize for Costume Jewellery.

“We had a great time, they were incredibly creative,” said Lacroix of the selection process. “It was really beautiful. Many of them referenced Gaudí or Prouvé, for example. And many of them were influenced by Elie [Top].”

Top, the self-taught talent behind Lanvin’s fabulous baubles, replied that he was flattered to hear it. “Everyone’s always talking about bags and shoes, but costume jewelry really deserves attention. It’s so closely linked with fashion’s silhouettes, color, and what you want now—that’s the magic of it. There’s so much more to it than silver and gold.”

Xie’s line will be produced and displayed at Le Bon Marché; Edgard Hamon will produce three of Yu’s prototypes and she will receive an internship. The winners’ collections will be presented at an official ceremony at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs on July 4.

Photo: Courtesy Photo 

Will You Keep It Surreal This Season?

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With Impossible Conversations, the Schiaparelli/Prada Costume Institute exhibit fast approaching, perhaps it’s no surprise that surrealism has again found its way into fashion’s collective (un)conscious. Elsa Schiaparelli famously collaborated with the likes of Salvador Dalí, and Miuccia Prada has done more for the cause of surreal style than anyone since. And there were more than a few designs on the Fall runways that echoed the theme.

At Lanvin, Alber Elbaz and Elie Top nodded at artists like Man Ray and Joan Miró with playful costume jewelry such as crystal eye brooches and a chain belt with plastic lips. Diane von Furstenberg referenced the movement, too, with interlocking hands on a body-hugging dress. Some designs, like Mary Katrantzou‘s digitally printed labyrinth gown, made the surreal wearable, and some, like Stephen Jones’ spiny headpieces for Giles (left), seemed destined to stay on the runway—or perhaps, one day, the museum gallery.

CLICK FOR A SLIDESHOW, and let us know if you’ll be keeping it surreal this season.

Photo: Yannis Vlamos / GoRunway.com

Lanvin, Made In—And For—The Shade

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Lanvin jewelry fans can add something new (and slightly more affordable) to their wish lists: Alber Elbaz has created a new sunglasses collection with De Rigo that is scheduled to hit the counter—in Paris at least—in time for New Year’s Eve. The first wave of 18 styles (13 for women, 4 for men, and one for all) take their cues from, on one side, the Art Deco-inspired jewelry designed for Lanvin by Elie Top and, on the other, industrial elements, with hammered silver or horn frames set with rivets. Prices start at around €300.

Photo: Courtesy of Lanvin

Out Of Africa (And Into The Marais)

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Yaz Kurhan, better known as her nom de jewelry Yazbukey, is not one to hide her light under a bushel. For her “Fabulous African Saga” accessories and new home decor, Kurhan took over Tigersushi in Paris’ Marais neighborhood for a collection launch party with her likeminded friends, including stylists Catherine Baba and Elisa Nalin (above left, with Kurhan), Purple‘s Caroline Gaimari, Lanvin’s Elie Top, Sarah Lerfel from Colette, and Michelle Harper, in town from New York for Couture week. Fancy friends, however, doesn’t make for a stuffy hostess: Kurhan comfortably installed herself on a throne made of plastic grocery-store crates (made for the occasion by Diplomates, the Paris art collective) and greeted her guests.

Kurhan chose Africa as the theme for her Fall collection, based on childhood memories growing up in Saudi Arabia. “My dad was part of the Turkish embassy there and he organized the Islamic conference for many years,” she said. “I remember playing with the children of all the African dignitaries at the conference, and although I’ve never visited Africa, I got a feeling for its diversity from that experience.” Kurhan, who divides her time between Paris and New York (where she dreams up accessories for Zac Posen’s Z Spoke line), continues to work in Plexiglas, creating flattened versions of everyday Africana, including flora, fauna, and everything in between. Case in point: There are tiger’s paw necklaces with scratch-mark traces, snake sunglasses, and banana hair pins—as well as a ghetto blaster bag. And for the first time, plastic wall decals join the wearable offerings, including a portrait of Naomi Campbell and a lion’s head.

Photo: Courtesy of Yazbukey