Who hasn’t wanted to own a pair of cuffs adorned with what look like mini stalactites, I ask? When first stumbling across designer Pamela Love’s work many a blogsurf ago, her references to old-style alchemy, occult symbolism and unexpected forms in jewellery had me hooked. While Love has recently become a bit of a darling amongst some of the like-totally-most-hits-per-week personal style blogs out there, she’s got a pretty inspiring background in film production, art direction and styling. In fact, she only really started making jewellery because the stuff she was being given to use on shoots just wasn’t cutting it anymore. And hey, if you can’t trust someone else to do the job sometimes you’ve just got to do it yourself right? We caught up with the New York-based multitasker to chat North African Berber groups, cityscapes and caffeine hits.
Main image: Pamela Love, wearing her own designs, shot for Vogue Gioello
A cuff from Love's autumn/winter 2011 collection
To begin, we love how varied your creative background is. How much do you think your time in New York influences your work, since a lot of it seems to contrast with typical ideas of urban landscapes & architecture?
I think the jewellery I make balances two very different worlds: the sensibility and grit of thriving in a major metropolis like NYC, using inspiration from local skylines and industrial materials, and the strong human desire to represent a history and culture. I take inspiration from around the world: from Berber tribes in Northern Africa to American medical tradition to cave dwellers in the southwest and the Mayan Day of the Dead celebration. I like reinventing pieces that have traditionally held so much meaning and bringing that meaning and purpose to the modern wearer.
When you first started out, where did you think or hope your jewellery design would go?
It started out of necessity, so in the beginning I wasn’t thinking about where the collections would go so much as I was concentrated on creating individual pieces for photo shoots and videos I was styling. I actually learned to make jewellery because I struggled to find the type of jewellery that would work for photographs and films, and the business and passion blossomed from that necessity.
At this point, I think I do a better job of predicting a path for my vision, but I’m still very (obsessively) dedicated to the individuality of each piece. We use a lot of materials that result in one-of-a-kind pieces (stones like red jasper that have different hues and patterns to each cut), and we make our pieces in the studio, so each piece gets personal attention.
And so far which of your projects and/or collaborations have you felt the most pride in?
We really enjoyed collaborating with women’s leather designer Veda for the L’Oreal 'Red Carpet Rebel' challenge. We designed the perfect mini leather vest. Veda made the vest and lined it in this beautiful Navajo print we picked out, then our studio designed and produced bronze hardware and custom-made pins for it and jewellery out of Fordite to match it. The whole idea of rebelling against traditional red carpet attire and creating a new, daring version of high fashion evening wear was a project we all really enjoyed. We like challenging tradition around here.
We've seen the move towards stalactite and space-inspired pieces in the Fall 2011 collection. Does this mean you're leaving behind the pentagrams and curling claws we've come to associate with your style?
The Classic collection will always be very representational and we continue to sell most pieces from the Classic Collection throughout each season. The new collections are moving toward more abstract design - focusing on new shapes and colors with a specific inspiration each season.
The latest collection (SS12) was inspired by Nothern Africa - Morocco and Berber tribes. There’s a lot more colour in the past, and we played with shapes in different scales and patterns inspired by the intricate tile work in mosques from that area. We like to reinvent staple pieces - cuffs, large pendants for editorial, layering necklaces, etc - for each season based on whatever I find inspiring at the moment.
Which five words do you think sum up the women and men who wear Pamela Love?
Audacious, tough, worldly, individual, and fun-loving.
What gives you the drive to get up and go each morning?
Coffee - and loving what I do.
Finally, what's up next on the Love agenda? Can you give us a sneak peek into upcoming projects you've got lined up?
We’re always doing new collaborations, working on the new line, and getting into projects. We can’t always talk about them at the time, but keep an eye on our Facebook and Tumblr for sneak peeks!
Well, she said it herself: keep up to date with all things Pamela Love on her site and Twitter too.