If you've noticed a spike in jewellery shaped like the female form over the past few years, you have Parisian designer Anissa Kermiche to thank. Her second collection, Body Language, featured earrings of gold hands flipping a rouge-enamelled middle finger and necklaces of décolletages with ruby nipples alongside leg charms with black onyx pubic hair. More recently she moved into the homeware space, creating ceramic vases of bums and boobs and hips and waists, with tongue-in-cheek names like Jugs Jug, Breast Friend and Love Handles Vase.
Launching her eponymous label back in 2016, it was her fortune cookie-esque Paniers Dorés earrings that first caught the attention of fashion's coolest. Before long everyone worth their sartorial salt was donning Kermiche's pieces, and a thousand copycats littered the high street. Her celebration of the female body has garnered her a cult following, and she was one of the first designers to get jewellery-lovers hooked on hammered pearls, but she's perhaps most admired for her architectural touch.
Kermiche's background in engineering and computer science is evident in her artfully crafted mobile-like earrings, where jewels hang perfectly in balance, each piece a work of architecture on the lobe. She describes her jewellery as "wearable art" and draws inspiration from sculptors and painters like Constantin Brâncuși, Francois Morellet and Alexander Calder.
Worn by everyone from Gemma Chan to Adwoa Aboah, and winning the hearts of buyers at Net-A-Porter, Matches Fashion, Liberty, Browns and Harvey Nichols (to name a few of her international stockists), it's fair to say that in the three years since starting out, Anissa Kermiche has come to rule the jewellery sphere. With such a strong eye for proportion, colour and balance, it is no surprise to discover that her home is as artful as her work.
We met the designer in her London home to discuss five things that inspire her, from primary colours to eccentric heels.
"Apart from my love of pearl jewellery, which I got from my mother, my obsession with interior design wasn’t something that I inherited. I’m really passionate about it – when I see something I love, I need to know the designer, the decade, the trend. I started collecting interior design magazines when I lived by myself for the first time about 10 years ago and wanted to furnish my flat. I don’t have a favourite period, I like to mix modern and antique. Sometimes I’ll fall for a Neapolitan cabinet at the same time as a Victorian mirror and a side table from the '70s. For me, the added value is mixing everything together.
One of my favourite spots to buy furniture is the Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen on the northern side of Paris. People practically live there, there’s a real design culture there – it’s the rendezvous for collectors and art dealers – and everyone knows each other. The director of the market was approached to put the stalls online but because it’s France everyone protested! Even if it would have helped the traders – living in London, I’d shop online in a second – they wanted to keep the magic there. Online, I like 1st Dibs, but because it’s always overpriced, I do my visual research there, then try to find the piece on eBay. Then there’s Pamono, where I bought my velvet chaise longue, but I prefer to see things physically – I’m very French in that sense.
I love Architectural Digest. World of Interiors is too grand, too Italian palazzo, which might work for me when I'm older, but not now. It’s good for industry insiders, telling you the best place to source marble for example, but AD is more targeted to the end customer who is looking for fun vases or a chic apple cutter. I display them on this mirror [above] because I saw a low shelf in the Danish interiors magazine RUM [that I wanted] but I couldn’t find. Then I thought, a shelf is just a piece of wood, so I’ll just put one on the floor, but when I moved to this flat, I had a mirror I had no space to hang – et voilà. I like to keep my coffee tables clear, which is where people traditionally display their magazines, so I put them on the mirror. The twin vases behind are a market purchase, the red one was a gift, and the print is a hangover from when I was a teenager! It’s Jim Morrison’s grave in Père Lachaise Cemetery. It’s perhaps time to change it, I think."
"I wasn’t lucky enough to have parents that bought me handbags, so my first big purchase was when I was 24, when I got my first engineering job out of university. Like every girl who dreamed about luxury fashion, I got a Chanel bag – of course! Now, I buy bags as a treat when I do well, it’s my way of gifting myself. I need to feel like I deserve it. I bought a pink quilted Chanel bag about nine years ago. It wasn’t even on display, but the shop assistant opened up a cupboard and I saw a bag that looked like a cupcake – my favourite colour is pink – and I jumped on it. I felt very guilty for a long time after buying it, and I rarely wear it now because it’s too Barbie doll, but I’ll keep it forever. It’s eye candy for me, I just look at it and I’m happy. I used to buy bags for the way they looked, but as I’ve matured it’s about practicality, too.
