Maria Francesca Pepe, MFP, opens the doors of her London studio to talk inspiration, love and literature.
What are you inspired by?
I am a femme fatale in my inner essence and therefore I get inspired by the beauty of silent movies and burlesque actresses, as well as by the more contemporary version of it: punk, pop and kitsch. My main inspiration is the idea of transforming what is considered ugly and dangerous into emotion and beauty. I actually think beauty is in the eye of the beholder and in the sensation that comes from it.
What are your design signatures?
MFP Jewellery-Wear. It’s body-jewellery in the form of bold statement pieces that have an interchangeable value with clothing itself. The MFP ‘tubular’ has become an iconic piece as well as the Ade cross ring and the teeth necklace, studs mixed with pearls and gothic-pop inspired chains. Each MFP piece is full of meanings and analogies and is conceived as an amulet: something that you can carry and wear against time.
How would you describe the MFP woman?
The MFP woman is strong but feminine, enjoys her sensuality but is still elegant and magnetic. She is contemporary, fashion aware and avant-garde, but at the same time she can be effortlessly chic and bewitching.
What’s your secret tip or recipe for the Christmas season?
MFP: A fireplace, grilled chestnuts, thick wollen jumper and a big smile.
I’m most looking forward to giving my other half/mum/best friend… this Christmas.
MFP: I’ll give a kiss under the laurel to my boyfriend, lots of jewellery to my mum and cheap ugly funny presents to my friends!
For a Christmas eve extravaganza, I would want my fairy godmother to bring me the following outfit...
MFP: A Celine bag, Chloe Sevigny for Opening Ceremony high platform shoes, Anne Demeulemeester leather trousers, a Comme des Garcons jacket and chunky MFP jewellery!
I would like to find this vintage piece… under the tree (from any time or place – LUX FIX time machine at your service).
MFP: A 90s Yamamoto’s black knotted dress.
Finally Christmas just isn’t Christmas until I hear…
MFP: I have tickets to get on a flight and go back home!
Our event this week is infamous tubular bracelet from from Lady Gaga favourite, avant-garde designer Maria Francesca Pepe. It’s been rocked all over the world and our resident stylist has also cooked up some home-grown London looks to get you inspired by this modern classic. So without further ado…
Sienna Miller likes to make hers stand out with subtle greys and blacks.
LUX FIX resident stylist works it with electric blue for a glamorous day look.
Leighton Meester uses hers as statement jewellery with a subtle pop of neon.
Turquoise nails look fabulous with MFP gold, not to mention the leopardskin…
A double up on S/S trends – statement jewellery on statement print!
Agyness Deyn triples up on trends with neon, statement print And her MFP Tubular.
And to finish she keeps it simple for a night out, highlighting the gorgeous varnished gold.
Q. MFP has led the way in blurring the boundaries between jewellery and clothing, how did you come to the concept of Jewellery-Wear?
A. I see myself as a versatile designer and I have conceived my brand under that concept. MFP is jewellery-wear, which means that accessories become the starting point to create a look. I find this a subversive attitude towards fashion, still strongly contemporary and pop.
I believe in changing the perspective in life and art, with an ‘Inside-Out’ approach forming the leit-motif of my collections.
MFP Jewellery-Wear Chain Dress out on the town…
Q. The gothic fairytale of your AW11 collection was named after Fortuna, a Roman goddess with the power over man’s fate. How did she inspire the statement headpieces of the collection?
A. I believe we make our own ‘fortuna’ and I wanted to make mine.
I conceive jewellery as amulets that bring good luck and memories. In this way I want MFP customers to treasure what they buy. I don’t believe in consuming goods, but in living them and making them our own, filled with our energy.
I often look at the ancient tribal cultures and rituals and I am inspired by fetishism, pop culture and religious aesthetic.
Q. Lady Gaga is obviously a huge fan of your designs and was recently spotted in London wearing AW11’s Fauno headpiece. Tell us all about dressing Gaga!
A. That’s the funniest part of my job when you meet someone like her. She can wear absolutely anything fearlessly and make it work, she’s a master of that. Her stylists Nicola Formichetti and Anna Trevelyan are geniuses. They have perfectly translated her uber-pop outrageous appeal into high fashion.
I have just created some bespoke pieces for Gaga and it’s been an exciting journey I want to repeat.
From left: MFP’s A/W 2011 Fauno headpiece, MFP bespoke piece and MFP Chain Trousers
Q. Your star-studded following doesn’t stop with Gaga – Rihanna, Cheryl Cole, SJP, Sienna Miller and Beth Ditto to name but a few. Living or dea d, which celebrity would you most like to see wearing your designs?
A. Theda Bara, the silent film star and original sex symbol. She’s THE femme fatal and my everlasting inspiration. I think I even look a bit like her…!
I would also like to put a hat on the Duchess of Cambridge sooner or later!
Q. Finally (we have to ask), can you give us a sneak preview of what’s inspiring you for SS12?
A. Poison potions, the power of crystals and stones, Egyptian goddesses and crowns.