Jewellery design duo Yunus & Eliza’s creations are a mix of gothic and fantasy; handcrafted sculptural interpretations with a theatrical edge. Working predominantly with metals, many of the pieces are heavy – so forget about piling it on, one is enough.
Bridging the gap between art and fashion, their combination of mythological and futuristic designs include the ‘Poseidon’ ring; a spiky architectural headpiece created for Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaur’s album cover art and a cape in python, cork and nappa featuring two Icarus-like figures morphing out of a bronze work, a limited edition piece in collaboration with accessories and costume designer Rob Goodwin.
With no formal fashion training, the pair have gone on to challenge traditional conventions in jewellery design. We caught up with them at their studio to hear more.
Dazed Digital: How do you take each other’s contrasting inspirations and fuse them together?
Yunus & Eliza: The clash is a really important part of it. Amazingly our visions are really similar in lots of senses and then also quite different in other ways – Yunus is into making things which are really quite beautiful and then I like to make things which are quite dark, and so we temper each other. There is something about that meeting of minds, and when we’re working we pass back and forth, so there really is no time to get attached to pieces.
Dazed Digital: Your work has an almost frightening edge to it…
Yunus & Eliza: It’s been a learning curve to try and be commercial, and we still straddle that line between not wanting to compromise. As we’re hand sculpting it takes days if not weeks or months to create the master copies. Like the ‘Aphrodite’ face we did really early on, that took us a couple of months to model it, but then we used it again and again for other designs.
DD: Which of your bespoke commissions have you enjoyed working on the most?
Yunus & Eliza: We love doing the massive headpieces, it’s just so immediate and fun and it really fits in with our background.
DD: What designs didn’t made the cut?
Yunus & Eliza: Commissions wise, everything has been fine, we never let stuff out if we’re not happy with it. Sometimes we’ll make something and suddenly realise we need to start again. That’s normally quite painful, but worth it in the long run.
DD: Do you reference from art history?
Yunus & Eliza: Never, and afterwards we think to ourselves, ‘oh, the press are going to want to know where this is from’, and we think, ‘where is it from?!’ We were both brought up going to museums and theatre and visited practically every Cathedral in Italy – so amazingly lucky. Those influences are in there, but we don’t look up, say Michelangelo. We go by feelings and dreams – there’s a lot of sci-fi, gothic architecture and fantasy in our work, it’s much more of a mish mash and that’s more of an artist rather than a designer’s way of working, to go from feeling, it just happens.
DD: What’s next?
Yunus & Eliza: We’re continuing to expand and we have some amazing projects in the pipeline including a mid-season collaboration with Atalanta Weller on an amazing pair of boots. We have a cuff we designed appearing in the Jack the Giant Slayer film (previously Jack the Giant Killer), and of course the Rock Vault at London Fashion Week.
Photography Terence Webb