Twenty years ago, Elie Top was hired as a jewelry intern at Yves Saint Laurent, where he worked under the close watch of his future muse, the legendary accessories designer Lou Lou de la Falaise. There, he also met the house’s ready-to-wear designer Alber Elbaz, whom he followed to Lanvin when Elbaz was appointed its creative director a few years later.
“I remember Lou Lou told me, ‘you better go with Alber,’ he’s the future,” Top recalls, “So I met Alber, and he took me. He didn’t have anyone working on the jewels. I started learning at the atelier. He was the first to encourage me and push me.” Top spent the next fifteen years as Lanvin’s accessories designer, where he helped define the brand’s aesthetic, crafting bold, brightly colored, heavy statement pieces that complimented Elbaz’s multi-layered voluminous frocks and bright metallic materials.
In 2015, Top started his own namesake line, and continued to build on the bold statement pieces he crafts at Lanvin. Today, the designer releases a six-piece collection in collaboration with cult retailer, Dover Street Market, a “more serious” extension of his signature metal pieces.
“In my first collection I formed the fundamentals of what I want to do, so this is a continuation of that first collection, it’s like its precious baby,” he explains of his signature large metal pendants he inlaid with precious stones and diamonds, an aesthetic choice inspired by eighteenth-century France and the Italian renaissance.
Top celebrated the collection’s release last night with a dinner at the new Village hotspot, Pietro Nolita, where guests such as Inez & Vinoodh, Sofia Sanchez Barrenchea, and Olivier Zahm toasted the ebullient Frenchman in an intimate soiree. “She’s a free spirit, joyous, independent, and doesn’t care about the value of the piece, but about the design,” describes Top of the woman who wears his jewels. “Creatively, I want to do something more personal with my own collection. And while it’s far from Lou Lou, it’s also very close to her.”
Watch 24 hours with Thakoon, before his New York Fashion Week runway show: