I've been a longtime fan of Lara Melchior's beautifully hand crafted jewellery and low-key personal style so when the opportunity arose to interview her, I jumped at the chance. Inspired by the opulence of Gustav Klimt's Gold Phase and the ethereal qualities of photographers Sarah Moon and Paolo Roversi, Lara's exquisite line of delicate rings, pendants and bracelets debuted in 2010 and have since been featured by the likes of Style.com, French Vogue and L'Officiel. Ornate, but never ostentatious, Lara's magical designs are the perfect accent to a classic, pared down style.
Hi Lara! What inspired you to start designing jewellery? Did you always want to get into jewellery design? I started drawing as a child and never quit. I then turned to photography before designing jewelry. I started a small costume jewellery line that sold quite well, after 2 years I wanted to learn how to work with gold.
Tell us about your inspirations for your most recent collection. I’m inspired by so much. I studied history of art for several years but I must say I’m mostly inspired by Fauvism and Art Nouveau. Photography is another very strong influence, the works of Sarah Moon and Paolo Roversi are true sources of inspiration to me.
Fauvism and art nouveau are among your influences. Do you have a favourite artist? I would say Gustav Klimt and Henri Matisse.
Are you working with any new materials this season? I’ll be presenting my 4th collection late September. I decided to stick to yellow gold and white and black diamonds but I can tell you I might start looking at rose gold and colored sapphires soon…
Can you describe the design making process? Do you develop your designs on paper or is it a more instinctive process? I design and create each piece, from the beginning to the end. Each piece is hand made by me, that’s what I love about it. It starts from my sketches but a lot comes to life when I begin working the metals.
How did you learn your craft? I took lessons for a year to learn soldering, polishing etc… and began working on my first collection at the same time. I was surprised how quickly the ideas came to me; I think I had been dying to make these pieces for a while…
You make everything by hand. Do you have plans to expand the business or do you feel the personal aspect to your work is important? As mentioned above, making my pieces by hand myself is extremely important to me. I love the fact that each piece is different, seeing each piece evolve. Things are evolving quicker than I thought they would which is amazing. I’m working on finding the perfect between the handcraft of each piece, remaining involved in the entire production process and being able to supply the growing demand. Although delegating is still quite difficult for me, I’m putting a team together of people who understand how I work and the values of my brand. I pleasantly surprised by how inspiring team work can be.
How would you describe your personal style and how does that manifest itself in your designs? I’d describe my personal style as rather classic. In fashion, jewellery, decoration etc I love beautiful pieces, those that pass through the years. I’m very sensitive to materials, fabrics, fine curves. I try to adapt those values to my collections, making each of my pieces recognizable but subtle and easy to wear. Every client has her own personal history, I consider that jewellery shouldn’t steal a women’s thunder but make her look even more beautiful.
What are your 5 wardrobe essentials? My APC jeans, my Celine purses, my Faliero Sarti scarf, my Hermès flat boots, and my engagement ring.
Any beauty rituals? Crème de jour Abeille Royale de Guerlain, Chanel Body Excellence body lotion and David Mallet hair serum.
What outside of jewellery has inspired you recently? Everything inspires me, it’s all connected. From Art History to the history of jewellery, photography, fashion and music.
What's your favourite piece of jewellery? Difficult to choose amongst several rings and a Cartier watch that I’ve been given by my loved ones. Within my own collection, I’m very excited about the pieces made with ancient medal as well as the simple rings, classic and timeless.
Can you describe an average day in the studio? Starts with a cup of coffee and my emails, a couple calls and any paper work I may have, we have a lot of that in France… I then take a while to read the press, spend a moment on the few blogs I enjoy (including her ribbons and her bows…) and then spend some time my newest art, fashion, or photography books. I usually like to schedule all my meetings in the morning so I can then settle down at my workbench to handle orders and any time I have left will be trying new things and working on new designs .
Can you give us a hint as to what's coming up next? My new collection will be presented in September and I’m working on a collaboration I’m extremely excited about but you’ll have to be a little patient to know more….
Describe your perfect day. A day by the sea with my husband Vassili and my dog Elia.
Lara's jewellery is available to purchase from laramelchior.com
(Photographs courtesy of Lara)