Merle O'Grady: SS10 jewellery collection
Merle O’Grady set up her own label after gaining experience with Tracy Boyd and Pauric Sweeney, among others. With both Beyonce and Rihanna as fans of the label already, this girl’s Sworovski-encrusted star is most definitely on the rise. Merle will be showing her AW10 collection at London Fashion Week from 19th-23rd Feb.
I caught up with her to talk handbags, design inspiration and dreams!
How did you get in to jewellery design?
It started off as a sideline really-I studied Fashion Design in Limerick School of Art and Design and then specialised in Accessory Design (handbags specifically) in London's Cordwainers. During that time I was selling my handbag designs at Spitalfields, and I came across a bucket of the most amazing 19th Century Chandelier components in an architectural salvage yard and the jewellery side of things started from there!
I soon moved into designing my own perspex components as my style has always been about graphic shapes and surface pattern. My jewellery is a way of creating that same symmetric silhouette in a different product that's more transferable, luxurious and it was always important to me that my pieces could be handmade here in studio.
Would you ever consider branching into fashion design?
I don't think so. I love creating stand-alone pieces too much. The reason I moved into accessory design from fashion design in the first place was, frankly bodies getting in the way a bit! Now I can create pieces that compliment any figure that are still in my distinctive style. I'm definitely not ruling out producing more accessories though-I'd love to go back to handbags and create a range of belts too.
High-street/designer collaborations are continuing to be big news - who would you most like to collaborate with?
It would have to be Topshop. They've done such an amazing job with their designer collaborations so far. I think there's a trust there that the designer's original aesthetic won't be watered down which is a huge credit to them. And I interned there when I was starting out doing jewellery trend reports for Freedom@Topshop.
What can we expect from your AW10 collection?
I guess the theme is Luxe Mechanical - I looked at Constructivist Art when it came to creating the geometric perspex components and then took the theme of Constructivism literally by using 'Meccano-esque'(!) gold and silver elements and tubing. Gold and silver spikes are a big part too. It's definitely edgier and more angular than previous collections but still incorporating Swarovski Crystal, Pearls, Onyx & Pyrite to give each piece a luxurious feel.
Who's your dream customer?
I can't pick just one! I would love to see my designs worn by Daphne Guinness, Roisin Murphy, Chloe Sevigny and Miroslava Duma -they're my style icons.
I hear Beyonce is a big fan. Any other celeb clients?
Rihanna owns the huge 'Aztec Earrings' in Transparent Perspex from the SS10 collection - she wanted to keep them after her stylists called in some pieces, which I was thrilled about!
Which is more important clothing or accessories?!
Accessories of course! You can wear them every day, which means they're a better investment in my opinion. Accessories can completely transform an outfit and they’re a great way to embrace a seasonal trend without going overboard.
Where can we find your fantastic pieces?
The Spring/Summer collection is available at Rebecca Davis in the Westbury Mall, Dublin. In London it's available at Kabiri Marylebone, Covent Garden and Kabiri@Selfridges and Wolf & Badger in Notting Hill.
You can also buy online at www.kabiri.co.uk, www.shop.wolfandbadger.com and any piece from the collection can be made to order at www.merleogrady.com