Miss LF met the darling jeweller and artist in her own right Jessica De Lotz yesterday in her studio full of delights and wonderment, where she hand-makes every personalised piece of jewellery with a romanticised aesthetic since 2009. Located in the very design focused part of London, Clerkenwell, Jessica De Lotz combines great attention to detail, sentimentality within each piece and commerciality, with the aim of making desirable pieces that stand the test of time.

Miss LF: How did you find your brand?

Jessica De Lotz: I started making jewellery from finding this vintage handbag in Camden, when I got home I found all these contents inside belonging to a ‘Daisy Hooper’ including a photograph of her and her friends which inspired me to make jewellery for this person. I’ve been making jewellery for her for the past seven years even though I don’t know her, it started at my second year of Saint Martins when we were given a mourning brief, so I made sentimental pieces for her – she gave life to my jewellery. So I thank Daisy for everything.

All the contents of her handbag inspired pieces of my collection, like this photograph, assuming it’s of her bedroom that’s how I started making the props like the light switch rings and I used ephemera within the pieces, it just involved me getting a magnifying glass and observing what was there.

So aside from Daisy Hooper, who would your ultimate JdL girl be?

I do love Helena Bonham Carter who has worn some of my pieces before, I think she’s a good advocate for me. Otherwise Elsa Schiaperelli.

I am fascinated by your tendency to conceal things in jewellery, like the Red Relished Apple pendant with the Diamond worm which you wouldn’t know was there unless it was pointed out. What makes you want to hide things which are generally thought to be shown off?

It’s something I’ve always been in interested in, I based my dissertation on the Japanese art of concealment. It wasn’t to do with design so much, rather than the packaging itself and how it’s been used like how they would wrap up a bunch of grapes and the contents would actually be less than the wrapping itself which is quite an inspiration to how I make jewellery. As a result of seeing how they wrap things, I would hope that my work is luxurious and high end especially with the finish personal touches that I give to all my customers so it’s personally made for them. It takes them to that place I was in while I was making it.

Going back to Daisy Hooper, I wasn’t doing my degree to be a prop maker so I had to make them jewellery based. I like the cunning aspect of ‘designing against crime’, hiding it and then it converts so its just for you because only you knew it was hidden from everyone else. I believe function in beauty is important.

Your bestsellers are interestingly the Wax Seal Signature pieces, why do you think customisation is so big now?

We all like ourself, it’s quite egotistical really. We are all quite proud to be wearing our own initials, if not be romantic and wear your partners. I also think in terms of gifts it’s an easy one, but personalisation at the moment is just key. Wax seals often have a wonderful romanticism there, much like a memory people can hold onto and it’s relevant in their own mind, even though they don’t write letters which is another thing that holds more of a precious tone because the whole writing letter thing has gone out the window, it’s something we can relate to.

If I didn’t have it, I would probably do more exhibitions and shows and be more of an artist, rather than a ‘selling jeweller’.

In that case, would you say you’re part artist and part jeweller?

Yeah that’s what I like to think of myself, I’m not just a making robot.

Of course not. Speaking about the creating side of things, how long is your ‘making of’ process?

It usually takes me about two weeks, but I can really push it if I have to. Everything is made here and now apart from the casting and plating which takes place in Hatton Gardens. I was thinking about this earlier, when someone asks you to do something quickly you feel like it’s the singular most important thing in their life at that moment so I’m like ‘yes, of course I can do it’ and end up taking on this really big role, my customers are like part of the family of my brand as everything is so personalised. People come back to me because I had their signet stamps made, like a portion of their history which can be re-used for them and their family.

Especially now I do the ‘Jewellery For Life’ service with my brother who does Graphic Design, he works with the customer to design their coat of arms and then he sends it to me to make it into a pendant.

What does luxury mean to you?

For me, luxury is something noone else has it doesn’t have to be something amazingly expensive but something thats really well made and bespoke. Something that was made entirely for you.

I love how refreshingly and unashamedly romantic your jewellery is, where do you think that side comes from?

Without sounding really cheesy, I just think I’m very much in love and that’s made me a more sensitive person. I get more emotional about things now than I ever have done. My husband and I have been together for a long time and we’ve had really good and really hard times and it softens you up. So yeah, being in love, being with Nathan and having a wonderful family.

How do you find running your own business coupled with married life?

My husband is cool about it, because he’s in a band so he’ll be on tour for six weeks, we’re both self employed so it works really well. Plus he’s Canadian and really chilled out, we have a good balance – it’s taking me some time to step outside my workshop on a friday night and not feel guilty about it.

I’m seeing a lot of influences from different decades like 40’s wartime, Victorian and a hint of 30’s nostalgia in your studio, how would you describe your personal style?

Eclectic, colourful and playful.

Which era would you have most liked to have been a part of?

I would love to have lived in the roaring 20’s and been a flapper girl. Craftsmanship wise I love the Victorian and Edwardian times, the detailing and creating of that time is absolutely amazing.

