Yunus & Eliza, winners of Designers of the Year at Treasure during London Jewellery Week 2011, talk to LUX FIX about their sumptuous and decadent creations…
“Yunus & Eliza? They sound like an enchanting pair.”
“They met in a London Foundry – Yunus casting one of Eliza’s sculptures and captivating Eliza with the process, leading to a collaboration that has produced huge headpieces for rock stars and sculpture worn by supermodels.”
“I must hear more.”
“Of course you must. Let’s talk to them about the kind of magic that goes into their sculpture to be worn.”
Yunus and Eliza in their studio
Q. Your Goddess Pendant evokes the myth and mystical – one of the LUX FIX team (well me actually!) who had the chance to wear it said “It feels almost like an amulet” – what was the inspiration behind the piece?
A. We are inspired a lot by classical imagery, and were exploring the idea of the golden ratio, perfection in beauty, and had sculpted a little Aphrodite face. The Goddess emerged pretty organically, it was a process of taking away and revealing negative space – we are often concerned with fragments – and what isn’t there seems to hold a power. The crucifix ambiguity (this was accidental/ subconscious – it makes sense with our upbringings), lends the piece a feeling of protection but also darker undertones. We wanted to juxtapose a soft but hard beauty.
Q. More sorcery… You’ve just developed a piece for Bryan Singer’s latest filmic fairy tale “Jack the Giant Killer”- tell us about that?
A. We can’t give too much away at this point. We were working closely with Joanna Johnston, (the costume designer behind Back to the Future, The Sixth Sense, Valkyrie to name but a few) and she was great, very inspiring. It involved lots of design meetings, early morning trips out to Shepperton Studios, and fittings with Eleanor Tomlinson, who is playing the princess. The film is out in June 2012; we’re looking forward to seeing our creation on the big screen.
Q. How many pieces did you end up making in the end? A bit like the numerous pairs of Ruby Slippers Dorothy had at her disposal!
A. Yes exactly! It’s pretty significant from a plot point of view, so we had to make 3 real versions, and 2 stunt doubles.
Q. From magic to music – you’ve just made some serious headwear for the Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs “Trouble” music video (see below for the making of) – that looked fun! How did that come about?
A. We’d been planning to get Swarovski Elements sponsorship for a great project, and this seemed like the perfect excuse to go uber bling. Orlando from Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs is Eliza’s brother, so collaborating is easy and fun. He wore our headpiece ‘Cathedral To The Self’ in his video for “Garden” so was already a big fan, and we love his look and his tunes. The headpiece for Trouble was made with a twisted mythical futuristic creature in mind. We’ve also made him a bespoke electric green Goddess Pendant, which he rocks.
Epic headpiece to transform Orlando into a Modern warrior
Q. Yunus you recently said you would make a patriotic lion earing (eating his face) for David Beckham. Which musician would you most like to make a piece for and what would it be?
A. Hmm, tricky. We’d love to have made something wild for David Byrne during his Talking Heads days. It would have to be for a real showman, like Prince, something huge, decadent and metamorphic, and possibly inspired by Hussein Chalayan’s Living Dress for Gaga.
Q. Yunus and Eliza is sculpture to be worn – what period or periods of sculpture are you most inspired by?
A. Greek, and Italian Renaissance, big time. Art Nouveau – especially the jewellery and furniture, the way everything twists and morphs into each other becoming surreal hybrid creatures. The Surrealist and Futurist movements are very inspiring as is Gothic architecture; the roof tops of Oxford and London. Modern installation artists like Ed Kineholz, Christo, Polly Morgan and the wild imaginings of sculptures at Burning Man…Could go on and on..
Q. If you could magically have any work of art in your studio what would it be?
A. Eliza would like Bernini’s Daphne and Apollo, or, controversially, the Parthenon Marbles, er just a loan of course.
Yunus would like the Statue Of Liberty.
Q. Finally if you two love birds had access to any materials and all the time in the world – what would you make for each other?
A. Urgh, love birds!
Eliza – I would design Yunus a huge empty house that he can gradually fill with beautiful things. Also a golden cape to hit the town in.
Yunus – A life-size animatronic metal horse, that flies like Pegasus.
“Disco Horse” from last year’s collection