Exclusive: Gala Curios Lookbook & Interview
We meet the designer, Jasmine Noir.
Gala Curios designer Jasmine Noir creates the type of jewellery that would compel passers-by to ask for the story behind it — clasped hands on a bracelet, resin cubes clutched by brass claw rings. And her latest pieces and accompanying lookbook are just as compelling. We spoke with Jasmine about what led her to jewellery making and the concepts behind the designs.
Melissa Kenny: What made you want to foray into jewellery design? Could you maybe dot point your evolution into the biz for us?
Jasmine Noir: Well, it was a little series of fortunate mishaps I guess:
- I accidentally took a jewellery major as part of my design degree at COFA. (I always thought I was going to be a textile designer, but was required to pick a second discipline.)
- Actually ended up loving the making process once I got started — I think my love of all the soldering, sawing, hammering and general making of things was a throwback to being the chosen one of three daughters to participate in typically 'son-like' activities — helping Dad hammer nails, sand wood, build things in general.
- Once I graduated I was fortunate enough to be asked to come up with a range of jewellery to show alongside Marnie Skillings' fashion range at Australian Fashion Week in 2009.
- From there I decided to run with the sales and press momentum from this range and start my own label the following year.
- Quit my job in footwear design to concentrate on my own work and travelled to source the right manufacturers to produce my designs in production quantities.
- And I have just kept on going! I do everything from design, prototyping, sketching, through to overseeing production, managing a supply chain, dispatch and so on. There have been a lot of learning curves along the way and I have been fortunate to have sales and press support from wonderful agency, Under The Wing, but it is still a very small operation, and I oversee all aspects of the business.
Really, I just love the sculptural aspect of jewellery design and the opportunity it offers to work with such a wide range of materials and techniques — good for those like me with a low boredom threshold. As a fashion—oriented costume jeweler, it is always a challenge to marry the design ideas I have back with a commercially viable product…another aspect I actually really enjoy.
The FAUX range is really interesting. I like the idea of juxtapositions between organic and synthetic, real and 'fake', beautiful and ugly…ultimately there's harmony to be found in opposing combinations, those that fuse some unexpected elements. Right?
Right. It's like that idea that you can't know anything until you know its opposite — a point—of—comparison—type thing. I had a lot of 'pretty' elements going on in the last couple of ranges I designed, so I really wanted to mess this all up and bring in some silly, 'ugly' elements to this new collection. There's a great book by Jean Baudrillard, called 'The System of Objects', which basically argues that the whole idea of beauty/ugliness, real/fake is just a big value judgement, so there's no sense in calling something 'fake' wood, as it's just as 'real' in its own way. I liked all his crazy ideas, almost as much as I love fake flowers, plastic and 70s wood veneers, and thought all of this could work in really interesting ways as a range of jewellery. I hope (for my sake) that people can see some sort of bizarre harmony coming out of all of this.
Do you often find yourself questioning what is real in daily life? I do. The other day a bus very nearly ran me over. I swear to God, it accelerated and wanted me to die. I had to jump really high onto the curb. "Is this real life?" I asked myself. So surreal.
All the time. I have these strange dreams that are so banal and closely related to my 'real' life that by the time I wake up, I can't discern what has actually happened in my life and what I just dreamt up. I have been known to recount stories to friends, only to have said friends reply that those events never happened and I sound like a crazy person…so I'm constantly coasting through life in my own version of reality. Also I'm really into Jung's theories about dreams and their relationship to a subconscious 'reality', so I see it as all just one long subconscious blur anyway.
Think sounds for a second. Who, as you see it, would be the musical equivalent of GALA Curios? Like, is there a band/artist that embodies the vibe of what you do? Or maybe just tell us what you've been listening to lately if that's a weird question.
Errr…as for a musical equivalent, I'm not too sure I'd like to speculate. However, along with everyone else in the world, I'm pretty obsessed with Grimes right now. I've been playing Visions over and over and over, along with some fairly regular air time for Hot Chip and Fever Ray. I think there's some sort of musical theme there... I love them all not only musically but aesthetically too.
Who's your favourite trashy celebrity? Extra points for a super plastic one.
DOLLY PARTON! Is she really trashy enough though? I'm actually such a big fan that I feel as though she has too much integrity to be truly trashy... at least in a 'bad' trashy way. I like how she's all, "yeah I have fake boobs and dress like a Barbie doll but I'm smart and I worked hard for my career and made all my own money off the back of my talent," (perhaps not a direct quote). Plasticity is her asset. And you can't get much more plastic in you than those giant silicone tits.