I'm having a rest from my immersion in the glamorous world of Balenciaga (until I go to the V & A exhibition in London that is) and am recovering by having a summertime celebration of the inspirational and colourful world of Konplott.
It's wonderful looking at a designer who in many ways reflects my customer base of educated, creative, independent and well-travelled women.
Konplott was founded by Miranda Konstantinidou. She is Greek born, and trained in fashion design and illustration in Germany and Italy.
In 1986 whilst still a student she created Konplott, a company based in Luxembourg and Cebu in the Philippines, which has a strong ethos of solidarity amongst its workers, 99% of whom are female!
Nothing created by Konplott is outsourced and Miranda's creative output and focus is phenomenal. She is constantly designing new collections which are hand made in very limited quantities and in 2012 she also launched a fashion line, which unfortunately is not yet available in the UK.
Model wearing pearls from Konplott's 'Moulin Rouge' Collection
Miranda is the first non French person to be awarded the jewellery prize by the French Fashion Press.
Her designs were involved in the 'floating catwalk', a groundbreaking fashion parade on the River Seine organised and created by Jessica Minh Anh. Miranda has also designed costumes for stage productions and operas and many red carpet and high profile events have been graced by celebrities wearing pieces by Konplott. An incredible output by any standards and throw a marriage and child into the mix and you realise that this is an impressive woman with a huge amount of energy as well as creative ability.
Miranda Konstantinidou and Jessica Minh Anh
I order from the new collections twice a year, six months in advance. I will buy a selection of completely over the top, dramatic large pieces as well as smaller, more accessible work that is perhaps easier to wear on a daily basis.
Model wearing earrings from Konplott's Ethnic Mosaic collection.
Konplott is the first company I have come across that guarantees their work, not that I've ever needed to call in that guarantee, but it shows the calibre of her jewellery and the justified confidence that she has in it.
Looking through the press clippings for Miranda I see a range of all types of women wearing her work, from Shirley Manson and Lady Gaga to Jennifer Beales and Chandra Wilson.
Something for every facet of every woman! You can't get more fabulous than that!
Lady Gaga wearing glasses designed by Miranda Konstantinidou
Necklaces from Konplott's Planet River Collection
Recently a very chic Frenchwoman wandered into my shop and I couldn't help but comment on her fabulous, oversized clip-ons: they were unlike anything I'd seen before. Later on she returned with a jewellery pouch and showed me her holiday capsule earring collection: every pair was the work of Parisian jeweller Jean-Louis Blin. She put me in touch with the designer and, after streamlining a selection of pieces (this was really hard: I loved everything I saw) I'm now able to count myself among the lucky few who stock his wonderful work.
Although superior craftmanship and artistry can be seen in each pair of his earrings, Blin's jewellery is anything but uniform - every design looks markedly different from the last. While other designers often find a style that sells and stay with it, Blin takes risks with every piece of jewellery: so much so that costumiers at Moulin Rouge recognised his exceptional talent for innovation and commissioned him to create bejewelled accessories for their dancers.
Blin and wife Claudine run a shop in Paris dedicated exclusively to his designs. Besides this, they supply only a small number of external stockists, so these designs are well worth coveting when you find them!
All the jewellery is handmade by the Blins plus a three-person team of talented artisans. This commitment to hands-on craft is evident in the quality and intricacy of each piece.
Blin infuses his Art Nouveau-inspired designs with a bold, modern aesthetic and decorates them with splashes of colour. His palette is muted: bright colours are offset by cooler, gentler shades, making these oversized earrings tasteful and wearable. The comfortable clip-on fittings can be worn on pierced and unpierced ears: they're well made and don't pinch.
Year after year, our range of Marcasite silver proves to be one shop's most adored collections - it seems the glittering jewellery's instantly recognisable, turn-of-the-century look sparks nostalgia in people of all ages, whatever their personal style. We've just added another 30 pieces to our extensive online range, as we predict it'll be very popular come Christmas.
The stones in Marcasite jewellery are actually pieces of Pyrite, a gem that became known as 'Fool's Gold' in the 19th century after gold miners attempted to pass one material off as the other. It was its affordability, however, that ensured the stone's enduring appeal: young Victorian girls could afford to copy the Queen's style by accessorising with a marcasite brooch, while economising 1930s women saw it as a way to wear sparkling, encrusted jewellery without having to face the diamond price tag.
During the 1920s, the gem enjoyed another spell of popularity. It was so ubiquitous that it cropped up on all manner of occasion-wear: belts, headbands, dresses, shoe buckles.
A very Art Deco Luke Stockley design:
Have a look at some nostalgic images in my Inspiration Gallery.
Enjoy browsing the site!