True luxury is that which cannot be seen. So let Natalia Brilli, an avant-garde accessories designer, do a vanishing act on your heirloom jewels.
Ascribing to the mantra, "True luxury is that which cannot be seen," avant-garde accessories designer Nathalie Brilli's performs a vanishing act on her favorite things by covering them in leather.
What is your definition of luxury?
Invisible quality and rigorous discretion. It is something that was hand-made and produced with love, savoir-faire and history.
If luxury were an object?
An object that speaks to you, especially if it comes from someone special.
If luxury were a person?
If luxury were a place?
A five-star hotel.
If luxury were a moment?
To wander through the world's greatest museums in the middle of the night by myself.
Some of the best things on Earth look better wrapped. Think of the mummified monuments of Christo and Jean Claude or the pyramid of glistening packages under the Christmas tree. Perpetuating the artisan craft of leather sheathing (a popular Art Deco technique used for ensconcing objects, mostly furniture, in animal skins), accessories designer Natalia Brilli covers to better see. Performing her vanishing act on everything from pearls, fossils, crystals, cameos, seashells, branches and vintage medallions, Brilli's breathes new life into found objects by casing them in an ethereal second skin. "I started with pearls. The idea was to modernize the classic codes of elegance by covering the strands in leather. Everything disappears, like a monochrome phantom." By obscuring the familiar under a pliable, opaque pelt, unexpected details and volumes burst into relief.
Born in Belgium, Brilli worked as a scenographer for film and theater before studying fashion in Paris. After launching her first collection in 2004, her delicate leather accoutrements, with their weightless elegance, cool sobriety and rich references — from Baroque tableaux and Voodoo charms to the mysteries of marine life — have since seduced leading retailers from Maria Luisa in Paris to Barney's in New York. Here we give you a sneak preview of her Fall/Winter collection, a veritable cabinet of curiosities containing cloaked watches, skull sacs and her iconic pearl sautoirs. And if you'd like to give your heirloom jewels a modern monochrome veneer, Brilli is equipped—and eager—to custom-cocoon your grandma's cameos.
"Those with lots of detail take longer to cover. It's more a question of patience then technique."
"There is always a recurring theme of tromp l'oeil in each collection. By tricking the eye you tempt it into seeing in a fresh and unexpected way."
"I started working with pearls and cameos. The idea was to respect their shape and form yet soften their opulence and bourgeois classicism, all in an artisanal way."
"Since my background is in set design I like to create universes out of the objects. While each one can stand on its own, together they tell a story."
"I can also do custom covering. Someone who wants to cover one of their grandma's jewels in leather is warmly welcomed. Ultimate luxury is truly that which you don't see."
"I adore collecting insects. I love anything with a cabinet of curiosity strangeness and sad beauty."
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Retail Outlets Include:
Maria Luisa, Paris (www.marialuisaboutique.com)
Hoses, Paris (http://www.hoses-limited.com/EN/handbags-natalia-brilli.html#)
Barney's, New York (www.barneys.com)
Seven, New York (http://sevennewyork.com/designerpages/nabr/natalia.html)
Browns Focus, London (http://www.brownsfashion.com/fashion227.html)
Shine, Hong Kong
Beams, Tokyo http://www.beams.co.jp/