July 06 2011
Lucia van der Post
If you’re interested in jewellery that has a designery edge and challenges your preconceptions of what jewellery should look like, then you’ll probably already know that Dover Street Market in London is one of the places to keep an eye on. Just coming into Dover Street Market now are new pieces by one of the world’s more interesting fashion designers – Thai-born Thakoon (his full name is Thakoon Panichgul). Avid followers of fashion will know that he was thrust onto the larger world stage by Michelle Obama when she wore a red and purple printed dress designed by him. Since then he’s been a bit of a global star – so much so that shortly after “that dress”, Tasaki, a long-established Japanese jewellery company mostly known for its pearls, asked him to become its creative director in 2009.
His latest collection has many aesthetic strands, but one of them, called New Classics, takes materials such as gold, black diamonds, pearls and other precious stones, but uses them almost as if they were industrial metal pieces. He himself has said that he wanted to “make pearls more beautiful, more modern, more aggressive”. His pieces certainly do that. Pearls and 18ct yellow gold are fused to make a pair of earrings that look for all the world like screws (£600 – and surprisingly pretty). Strong, almost bondage-like bracelets come in combinations of crocodile leather, 18ct gold and pearls (£20,000). Thakoon has his own take on the classic string of pearls, hanging 13 cultured pearls onto a very strong 18ct white gold collection of metallic links (£9,500).
The Seductive strand within the collection, on the other hand, is all sinuous, snake-like shapes, combining black rhodium-plated white gold with black diamonds. A serpentine ring is £5,800, a pendant necklace £4,000. You could get some curvy white gold earrings for £1,400. His jewellery has been seized on by some of the world’s most innovative stores – apart from Dover Street Market in London it is at Colette in Paris, and Bergdorf Goodman in New York.
Pictured: clockwise from top left, white gold Serpentine earrings, £1,400; gold-bound leather cuff with pearls, £3,300; white gold Serpentine earrings, as before; riveted necklace with pearls in white gold, £974; riveted screw earrings in gold and pearls, £600.