Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Located smack dab in the heart of Madrid, Spain is the Puerta Del Sol (Gate of the Sun); an energetic area that is the center point of a network of Spanish roads. Spain is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Patricia Nicolas.

According to Nicolas, the designer’s hard-hitting glam punk style is not entirely intentional. “I try to make simple pieces but I always end up designing bigger, chunkier jewelry.”

Her palette of inspiration is equally perplexing encompassing the cool sophistication of fashion model Kate Moss, Vivien Leigh’s genteel yet impulsive Scarlett O’Hara, and even Shelley Duvall’s portrayal of Olive Oyl in the film Popeye.

“Duvall was made for the role,” she says, “Her beautiful, big eyes steal the show. I love her long, tall silhouette—not unlike today’s models—with the elegantly tied back hair, the gorgeous frills around her neck, and simple makeup.”

While Nicolas clearly has an appreciation for softer types of beauty, she is a rebel at heart embracing the challenge of finding her own visual language. Her design approach is a direct extension of thorough research in which the London-based designer covers a lot of territory.

“I visit museums, exhibitions, and I travel extensively to draw inspiration from the cultural richness I observe. I also visit the Central Saint Martins University library in London. Whenever I go there I go through an assortment of magazines from the 60s and 70s’", she says.

Born into a family that has designed and manufactured jewelry for over six decades, perhaps Nicolas’ exaggerated sense of style is a subliminal effort to set a line of demarcation between herself and the family’s longstanding company.

In any event, her collections of 24-karat gold and rhodium-plated items, accented with a plethora of stunning Crystallized Swarovski Elements, are strident, garish and I love that!

Although this style of jewelry is a growing trend, I do not believe it is considered as mainstream as more timeless designs. I like that she built a brand that is not “safe,” and embodies an independent, fearless spirit.

“My style tends to be very eclectic, diverse and edgy. I draw inspiration from different style eras. Every collection I design is different, and I love to use different materials to create a piece.”

To me, Nicolas’ use of bold color is an interesting choice because I feel it actually softens the dark edge to a certain degree. At the same time, there is something very playful about her collections like her implementation of bat and star charms, the curved skeletal hand of her Skull and Gold Chain Bracelet, as well as the quirkiness of her hat-wearing, crystal and enamel Cowboy Frog Ring.

Her Boyfriends Collection, the designer’s homage to the many personalities of the rough-and-tumble opposite sex, is highlighted by the contrast of skull pendant necklaces delicately accented with crystals.

There is no shortage of personality in her assortment of bijouterie, and such famous names as Sienna Miller, Kate Nash, Kate Moss, and BeyoncĂ© Knowles have taken a liking to Nicolas’ striking assemblages.

“Appreciation of my ideas motivates me to create better and more inspiring collections. To me, having a friendly, creative atmosphere in the studio is the key to creating great jewelry collections.”
Photo 1 (top right): Fringe Necklace from Memory Lane Collection
Photo 2 (center): Acid Wash Bracelet with Swarovski Crystals Photo 3 (bottom left): 24-Karaat Gold Plated Cowboy Frog Ring from Natural Instinct Collection
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