Imogen Belfield gets her rocks off

Monday 17 September 2012

People

PHOTOGRAPH BY MARCUS DAWES
REPORT BY AINE CARLIN

London Fashion Week proudly presents a back-of-the-Mercedes interview with jewellery designer Imogen Belfield.

AC: Congratulations on being included in the recently launched Rock Vault Dozen. What does this mean for you and your brand?

IB:  It’s a fantastic accolade. Not only to get sponsorship from the BFC but from the International Palladium Board also. Creating a ring out of palladium was such a challenge because it holds so many different properties to the materials I normally work with. It’s been an incredible experience.

AC: Your jewellery is often described as experimental, taking influence from architecture, nature and history. Tell us more about the inspiration behind your latest collection.

IB: It’s an evolution of the ‘Gladiator’ collection, using the same repetition of style but in a more organic sense of the concept. My work is not really seasonal, each collection is a progression. I’m also trying to establish myself and my brand so that people recognise me for that style.

AC: Is there a particular piece that is special to you?

IB: The palladium ring inspired a lot of the collection. I love to create big, statement, raw pieces but with this I had to really tone down the scale, as I was working with a precious metal that was very new to me. For me it was about creating new and challenging ways you can wear a ring. The other versions are miniature, more delicate versions of the bigger pieces you see in the Gladiator collection.

AC: Do you have a favourite material that you like to work with?

IB: I love working in bronze because it’s a traditional sculpting material and my roots are in fine art. Another favourite is porcelain – I want to create a line that is commercially viable, which at the moment it can’t be. All the pieces are one offs.

AC: Could you imagine doing anything else?

IB: I really couldn’t. I originally wanted to be an artist in the traditional sense and did my art foundation at Falmouth. Being in Cornwall opened my eyes to lots of different things and I was very inspired down there. Maybe it rubbed off on my jewellery.

AC: What other designers do you admire?

IB: I think Stephen Webster is awesome and Lara Bohinc too. The way she’s managed to diversify her brand into accessories, leather and bags and shoes is just incredible. And she’s just launched an entire collection in palladium, which looks amazing! I also love fashion designers like McQueen and Vivienne Westwood because they play with sculpture.

AC: Can you reveal anything about your next collection?

IB: Working in palladium has really opened my eyes to precious metals. I’d really like to develop that and would love to create a small collection in palladium, and maybe introduce precious stones and porcelain because I think that would lend itself really beautifully.

AC: Your jewellery has adorned everyone from Jessie J to Uma Thurman – is there a typical Imogen Belfield woman?

IB: Florence Welch is absolutely incredible. I loved seeing Jessie wear my ring because it just epitomises her character. And Uma is so beautiful and elegant. When she wore one of the big chunky rings it worked so well – having the antithesis was quite lovely. I would say any woman that likes to be daring, deviate from convention and is not afraid to express themselves in their style is an Imogen Belfield woman.

AC: What’s the cheekiest thing you’ve done in the back of a car?

IB: (much giggling) Oh God, we used to do really naughty things when I was at school. All I can say is we used to sit in the back seat of the car and be highly distracting to the people behind.

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