Eddie Borgo has that rock n' roll quality - aesthetically and personally. He is charming, fun and very, very talented. Exploring the powers of modern art, silhouettes and adornment, we meet the jewellery designer who is making big and sharp shapes on the fashion dance floor.
How did you first get into jewellery design?
In college, I became focused on the history of adornment, and in 2002 I began to create one-of-a-kind pieces for stylists. I started apprenticing with different jewellers in NYC and travelling to Rhode Island (where we do most of our production) and, in the summer of 2008, I was asked to create the jewellery for Phillip Lim’s spring/summer 09 show. I was able to launch my namesake collection with the funds I received from the project and was picked up by Barney’s, Colette, Liberty, and Joyce in my first season.
What is it about jewellery that you most like?
I love the fact that within jewellery (specific to our classification), there are no limits in terms of construction or materials. We now work with many different techniques, materials and engineering systems (both old and modern/new) that allow my team and I to stay forward-thinking in our approach to design. I have worked with rubber, stained glass, pave crystal, ebony wood, rock crystal, onyx, petrified wood, sterling silver, semi- precious stones, glass, and brass. I love the idea of combining materials that are not typically used in combination. Costume jewellery allows you this freedom.
What is your favourite piece that you have ever designed?
I think our cone bracelet – it has really resonated with so many people and is becoming a signature piece for us.
What inspires you most?
I am most inspired by modern art. My favorite artists include Tony Smith, Sol Lewitt, Robert Morris, Dan Flavin, Donald Judd, and Richard Serra. I appreciate art as structure. For my autumn/winter 14 women’s collection, I studied the work of the american interior decorator Bill Willis in the 60s in Morocco. Bill worked closely with such clients as Yves Saint Laurent and Talithia Getty, and was truly a pioneer in his interpretation of the shapes, textures, and patterns signature to Morocco at the time.
Is it difficult to translate inspirations from daily life into jewellery?
Yes, and I try to identify symbols that we relate to the different realms of modern global culture; how and why a padlock around someone's neck can immediately establish their identity. I also play with the ideas we have of subculture, and how those subcultures trickle up into the luxury market.
What materials did you work with most with this collection?
For my autumn/winter 14 women’s collection, I was attempting to capture exact colours that are specific to Morocco in the 60s. The rich blue hue we formulated was inspired by the Moroccan city of Chefchaouen and the painted walls of the Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech, owned by Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé. Music, a constant source of inspiration for me, is also subtly referenced in the collection in a capsule of handcrafted, teardrop-shaped bells and a set of rings crafted into percussion instruments called castanets.
Where do you source your metals?
We work with a variety of vendors across the United States. Our primary vendors are concentrated in New York City and Rhode Island, but we have recently begun utilizing different production facilities in upstate New York, Texas and Los Angeles as well.
What programs do you design your jewellery on?
I always start with simple hand-sketches that then are translated into 3-dimensional digital files by my design team through a program called Rhinoceros 5 – we have used the programs to accomplish different ends in the past – sometimes, we simply use the 3D’s to analyze the functionality and/or sizing of a piece before we begin to carve the mold. More recently, we have used the different programs to physically grow the mold, which is all done by machine.
What is unique about this collection's use of stones and colours?
This collection focuses on colour, bright colour, which we have not included in the collection for some time. I was most intrigued by the emotional qualities associated with the bright marigold (sun/life) and majorelle blue (sky/peace) in Morocco and decided to use more saturated hand-cut sandstone to off-set the boldness of these colors. Every colour in both enamel and stone that was used in this collection was taken directly from Morocco’s rich history and the work of Bill Willis.
What is the future of fashion and jewellery?
I don’t really know – I think that jewelry is having a really special moment again due to advancement in technology – it will be interesting to see where it goes.
What’s the Eddie Borgo jewellery manifesto and life philosophy?
Jewelry: collect things that you love and you are drawn towards and are special to you in some way.
Life: find balance, or get as close as you can.
And finally, what’s the soundtrack to the collection right now?!
The Rolling Stones, 100%.