What’s your luxury fix in your collection?

The functioning handcuff jewellery, as they’re interchangeable and you can open up with the key so it becomes a bit of a show when you put them on.

..and personally?

My luxury fix is being able to work for myself, like every thursday I go to Spitalfields market and go hunting for new things that inspire me and making it into something else. That for me is a luxury, as well as spending time with my family – we’re very close and supportive of each other.

What’s your favourite piece of jewellery from your collections?

Definitely the light switch ring, it’s functional you can put it up on the wall or wear it as a ring.

Any other jewellery designers you would wear?

I absolutely love Momocreatura

That’s quite a contrast to you as her jewellery is quite dark..

I love mourning jewellery and those kind of things, I’ve even done taxidermy before.

Wow! Tell me more about that

I did a class for my shows really, I’ve taxidermied a squirrel looking really cute, I have no problem doing that again. I’m always looking out for new jewellery displays so I use ‘Jim’ the Squirrel at all my shows. He sits cross legged and nibbles away at one of my Red Relished Apple Necklaces. Show off! It makes the display fun and brings people to your stand so they can have a little giggle, it tells a whole new story. Taxidermy can be horrifying sometimes but I like to make mine cute.

Amazing, what other hidden talents do you behold?

I am very flexible and was asked by my yoga teacher at college to be in a circus! To this day, I am a big fan of Bikram yoga.

Ah another yoga fan! What do you like about British design?

I am fully British, my surname De Lotz is Dutch from a few generations back. I think most of the commissions that I’ve done are quite British like with the Smythson collaboration, the subject of the brief was actually the English Monarchy so I think that has influenced where my work has been taken from there on.

Where things are relevant to you, you start collecting and that sparks something else. I like the Regal element, not the modern commemorative memorabilia but from the 1800’s up its very beautiful so it’s all about the workmanship.

So if you moved away, how would that affect your work?

I have a strong sense of identity so I don’t think that would matter, it’s very much ingrained in the person I am.

I’ve noticed you use a lot of black diamonds in your jewellery, do you have a preference?

Well anyone can have a white diamond, I find the black ones are more intriguing.

Do you have any plans for using other coloured diamonds in future?

Yes, that will be in my next collection so keep your eyes peeled!

Shop Jessica De Lotz on LUX FIX

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Miss LF
LUX FIX

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The incredibly fabulous, funny and successful Co-Founders of LUX FIX Rebecca Glenapp & Alice Hastings-Bass share with you mere mortals the secret to finding a Fashion start-up in the most Rom-Com way they could think of..

Presenting ‘When Rebecca met Alice’

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With these hot summer days drawing in, it’s hard to know what to wear during office hours which will take you through to evening cocktails.

Miss LF is currently a little bit obsessed with the SS13 white trend which is rocking up in our boutique, taken as the ultimate day-to-night chic colour – just as long as you don’t spill your Wasabi lunch down it.

Take a look at our top five picks of the white on white trend;

MiH Jeans in Nougat Cape

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These classic leg-lengthening jeans from MiH are an elegant alternative to skinny jeans. Pair with open toe heels for an understated and cool look.

YOLKE Silk Stretch Tee White

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This sophisticated wardrobe stable lends it’s pull-on easy fit to a gorgeous loose fit silk number, ideal for daytime office wear then tucked into a high waisted skirt for the evening.

Safor White Box Clutch

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This sleek clutch design from Safor uses embossed white and gold calves leather, simplicity in practicality never looked so good.

LA DiOSA White Asteria Ring

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The goddess of the stars, Asteria inspired this collection of naturally formed white Druzy Agate stones, adding instance elegance to those well-polished fingers.

Hayley Menzies Jessica Cream Scarf

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This luxury cashmere scarf with recycled rabbit fur trim can be styled in a number of different ways, wear around your neck for an effortlessly cool daytime style or draped over your shoulders for those cooler summer evenings.

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Caroline Stanbury, Fashion Entrepreneur and Founder of Gift Library, opens up her wardrobe and walks us through this season’s must haves.

Outfit 1: Occasionally I will work from home especially if the children are on school holidays; having my own online business allows this flexibility. At home I like to be comfortable and casual, mainly because I need to be prepared to run around after my children! When I am casual I live in black leggings – these ones are from Theory. I buy my basic separates, such as this grey top, from Splendid.

Outfit 2: I love wearing statement colours and cut out shapes. I spotted this coat in the AW12 Dior collection and fell in love. Tailored classic coats with a pop of bright colour feature heavily this season. A mid-length coat is perfect for when the weather starts to get cold and looks great over skinny jeans.

Outfit 3: If I am going out to dinner with friends in London, I like to make an effort. This dress is definitely a mini-dress, but with its round neck and long sleeves isn’t over the top.  Here I have chosen to wear nude pair of shoes from Zanotti.

