style brick road: Home Jewels

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Home Jewels

It's funny how when I was back home, I dreamt about having a Chanel store just so I can go and see the windows, but now that I have it not that far from me - I start snooping around the fresh work from back home.

I have had quite an up-down relationships with young, Facebook-based jewellery Croatian designers - at the beginning of this blog, I was extremely enthusiastic about interacting with them - interviews (ran weekly :O), giveaways, features etc. At some point, I started being more picky with my interviewees - I wanted to give more depth to the whole point, but as work and real interviews came along - it all kinda went away. Since then, I have been a loud and proud supporter and wearer of examples like Trska, Micica and Marina Marinski, but haven't really pushed myself out of those limits to get to know the new people. I have been, however, virtually collecting some interesting pieces for the last couple of months and it's kinda time to present my personal selection of the new (to me - not necessarily young market-wise) brands that scratched the surface of my interest. So let's go...

First one in the bunch is also my latest revelation - Nott. jewelz. The idea of conjoining roping and hardware into a cohesive piece of jewellery that doesn't lack in flow feels quite stunning in its final look. Quite a minimalistic approach to campaigns and promotion is nothing bad, but as the product has enormous potential, I would love to see some more adventurous styling and photography - just to have an idea how the pieces work in that surrounding. Although Nott. jewelz aren't a household names in the magazines, judging by the solid amount of press clippings they gained (judging only by the scrolling on their Facebook page), I'm quite sure and very hopeful that Silvija Talan who is the talent behind the brand, will get her recognition and not become just another 'social media brand'.

With a bit more refined and glamorous approach to jewellery was the way to go for Iva Viljevac. Her eponymous brand Iva Nakit has already gained a backdrop of followers, and I have heard about her (most probably through her sister's Diana high-glam designs), but what struck me the most was her latest campaign that hopefully showed the further path of the brand - elegant and feminine yet not over-the-top and tooth-ache sweet, Iva's latest campaign put together interesting and talented people (Ana Marija Cajner of Talia Models as the face and John Pavlish as the man behind the camera) to create a visual rest for your eyes. Sometimes everything you need is a soothing set of images, and this is exactly it - and besides design, visual branding is what makes a brand which truly puts this one in quite a good spot.

Vague in branding (as it's always the case with quality Croatian tourist products) but definitely strong in concept and ideas is Hvart. Defined as mixture of art, fashion and tourism, Hvart necklaces are souvenirs that have a bold graphic look and are just waiting to be pushed as a concept - pushed towards more promotion, higher production and a broad audience. Creating a play on a laid-out architectural net of some of the most recognisable buildings in Hvar (like the Arsenal and the Cathedral, both on the main square), Maria Marta Radman finished a full-blooded product that is ready to be seen outside a store in Hvar and the one in Split, with a proper social-media campaign.

And once again, we go back from marketing discreetness (if that ever existed) to a proper example of powerful branding... Although Mateja Penava is a retired supermodel (she's still young!) who walked on worldwide catwalks (exclusive for Prada, if you please!), graced the biggest beauty campaigns and magazine covers and was one of the Croatian early modelling birds on the other side of the world, she has recently become more recognisable for her work as the face of cool indie brands rather than YSL and Givenchy make up products. Her recent comeback was for the purpose of presenting the latest work of Emma & Nala Jewelry, another young brand that has been mostly Facebook-known but bursted quite intensely after this recent move. Although their products aren't creatively breaking the barriers, I once again applaud them for the strong choices they made after the design. The campaign was shot by the talented Franjo Matković, and co-modelled by Sven Novosel (who is conveniently one of my friend's boyfriends), so I am definitely bias - but I absolutely can't wait to see what's next for Sonja Žigić and her brand, and hope that the praise she got from Vogue and Glamour will only push her out of the boundaries, not keep her in this pretty cool, but at moments quite safe zone.

For some brands though, big production just isn't the way to go... SheShe Lee, a brand that is mostly famous to the Croatian fashion blogger audience, is the perfect example of that - brilliant and bold, but when dissected not exactly high-complex, colour-blocking perfectly corresponds to Vesna Kutnjak's latest collection. You can almost see the similar (if not the same) materials used in SheShe Lee's and Emma&Nala's pieces, but the approach is so different you can't really put a finger on it. This kind of graphic on-point direction and a distinct way of visualising products outside the limits of a fashion shoot is a way of creating campaigns that is quite compelling, and is definitely a good base for the next step. Ino Zeljak's immaculate photography just plays  off the strong edges of the pieces themselves and it just can't exude more fun and joy. And isn't that the point of jewellery?

For the last piece of this quite personal and not-very-thorough analysis of the current bijoux scene back home, I decided to keep probably the most interesting example, one that has a true creative potential, a good-quality retail base and a commercial link that is yet to be discovered. Tanja Topolovec already has her pieces in Vešmašina, one of the most interesting concept stores in Zagreb and has been worn both inside the pages of magazines (even I styled one of her headbands in an ELLE shoot) and on the more/less famous people, but the latest campaign is what pushed me into considering this brand a jewellery brand, instead of leather accessories. Yes, the pieces are made of leather, but this is probably the first time that I feel a true decorative yet functionable approach to fashion. Putting a crisp white shirt under the black harness or an oversized knit under the brown one-shouldered piece - you get a completely new unit, a new, well-gelled piece of clothes. It all clicked just a bit better thanks to the chic miss Audrey Hepburn, khm, Josipa Janković under the lense of Karmen Poznić. It all works, and makes a unit that makes me jealous that I'm not back home.