Solange Azagury-Partridge: Wild Bird
Like her over-the-top jewelry, the designer’s fantastically feathered nest is designed to dazzle.
Solange Azagury-Partridge is as vibrant and unconventional as the bracelets, necklaces, and rings she designs. The first piece she ever created was her own gold–and–uncut diamond engagement ring, in 1987. “I’d never worn jewelry, and I didn’t think a sparkly solitaire was quite me,” says the London-based jewelry designer, who is entirely self-taught. Over time, she turned her passion into a thriving business. She served as the creative director of Boucheron for more than three years in the early aughts and is now known as the queen of colored stones. Her Random necklace, for instance, is an exquisite grid of princess-cut diamonds and square-cut amethysts, emeralds, rubies, sapphires, and black spinels; the Ark of the Covenant cross is a riot of juicy blobs that, upon inspection, turn out to be garnets, sapphires, and diamonds. “I can’t do pristine,” she says. “I don’t even like a perfect stone. I prefer an inclusion or a cloudy bit; it feels more energetic.” Her sui generis collections are as likely to evolve from words like “Platonic” or “kinetic” as from drawings, but they are invariably strong and geometric. “Everyone goes for the path of least resistance,” she says. “Not me.”
The Partridge Family
Azagury-Partridge met her husband, Murray Partridge—an ad director and television writer—at a college dance at the Polytechnic Central London, where she studied French and Spanish. Their elegant West London apartment is filled with Moroccan rugs and metal chain–fringed furniture that Azagury- Partridge designed. “I’m not the kind of person to turn anything into a white box,” she says of her home. Instead, she painted the interior a dusty lilac and has added personal layers through the years: vividly tiled bathrooms; a hand-sewn leather floor by her friend the accessory designer Bill Amberg; and piles of her favorite Prada wedges (“I’m five foot four—I need the height”). The couple’s 23-year-old son, Otis, recently spent six months studying gemology in Mumbai, India. “At the moment, Otis does two days a week with me, but I can imagine working together more,” Azagury-Partridge confides. “I never used to think about the future, but a family business would be such a lovely outcome!”
Neighbors play an important role in Azagury-Partridge’s life. In London, these include the furniture designer Tom Dixon. In the picture-perfect Somerset village of Bruton, where she has her country house, Céline creative director Phoebe Philo lives around the corner. And the fashion designer Roland Mouret is right next door to her office in Mayfair. The palatial rooms of Azagury-Partridge’s London flagship are lined in ruby and emerald velvet and bright yellow silk. Bespoke neon suns, clouds, and diamonds fill the fireplaces, and each step of the staircase is covered in a different kind of patterned carpet. At the top hangs a chandelier from the Unwearable Jewels series that she created for the New York gallery Sebastian + Barquet, in 2008; the fixture contains 200 carats of diamonds and nine pounds of white gold. “You don’t come here for a normal experience,” she says. In fact, Azagury-Partridge, who already has a store in New York, is hoping to conquer Paris next with her unique brand of joie de vivre—this summer she’s opening a boutique at the Hôtel Costes, which was her favorite hangout during her Boucheron days. But perhaps what she is most excited about is her first collection for men, which launched in June. “My criterion was simple,” she explains. “I asked myself, Would I fancy a guy wearing that?”