The Paco Rabanne 1969 chain bag, which I bought this month, is small, sure, but I go to a lot of weddings, and it goes with all my summer jewellery. It will be timeless, too. I also love vintage bags – I wish I could say I inherited the Bottega Veneta bean bag from my grandma, but I didn’t. I bought it in New York at What Goes Around Comes Around. Like everyone else I’m obsessed with Bottega right now, and this orange woven one is a gift from my boyfriend. The Loewe Elephant bag connects with my love of architecture. I love the piercings in the ears – I actually added more holes to put my own jewellery in."
"My ceramics are bodies of all shapes and sizes. I almost felt guilty about making my Jugs Jug, as she has a very thin waist and I didn’t want to send the wrong message out, but I have all kinds of figures in my collection. The most recent pot I made took ages to get the texture right, as I wanted lots of cellulite on her – I’m fascinated by unfiltered imperfections. I was in total denial about what I really wanted to do when I was studying engineering, but the human form would always make its way onto my mood boards at university.
I’ve always loved sculpture, but I never realised how much I loved bodies until people started photographing my home and I saw how many references there are in every room. Maybe I need therapy to understand my obsession! I observe and analyse people’s bodies and proportions a lot. I had the best grades in 3D maths when I was younger; give me an object and I can easily tell you the measurements without a ruler. That spatial awareness is key when designing the kind of jewellery I do. I have a sharp eye in that sense, and because the human body is so complex I find it endlessly fascinating. We’re all such a unique combination of elements, no two of us look the same."
"My first pair of statement shoes were bought a long time ago – a Chanel pair with a coral heel. I still have them now. I have always loved shoes with a sculptural heel, they’re far more interesting. The heel is something to innovate with, that’s why when I had a chance to work on my own shoe [above, right] I focused on that the most. Net-A-Porter asked five jewellery designers to collaborate with Aquazzura on a pair of shoes each, so I was introduced to cofounder Edgardo Osorio. I have a hoop earring with a pearl inside, so I turned that concept into the heel of the shoe. I have a Loewe pair that I love the most. The heel is silver and reminds me of a Zaha Hadid building. When fashion goes beyond just fashion and references other fields like architecture or art, it brings a deeper meaning to your pieces and allows you to justify spending more on them."
"My headboard is by the artist Luke Edward Hall. I saw a room divider he’d done at Liberty and thought I could hang it on the wall, but it was the wrong size. A friend put me in touch with him and I commissioned it. I love his use of colour, and the life that comes from his characters. There’s an innocence and candidness in the people he sketches.
I bought this poster [above, left] in Denmark. I often go to Copenhagen for their fashion week; I think they’re such pioneers in terms of colour and street style – Danish people always look so perfect, they allow themselves to be super creative with their style. The print is from Letz Shop, which sells a selection of posters. I sort of relate to the naked woman covering her hair – I’m obsessed with the female form, and I come from a Muslim background, but I was quite rebellious. I love word play – my vases are called Jugs Jug, Love Handles and Breast Friend. The poster says 'Letz smoke salmon'.
This print [above, far right] is from my third collection’s campaign. As you can see, I love Alexander Calder, and this whole collection was inspired by his mobiles and paintings. It started with his 'Red Gongs', which I saw at the Whitney Museum in New York. I imagined it hanging from a giant ear. This is where my engineering skills came in handy: you have to be so strategic because the weight of the pearl had to be perfect as to not stretch the ear lobe, and the distance between each hanging mobile had to be precise so it wouldn’t droop down the ear. I adore primary colours, which Calder uses a lot, so I made sure the makeup and background were in line.
I met the model at Berghain in Berlin. I saw this tall, magnificent girl in the crowd and asked her for her number. A year later I called her, saying 'You ready?' and she agreed! That’s the beauty of my job: I’m the designer, the creative director, the model-caster, the customer care manager, the producer. I wear so many hats, and I think success lies in managing all those little areas of your business so it feels like 100% your brand. This print [above, second from right] I chose because of the primary colours. I haven’t even gone to the exhibition [at London's Serpentine Gallery] yet, but I saw that Matches Fashion shot it with my vase, which has the same colour blue. Also, it has line-drawn faces, which I’m always looking for."