As the tree begins to take pride of place in your home and glitter drips from the hoard of cards on your mantel, Yuppee wants to wish you a very Merry Christmas. Indeed, for the twelve run-up days to Christmas Yuppee wants to treat you to festive fashion fun. And so, today, on the first day of Christmas Yuppee gives to you a Partridge in a Pear Tree – Solange Azagury-Partridge to be exact.
Hers is a fashionable fairytale: after designing her own engagement ring in 1987, her unique and avant-garde jewellery caught the attention first of her close friends and then a broader coterie, who placed orders, spread the word, and eventually persuaded her to set up business a few years later.
And today, you can walk the sparkling line of fine jewellery shops on Mayfair’s Bond Street and find that one in particular stands out – for its opulence, without doubt, but also for its character, its use of caricature and whimsically ‘other’ take on modern luxury. Yes – Solange Azagury-Partridge’s flagship boutique, with its red-velvet casing, Swarovski-studded ceiling and carefully considered interiors is a world removed from the engagement ring-carving headquarters in Azagury-Partridge’s west London basement.
Following the footsteps on Salvador Dali and his avant-garde works, sensuality is key to Azagury-Partridge’s designs – along with a sense of humour and irreverence. Her best-known pieces are the enamel lip rings, which conjure the Pop Art references that resound throughout her work. And of course sculptural fluidity comes from the tassels and fringing, the modernist refrains by way of sliced diamonds, rough-cut gems and other stones handled with ingenuity.
Yet Azagury-Partridge’s collection sees her involve herself with new, often arcane and under-used techniques, making every piece’s idiosyncrasies stand as proof of her constant struggle to push the boundaries of jewellery design. Cabochon cut round emeralds, rubies, star sapphires, conflict-free diamonds and enamel serve her like a palette of oil paints. They glisten and sparkle against canvases of white, red or yellow gold.
Indeed the sparkling of Azagury-Partridge’s collection’s have caught many a star’s eye. Her staunch commitment to high quality caught the attention of Hollywood costume designers resulting in a stunning Tetris-style necklace, from the designer’s Random Collection, being worn by Sarah Jessica Parker in the opening sequence of the 2010 feature film Sex and the City 2.
And, more recently her penchant for bringing nuance to jewellery was called upon by costume designer Colleen Atwood for a singular item that represented the cold, sinister essence of Queen Ravenna, played by Charlize Theron, in the 2012 film Snow White and the Huntsman. In response Azagury-Partridge designed the Heart Plucker: an intimidating dual-finger ring made of oxidized sterling silver and diamonds with the chilling detail of menacing metal talons!
From dangerous animal rings, to organ shaped pendants and kaleidoscopic stones mirroring the psychedelic mix of hues Solange sees when she closes her eyes in the dappled sunlight, through to lacquered lips, bejewelled eyes and dazzling 360 kinetic spinners, Azagury-Partridge rediscovers jewellery as the most powerful, personal expression of individual style.
A final note from Solange Azagury-Partrdige: “There comes a day in every woman’s life when she wakes up wanting jewellery. I always believe that for every moment of your life—joyful or unhappy—there is always a piece of jewellery that connects to those moments.”