Anissa Kermiche only launched her brand this year, but she's already one of London's hottest designers, thanks to playful pieces such as ‘le derriere’ pendant, which includes a woman's nude behind; a middle finger ring for those who instead preferred not to curse aloud, and a breast-shaped necklace. While these pieces aren't for everyone, Kermiche has developed a cult following amongst more daring shoppers. Here, the designer explains how she got her start and more:
How did you launch your line?
A creative career was never an option for me, as far as my family were concerned, so I studied to become an engineer. I guess feeling extremely unfulfilled at work led me to jewelry design. After three years in the industry, the lack of creativity in big corporations was really putting me off. I spent my childhood beading and making friendship bracelets, so as cliché as it sounds, it was the dream of a lifetime to move over to jewelry design.
Is there a void in the marketplace you’re trying to fill?
I wanted to create jewelry that was unseen before, I felt like there was a demand for cool, quirky and edgy pieces but still in precious materials. Piercings are back on trend but not everyone dares having one; I think that is why my ear cuffs sell so well around women in their sixties, it gives that edgy look without having to get a piercing. Ultimately I designed the Body Language collection to have a good laugh. I found the jewelry world a bit too serious and wanted to draw a smile on the wearers and the people around. It is also a tribute to my love for fine arts and sculpture. To me jewelry is wearable art, so I took it literally, designing mini wearable sculptures set with precious gems (Rubies Boobies, Precieux Pubis, etc.)
What is the inspiration behind this collection?
My collection is a big soup whose ingredients are my past, dreams, personal revenges on life. I wanted a super feminine line. Circular shapes keep coming back, the round being the symbol of femininity. It all revolves around womanhood, either in the roundness of the pearl or the curves of the body language line. My years as an engineer were highly frustrating and triggered in me a hunger for extravagance, glamour and fun. The opposite of what hard science teaches you. All I wanted for my pieces was to be noticed and empower the wearers. I am keen for each piece to exude femininity with a hint of rebellion too. For example, my pearls take a modern approach to a classic must-have for any jewelry lover. You’re able to wear my pearls as much to a dive bar as to a debutante ball.
Do your travels inspire this collection?
Not only my travels, but everything around me that I take in. I like to turn shapes from daily life into jewelry. Sometimes a fence in the street can strike me and I will need to stop and photograph it. It can also be the leg of a chair or a lamp. I am a design fanatic and I need to feed my senses constantly. That's why I follow design fairs around London and Paris to see how design evolves and sense the trends. This is highly inspiring to me, as much as fine art exhibitions. But I must say I pay more attention now when I travel.
What are the materials of the collection?
From sterling silver for the Body Language collection to 18K gold. I use diamonds, rubies for the nipples of the female breast pendant called Rubies Boobies, Onyx on some rings and the pubis of my Precieux Pubis pendant. I also work with mother of pearl, aiming to give a more contemporary look.
Who is this line for?
I have to say, designing this very first collection was with a somewhat selfish approach. I had a precise image in mind of what I wanted to wear but I couldn't really find pieces anywhere, so I started designing my own. And luckily it spoke to some other women. The women I design for have that one thing in common: chic with a twist. They pay attention to detail, are curious, tolerant, but most importantly, don’t take themselves too seriously. My pieces are a tribute to all the strong women I see around me, to self acceptance, diversity, open mindedness. Any profile of client makes me happy! Whether it is the classic mother who goes for a mother of pearl signet ring or a fashionista who wants to rock an outfit with statement earrings, as long as my pieces are worn and loved, that’s enough for me.
What is your favorite gift to give? For jewelry, simply anything that will draw the biggest smile on the receiver’s face. When it’s not jewelry, I love gifting experiences more than material things - a trip, a photo, meaningful book. It is all about the detail that shows you made time to think about it
What is your favorite stone?
The Pearl. It is by far one of the most feminine and surprising gemstone materials available to jewelry makers. When I was a young girl, my mother used to have a box full of broken pearl necklaces where I could find all varieties of loose pearls and play with them. I used to bead pearls and wear them in the most unconventional way. I would wrap a string around my ankle or create armlets. The design opportunities for pearls are limitless and they go well with any style, can be worn from morning to evening. To me a pearl is the symbol of timeless elegance.
What is your favorite era of jewelry?
The one that carries a lot of pearls! Art Deco is definitely my favorite era. I could just go back in time and live during the roaring 20s. That’s where I took inspiration for my chokers and multi pearled rings - The Great Gatsby is such a delight to watch! I just see myself wrapped in feathers from head to toes, wearing pearl chokers and wandering around jazz clubs!
What is your most popular piece sold? The Paniers Dores earrings. When you think about the story behind it is quite funny because they were inspired by fortune cookies. I remember seeing an ocean of them lying broken on a table last year after a Chinese new year dinner and all I wanted was to cover them in gold and make earrings out of them. Here we are a year later, they are my best seller online and with many retailers I work with already.
What is the price range for the collection?
I wanted to make sure I offered a range of fair prices from 190£ for the mini Paniers Dores. The average is around 500 to 2000£.
Where is it sold?
You can find my pieces on my website anissakermiche.com, and on Net-a-Porter in the US, MatchesFashion, Intermix, Goop, Quiet Storms in Brooklyn and various retailers in the UK and worldwide also.
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