Outfit 4: I am definitely more of a casual person but when I do have to dress up, I like to make a statement. My favourite designers to wear to events are Vionnet, Pucci and Cavalli. This black, floor-length lace dress from Pucci is one of my favourites. It’s got great detailing, and the scoop back is beautiful.

Outfit 5: I found this on a trip to Celine in Paris. I love the wealth of monochrome this season and colour blocking is another big trend this Autumn. As the top is so bold, I would keep it simple with black trousers and black stilettos to avoid it being overpowering.

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Pure pop princess of Norway, Karin Parks, has ridden the pop carousel and now resides in the mysterious electro shadows. It is the dark twist of this gothic electro pop princess’s music and personal style that has caused the English music scene to sit up and take notice. Karin Parks talks to LUX FIX about men in high heels, recording naked and sheep fur coats with stockings – delectable! 

Karin’s fourth album: ‘Highway Poetry’ marks a musical turnabout. Once a pure pop princess, she listened to her third album and thought, “I don’t like this – this is just boring to listen to”. She was, she says in her soft and mesmerising, voice, caught in ‘this pop circus, pop carousel thing.’ She was happy to be with a big label; and ‘really happy that someone liked the songs I made’. But since then she has been on a musical journey and waved goodbye to her initial fan base. ‘Maybe that wasn’t a smart career move in terms of success, but I have much wider audience on an international basis now’. And the tracks she makes she’d be proud to find on her ‘own playlist’. 

Her fourth album has taken her from lighter pop to a deeper brooding electronica laced with a dark twist and a dub step vibe (which she has been taking round Europe supporting both SBTRKT and Azari & III on tour).

This has led many to tout her as a gothic electro pop princess – a phrase she thinks ‘correct,’ in that her influences are the likes of Depeche Mode and The Cure – Robert Smith is one of her vocal heroes. But princess? ‘I don’t really feel like a princess’ she muses. But being labelled doesn’t really bother her; recently a girl told her she sounded like a mix between ‘Bjork and Kraftwerk’ she says with a gleaming smile, and ‘that’s a really cool description. ‘

Another label that can thrown in Karin’s direction is stylish: standing at 6ft3, she has an instant presence and when I meet her, slickly dressed in slim, dark trews and a deep ivy green crushed velvet jacket, she appears effortless and yet instantly cool.  And so it seems only right that she should be playing a DJ set at Vogue’s Fashion Night Out – but is Karin a fashionista? ‘I like to have fun with it. It’s something that I use to visualise my music – and when it all comes together with the music and clothes to express the same thing – it becomes more powerful.’  And like a million other girls the world over, the item that empowers her the most is, she says, the high heel. Really? At 6ft3?  She’s matter of fact about it ‘I think high heels shoes are one of the most amazing things that we have in the modern world. I think it is a shame that more men don’t wear high heeled shoes, as you feel so empowered in them.’  And her favourite high heel shoes? ‘Jeffrey Campbell – the proper platform heels because that doesn’t make me look tall, that makes me look something otherworldly. I become so tall, that I feel not human.’

On stage then, she is an ethereal presence, towering over her audience from a great height, but I wonder if that’s how she dresses to record in the studio – her high heels strapped on in order to activate her musical personality? ‘No’, she tells me, ‘It’s not about that at all, it’s, well…I’ve tried different things: I’ve tried to record naked, I’ve tried whatever clothes. Or standing in a bucket of water. I mean, just to try it out but none of those things make a difference. It’s emotions, it totally comes from inside.’

So it’s certainly not tracky bums that Karin records in. In fact, Karin doesn’t really wear ‘cosy stuff’, except when outside at home where she always wears her sheep fur: ‘Because that’s just the most amazing thing to wear. Its so warm, and where I come from it can be -35 in the winter.’ But when she’s not braving the blizzards: ‘I like to just wear stockings and stuff.’ It has to be a little bit…’ she smiles, sexily, ‘it has to make you feel different.’ It’s a look her musician boyfriend (whom she lives with) certainly doesn’t mind.

Sheep fur coats and stockings: it’s a humorous and sexy mix – and Karin thinks of British fashion as ‘uber stylish, but there is always this little twist of humour in it.’ Which she loves; in fact she thinks ‘in Britain in general, everything has a sense of humour to it. Even in the Olympic Ceremony which was cool and representative of Britain yet with a sense of humour.’ She pauses and adds ‘the English are elegant on the outside, but down to earth on the inside’, actually ‘with a few drinks, and they’re back on earth.’

And so perhaps it is not surprising that Karin cites David Bowie as stylish – ‘that’s a given’, and appreciates Gareth Pugh as a designer (‘I really like him). But as to who is and isn’t stylish, she doesn’t think about that too much, as she points out ‘If you behave in a cool way, then you can wear anything.’ She says, ‘I think style is much more about the way you walk, how you talk and that sort of thing.’ And Karin Park walks well, talks well… you know, that sort of thing.


Words: Tibbs Jenkins

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