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LONDON — Solange Azagury-Partridge’s latest collection is the pits.
This story first appeared in the November 9, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
While her new Stoned collection features lifelike gold fruit pit charms, it also showcases a trove of precious and semiprecious stones, gold cannabis leaves and a variety of playful — and serious — takes on the name.
“Stoned is such a good name and so perfectly appropriate for jewelry,” said Azagury-Partridge, curled up on the dark cherry velvet sofa at her showroom in Westbourne Grove.
The designer also has a fragrance called Stoned created by Lynn Harris of Miller Harris.
“I often start a collection with words — I like to think about their etymology and explore their meaning,” she added, pointing to a gold ring adorned with cannabis leaves and poppy pods, a charm in the shape of a woman being punished by stoning and a Medusa-like creature shaped into a gold cuff.
“There’s a bit of a ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ feel to it, too,” said Azagury-Partridge of the color-drenched collection, which could have been unearthed during a Middle Eastern archeological dig. “I’ve never liked pretty for the sake of pretty — the jewels need to have some kind of meaning and depth.”
Stoned, which will debut Nov. 20 with a short film called “The Letter” starring Thandie Newton, follows Platonic, a diamond-based collection that explored the mystique of outer space and last year’s titanium-based Black Rainbows collection.
This opulent collection, where prices range from $2,300 for a gold Gatekeeper snake ring with green diamond eyes to $396,500 for the Treasure necklace with its gold serpents curling around a host of emeralds, rubies and sapphires, is also a sign of the growing momentum of the company, which is backed by the Vienna-based Labelux Group.
Azagury-Partridge, whose showroom has been a fixture in the luxe-bohemian Westbourne Grove neighborhood for years, said she and her partners are looking to transfer to London’s West End — home to the major fashion and luxury brands — and are scouting for space in Paris and Los Angeles. The designer also has a boutique on Madison Avenue in New York.
In addition to playing with the word stoned, Azagury-Partridge has been creating some rocks of her own. In a part of the collection known as “Real Fakes,” the designer has used ancient plique-a-jour techniques, similar to those utilized in making stained glass, to create gemstones. She’s patented the enameling process, which allows for the creation of faceted, precious gem lookalikes.
The five-minute film, Azagury-Partridge added, reflects her desire to showcase the collection in a different way. Her husband, Murray Partridge, an advertising executive, wrote the script, and her filmmaking pals and clients made the short in exchange for jewelry.
“It’s a little feminist tale, and it’s nice to see the pieces living and breathing with a woman, rather than just being on display,” she said of the film, which was shot at the London private members club Home House.
The short will show in a few small, art house cinemas in London and at least one in New York. Azagury-Partridge has set up a new company, Friends and Family Productions, to do films and other related ventures.