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harlech and jones talk harlot and bones

Poison rings, perfume bottles and heirloom lockets, Amanda Harlech and Dominic Jones' jewellery collaboration Harlot and Bones tells a magically gothic fairytale...

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Muse and style icon Lady Amanda Harlech and hot, young jewellery designer Dominic Jones have created a whole new world around their debut collaboration collection. Walking into their Liberty launch was like walking through the wardrobe in the spare room and into Narnia. Branches, chirping birds and necklaces, rings and earrings displayed among moss and tiny, delicate skeletons in bell jars, transformed one of the boardrooms into a secret world away from the bright lights of the department store - a perfect setting for their Edwardian mourning inspired gems. Each piece opens up to reveal hidden compartments for photographs of loved ones or cyanide pills... Tallulah Harlech, Amanda's daughter models the collection, shot by Nick Knight as a beautiful, deathly Siren. It's bitter sweet and oh so romantic, we catch up with Harlech and Jones in their gothic wonderland to talk Harlot and Bones.

How did you two meet?
Amanda Harlech: I think Sarah Mower is the answer to that.
Dominic Jones: Yes, at the awards for the NEWGEN announcement. I think it was for the third time I'd won. Amanda was don a speech and people had models wearing their work and I had the big crocodile gauntlets from my second collection and Amanda came up and was questioning me about them.
Amanda: And then Dominic was showing in Paris so we'd see each other then but in the meantime we became friends. 

How did you decide to work together?
Dominic: I think it was actually suggested by a friend of ours. I was talking about the idea that I wanted to do a collaboration and we'd been with a mutual friend in Paris, just talking and laughing and chit-chatting and he was just like "why don't you two do it together?" We both actually thought that was a really good idea.
Amanda: I don't think anybody really considered that it would actually be so connective and electrifying, but it is.

Was it easy to come up with a concept that you both agreed on?
Amanda: I don't even remember having to try.
Dominic: I came to visit her in a million miles away in the countryside where she lives and brought a box of bits and pieces of things that I liked.
Amanda: It was a way of getting to know each other. It was Dominic's idea, like let's just lay out the things that we really love and kind of leapfrog the beginning to get to know someone and go right to the heart of things and ask "what is it that you really, really love?" You brought a box of skeletons...

Are these all your skeletons in here?
Dominic: [points at tiny skeleton] This is actually one that Amanda swapped me.
Amanda: Because he found a parallel world with me. I'm obsessed with skeletons - not in a ghoulish way but because of their beauty. There's an 'it-ness' to them. It's like the truth. They're something eternal in all of us and everything that surrounds us and those are the kind of things I find really thrilling.
Dominic: For me, I love them in a structural sense, in an architectural way - the shapes and the forms. 
Amanda: [points at same skeleton] I mean, look at that tail, it's so beautiful.

Where did the idea of Edwardian mourning come from?
Dominic: We both wanted it to have a sense of history, like heirlooms that have been passed down, not just this disposable - not that jewellery is disposable - but I think modern jewellery, even in my own, has lost this sense of history.
Amanda: It's a trend. It's fashion. You wear it and then you're on to the next thing. We wanted ours to be something that you wore forever, that evolved with your story - you'd collect things, put things in it and that's then you pass it on to somebody.

Does everything open up?
Dominic: Yes, apart from the little earrings. We've got the perfume bottle, the lockets, the poison rings, the locket cuff.

Do you know any stories of poison rings?
Dominic: No, other than in the second world war they'd have the cyanide pills so if they ever got caught they'd just pop that! So maybe if you've had a hard day interviewing someone, you can just like -
Amanda: Open it and tip it into their champagne...
Dominic: Yeah theirs, not yours!

Do you have any heirlooms that have been left to you or that you'll leave to anyone?
Amanda: When I get my hands on some of these pieces, they will definitely be something that I hand down to Tallulah and Jasset.

What's the story behind the lookbook cover?
Amanda: That's a Nick Knight image. We had an idea - it's called 'girl in a ditch' - and actually that's Tallulah shot lying down but with Nick's genius, she has this feeling of bing a northern spirit who lures men to their death. There's a northern landscape there and you can almost feel the ice and the wind and the snow whipping through her hair.
Dominic: When we were first talking to Nick about our ideas for it, the tale we wanted to tell - which is kind of the myth of the collection - was of this girl who's running away from everything and grabbed her jewellery box which was full of her most precious and easy things to take and ran away and tripped and fell and lost them in a ditch!

That's a good story!
Amanda: It's amazing of Nick to have done that, really beautiful.

Is Tallulah your muse?
Dominic: She makes sense for it. It was actually Nick's idea to shoot her.

Have you got any ideas for future collections?
Amanda: Yeah, but we're not saying!