Friday, 25 January 2013

Interview: Estelle Dévé

Let me introduce you to French-born, Australia based jewellery designer Estelle Dévé. Coming from a long line of jewellery makers (her Aunt was a fine jeweller for Chanel under Lagerfeld) Estelle has been experimenting with jewellery since childhood. I caught up with her to discuss her latest sci-fi inspired collection Explosions in the Sky and her "unhealthy obsession with Balenciaga!" A girl after my own heart!

Where are you, and what are you doing right now?
After a week down the coast, relaxing by the beach, I’m finally back at work. I have so much to get through so I’m happy to be here. I tend to be a bit of a workaholic..

How did you get into jewellery design?
A little bit by accident, to be honest. I went to business school and after I graduated, worked in various fashion related marketing jobs. After a few years, I realized it wasn’t really what I was after and launched my label. I had no former jewellery training so it was quite challenging at first, but I’m quite comfortable where I am now.

How would you describe your aesthetic?
People tend to find my jewellery to be quite organic. I love to work with natural rock formations as a starting point, as texture is very important to me. My designs also tend to be quite battered. I’m always attracted to pieces which seem to have had a previous life, and I try to recreate this feel in every single one of my designs.

Who and what influences your designs?
A thing which keeps influencing me is sci-fi imagery. I always keep looking back at those, and I am in love with this “old futuristic” style. But I think it’s quite hard to limit inspiration to one thing. It can come from anywhere: a movie I’ve just seen, books, ancient jewels, etc..

Talk us through the design process.
I tend to create one piece as a starting point, a bead or something which will be assembled later on. I illustrate in 2D and then either make it in wax, or get it 3D modeled and 3D printed. When that first “master” is ready, I get it cast in metal, plated and then play around with it until I figure out what is missing to complete that necklace or bracelet. It’s a little bit like completing a puzzle. I never really know what the final work will be like.

Did you look at anything specifically for your most recent collection?
“Explosions in the Sky” my next collection -which will be in store mid February-, has been greatly influenced by my fascination with space and the stars as a youngster. My Dad and I had recreated the entire Northern constellations on my bedroom ceiling and to this date, it is still one of my fondest kid’s memories.

What are your favourite materials to work with?
I generally work with gold-plated or silver-plated pewter, along with other elements such as Swarovski crystal pearls or glass. I’d love to start working with new materials and hopefully will get a chance to do so in my future collections.

Who is the Estelle Dévé girl?
Someone comfortable in her own skin. A hard working woman, who enjoys pretty things.

How would you describe your personal style and how does that manifest itself in your designs?
Comfortable. I like classic pieces which won’t age quickly, or crazy pieces that I have an emotional attachment to. I try and buy smartly: quality pieces over quantity. I don’t tend to get fed up with things easily and keep them for years, and wear them to death. I’m not really precious with my clothes and I usually do the same thing in crazy designer pieces that I would in jeans and t-shirts.
I think somehow, this translate into my designs. I can design very simple pieces that I’d want to wear every day for years, as well as huge necklaces, but I’d probably wear both with the same outfits.

What are your 5 wardrobe essentials?
At the risk of sounding classically boring, my wardrobe is pretty plain. I own a lot of jeans, denim shirts, grey tees and stripy long sleeve t-shirts. I think a good beige trench coat is always an essential, as well as good black ankle boots. Top this off with crazy party dresses to contrast with my usual classic outfits (I’ve got an unhealthy obsession with Balenciaga & Christopher Kane) and you’ve got my wardrobe all figured out.

What’s your favourite object? 
My grandad’s watch. It’s falling apart, and the time on it is never accurate –which kind of defeats the point- but I just can’t help loving it.

Any beauty rituals?
Apart from applying my makeup (which is mainly from Nars), I always make sure I moisturize daily. I prefer oils to creams, such as bio oil, argan oil or in Summer, a Monoi oil with SPF that I buy in France. I also put SPF on my face and hands every morning and never go to bed without removing my make up with Bioderma Crealine lotion. Once a week, I clean and exfoliate my body with Moroccan black soap.

What’s coming up next for you?
I’m going over to NYC, London and Paris for Fashion week in February, so hopefully that will help building my profile internationally as well as securing new stockists over there. Apart from this, I’ve been working on developing new ways to develop my products, so hopefully I’ll be able to create very exciting things for 2013!

Describe your perfect day
Wake up slightly late, have breakfast out with my boyfriend then spend some time relaxing with a good book. Go to the markets, buy some fresh food and spend the rest of the afternoon cooking a meal for my friends. Invite them over and share it, along with a great bottle of wine (or two). I just love my friends, and food, they both have such a central place in my life!

See more of Estelle's work on her website 


  1. Thank you for introducing me to her wonderful jewelry! I also love hearing the answers to your fantastic questions.


  2. You have such a knack for these designer interviews. I always love them.

    1. Thanks Lindsay, I'm so glad you enjoy them! x