Back in the 1960s Paco Rabanne wildly experimented with new materials for fashion, like his somewhat impracticable but undeniably iconic sheath metal mini-dress. Fast-forward half a century and like-minded designer and fashion editor Amélie Riech has produced a jewellery collection for Rabanne’s newly incarnated accessories line, pacoLab.
I have decided to go for glass because it is a very sensual and sexy material, it is translucent, brilliant and very delicate. It perfectly matches my vision for contemporary Paco Rabanne jewellery
Once a successful stylist and now a fashion consultant, Reich flits between Berlin and Paris and is the founder of innovative design platform Uncommon Matters. Her work endeavors to use traditional craftsmanship and considered materials. Like Comme des Garcons and Judy Blame before her, she has considered the history of the label when producing her pacoLabe range – specifically citing Rabanne's desire for new production methods and materials. For example, you only have to look to Reich's use of melted and laminated varying clarities of glass to see the Spanish-designers influence. Dazed Digital spoke to Amélie Riech about her collection.
Dazed Digital: The pieces' construction is quite complex, can you explain how your design process to produce them?
Amélie Riech: I wanted to create striking and luminous pieces. I have decided to go for glass because it is a very sensual and sexy material, it is translucent, brilliant and very delicate. It perfectly matches my vision for contemporary Paco Rabanne jewellery. Based on the Ready-To-Wear collection I have been working on the formal principles of melting materials, layering and lamination; layers of contrasting, transparent and opaque glass built over gold metal constructions, create light refraction and spectral glimmer...
DD: The legacy of Paco Rabanne is similar to yours in the respect of being innovative with materials - how did you approach working with pacoLab?
Amélie Riech: There are other parallels too - Paco Rabanne has been a visionary designer with a strong architectural influence. It was very easy for me to get into his universe because I have a similar approach to creation and way of working (like Paco, I feel like a "material" worker or sculptor experimenting with materials, techniques and craftsmanship...) All these aspects are very close to my own creative world.
DD: Your work is usually produced in limited editions, probably due to the complexity of the materials - would you ever design a wider produced range?
Amélie Riech: Absolutely. If it fits the project why not. Personally, I am excited about everything handmade also because of idealist values and I believe that craftsmanship is an alternative philosophy in our mass-produced and standardised world.
DD: What is your favourite piece from the pacoLab collection?
Amélie Riech: All those pieces are very dear to me after such an intense process of creation. In my series the overall concept or the synthesis of arts is more important than a single piece which means that all of those pieces are being part of a whole and have a particular importance in the series.
Photos by Adrian Crispin