Solange Azagury-Partridge

Unwearable Jewels Collection: AK-47

Unwearable Jewels Collection: AK-47

After three years as Creative Director for Boucheron, this jewelry designer has operated her own firm for the duration of her career.  Her work is distinctively irreverent, mythical, and with her Unwearable Jewels collection, overlapping into the realm of sculpture.  It’s plausibly rooted in edginess, though for her own part, in connection with a growing number of designers, it may be better said that she is transmitting the zeitgeist of London’s late 1900s punk culture.  As we are well into our fifth decade removed from the arrival of transgressive, deconstructive imagery as defining elements of the subculture, we see them becoming mainstream, with skulls dazzled in diamonds and spiked bracelets in a variety of fine materials as standard stock in high end stores.  The use of prominent symbols as decorations essentially stripped of meaning are also signature of punk, not worn to reveal the allegiances of the wearer but to downgrade them as kitsch, turning burdens into baubles.  For an audience that grew up fueling their social independence with striking, aggressive and death-themed personal decoration, her work remains aligned with her aging peers, and their establishment in a spectrum of fields and incomes.  As the aging punks seek status objects of their own to reflect them, of their wealth or just solvency, designers from their own generations deliver luxury goods that retain that certain comfort, nostalgic links that may not establish a cohesive culture per se, but at the least one that delivers something like the familiarity of roots.  Jewelry informed by Generation X and the ages that flank it can hardly be regarded as a response to, or even appropriation of history, originating ultimately in youth culture’s need to continually reshape fashion to distinguish themselves.  It should be noted that the roots of punk tap deeply into the appearance of three clothing stores started by designers, with Malcolm McLaren’s Sex Pistols formed as an early kind of PR boy band, Vivienne Westwood’s shop and Boy setting the stage for an anti-establishment reworking of fashion that has evolved, comfortable nestled in social norms today.  Familiar iconography for some is the domain of pop culture for many now, which has swept along mashups of symbolism and adopted them as casual and decorative in the 21st century.  The proliferation of branding along with the growth of media can’t be discounted in this fading away of graphic symbolism’s tangibility of course.  But a skull ring has come a long way from being antisocial, not even a statement of masculinity at this point, in the mainstream it has become an assertion of pop culture, pink and blue, frosty with flowers and ribbons, a Tim Burton Christmas.  Whether or not this paves the way for a future where we can expect to see punk looks become uniform and ultimately conservative, Azagury-Partridge lives a family life that does exemplify certain voices of her youth, that can also be said to have brought about useful practices for coping with modern life, especially where creation is concerned.  With being an early riser, a reluctant consumer, living a lifestyle that rejects television and too much media noise, any initial relationship to her studio as rebellion can be looked upon now as an inclusive, holistic way of life.  Organically, as a creative working with the cultural materials in her immediate environment, beginning with a stroke of luck in the form of a part time job at a London jeweler, the designer has found herself both a spokesperson and compatriot of a generation.

Snakepit

Snakepit

Snakepit  Snakepit 3

Metamorphosis 2

SECRET GARDEN

 Metamorphosis 1 Metamorphosis 3

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Eternal Feminine

 tumblr_nmynx9VXew1ru8nnoo1_1280 Solange Azagury-Partridge

Shooting Star 2

Shooting Star

Shooting Star

Unwearable Jewels:  Moon

Unwearable Jewels: Moon

Villainess Ring

Villainess Ring

Triangle Spinner

Triangle Spinner

Cosmic Mirror Ball (Sterling Silver)

Cosmic Mirror Ball
(Sterling Silver.  Wow.)