GALA Curios, the creation of COFA graduate, Jasmine O’Loughlin Glover, draws upon the mantra that nothing is as it seems. Her collections combine the amalgamation of both valuable and invaluable objects to dictate that nothing should be taken at face value; that everyday objects such as paper can be wielded to produce an amazing piece of jewellery.
Adding to the line’s two impressive collections, STOPMOTION and ANCIENT FUTURE, and the upcoming, INTO THE FOLD, Jasmine’s credentials also includes her collaboration with acclaimed Australian fashion label Marnie Skillings at Rosemount Australian Fashion Week in 2009. Even then, the concepts of the label were clear with the incorporation of tough pieces such as laser-cut leather and acrylics with delicates such as opals. Such a dynamic is derived from her own personal style which consists of big bows (on rings, hair accessories, shoes and clothes!) and colourful prints and patterns, but also a lot of androgynous clothing; what Jasmine describes as dressing both frivolously and seriously. We caught up with this talented jewellery designer on a summery Sydney day at her studio to discuss her amazing concepts, designs and wardrobe.
How did your label name, GALA Curios, come about?
I always wanted to have a name that was one word, so GALA. I liked the sound of the word and she (Gala Dali) was quite amazing because she was such a muse to many different male artists and there were also a lot of female artists during this surrealist period and she really inspired them and she had a very flamboyant personality and I think that’s the kind of person I would want wearing the jewellery. There’s also the play on the ‘gala’ as an extravagant event so I just thought it was a nice simple name and ‘curios’ came about because I wanted everything to be known as a unique, strange kind of object rather than just jewellery. I hope that people would view it as a sculptural piece that you can wear rather than just any old piece of jewellery.
What materials do you like to use?
My signature technique is fabrics coated in metals. So I guess that’s my signature technique – taking papers and textiles and everyday materials and sculpting them and coating them in a precious material to commentate on the value of the object. A lot of the work is about experimentation, trying to find new ways to take everyday materials and making them different and making something that is quite invaluable into something valuable by coating it in gold. Also the technique allows you to work with all new kind of materials like the paper, the textiles, and it allows me to have all different kinds of shape but keep continuity.
What is your design process?
Often I’ll have an idea, first off, and a technique in mind and it’s kind of a marriage of the two. So the first collection, STOPMOTION, was all about the heirloom and looking at the things that we find precious, so often jewellery or textiles or something we hold on to that has a lot of sentimental value. I like the idea that textiles is something that disintegrates and is ephemeral, the same thing as paper, but this technique actually encases them and preserves them forever and a lot of ideas have to do with that.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by a lot of old art movements, surrealism, first and foremost, and by Elsa Schiaparelli, who was a surrealist fashion designer. Often looking to the past, I find that people were so daring and so out-there and sometimes I think we’re going backwards and becoming more conservative. Also, art exhibitions – it kind of comes from everywhere. I’m also a lecturer in textile design so I often look at a lot of textiles for inspiration, whether it’s print or texture. Just kind of ideas I get from reading books and history – it’s really sporadic and comes from all over, but a lot surrealist art has been my main inspiration.
Do you have a favourite collection so far?
The first one will always have a special place in my heart because it was a technique that I had been wanting to work with for so long. I really loved the function of jewellery as an heirloom and something that is precious and something that we have for a very long time and so the first collection was really all about that and all about this technique that I had been aching to work with for so long. I also really love this new collection called INTO THE FOLD because I think it represents the kind of maturity of the label. It’s developed a stronger and more directional kind of way and I think, I hope, that everybody will respond to it really well.
How is your label different from other jewellery labels?
There is a huge focus on concept here, so the first collection with all the textiles coated in metal was all about heirlooms and the preservation of things and I like to sync that up with techniques as the kind of technique tells the story. I think that, especially, in the Australian market it kind of puts it in a realm closer to an art object rather than a design object. Also the theatricality of the work, I think, I like to speak for itself. It’s really just the synthesis of technique and ideas to make something unique.
How did your collaboration with Marnie Skillings come about?
I used to work for Marnie, in her boutique, and we became friends that way. It just so happened that I finished my degree and she knew I was thinking of maybe starting a jewellery label but it wasn’t set in concrete and she asked me to do the range of jewellery to complement the show that year and then that was it. One thing led to another and she gave me a brief and I was given a lot of freedom to work within that brief. Because I had worked with her and I knew her clothes very well and I knew her personally quite well, it was quite easy to understand what would fit with what she was going to design.
Who would be the typical GALA Curios wearer?
I think that it’s anyone who has quite a unique sense of style and also respect for how things are made and why they’re made and what they mean to us and someone who is intelligent enough to view these objects and interpret them in that way and has an appreciation of quality. It’s that type of person who’s very considered about what they wear, not overly concerned with it or obsessive, but everything is considered and put together nicely and there is a story behind the outfit, just like how there’s a story behind the jewellery.
What is your favourite thing about Sydney?
That there are so many different places – like before I moved back home I lived in Surry Hills and it’s so different to where I live now, which is really nice and we’re kind of cut off from everything and surrounded by trees and it’s quiet. It’s less full-on and here, I’m quite content to work.
Check out www.galacurios.com to view the collections, find stocklists and to shop online.