Ligia Dias uncovers the unexpected in wearable art. By Jenny Feldman
Pearl beads sewn onto rope. Tartan grosgrain strung with steel washers. Punky chains combined with rich leather. It's these sort of juxtapositions—hard with soft, techno with romantic—that define Ligia Dias' line of consummately crafted, industrial-chic jewelry.
After three years as an accessories design apprentice to Lanvin honcho Alber Elbaz, the Paris-based Dias inaugurated her namesake label in 2005 with a small, Bauhaus-themed group of precisely built necklaces, mostly collarbone-grazing in length. "I learned so much about luxury and ornamentation working beside Alber," says Dias, of her time at Lanvin. "Clothing and jewelry are both ornaments; it just depends on how you wear them."
Last year, Comme des Garçons' Rei Kawakubo stumbled across Dias' creations and personally ordered them for both her Dover Street Market and Aoyama, Tokyo store. Kawakubo was so enamored with Dias' designs that she recruited the designer to take part in the Comme des Garçons knitwear program, for which Dias' jewelry was embroidered onto Kawakubo's garments and sent down the runway. Her eclectic pieces were best in show once again appearing in Phillip Lim's spring/summer 2008 fashion show. This season—Dias' fourth collection, as she does not work on a conventional timeline—the artisan introduced leather for the first time, as well as bracelets, which she describes as "huge wrist jewelry that looks like sculpture."
Pieces from Ligia Dias spring/summer and fall/winter '07 collections.
Although her references run the gamut, she is particularly influenced by the modernist period and, specifically, Bauhaus member Anni Albers, British abstract sculptress Barbara Hepworth, and Constructivist painter Lygia Clark. "My collections are a work in progress," Dias says. And although she has expanded beyond just necklaces and is even considering adding clothing at some point, Dias still considers a bold neck-piece to be the ideal anchoring point for any outfit. "I love necklaces," she says, "because with the simplest gesture, they can magnify the silhouette."
Ligia Dias spring/summer '08 collaboration with 3.1 Phillip Lim.
Ligia Dias photography ©Ligia Dias. 3.1 Phillip Lim photography courtesy of 3.1 Phillip Lim.
Ligia Dias uncovers the unexpected in wearable art.