LONDON — Eugenie Niarchos is introducing a new collection as part of her fine jewelry label, Venyx. Titled “Elementa,” the line is inspired by the four elements essential to life: earth, water, fire and air.
The designer looked at a variety of symbols associated with the four elements when designing the collection, from the ancient Egyptians’ interpretations of them to movies such as “The Fifth Element,” and “Cloud Atlas,” which she defines as “spiritual science fiction.”
Some of the outstanding pieces include pendants in the shape of the sun, which incorporate multicolored pavé diamonds and larger center stones, such as opals.
Nature and science fiction have always been reference points for Niarchos’ futuristic creations. Venyx is named after the planet Venus and the stone onyx, and represents a make-believe planet filled with unique living creatures and powerful natural phenomena, all imagined by the designer. Each collection captures different discoveries on planet Venyx.
“I love to travel and discover nature, so each collection is usually inspired by a different trip,” Niarchos said. “Elementa is inspired by Patagonia; it was such a unique place to travel to, and see the glaciers and the contrasts in the nature of the region.”
Venyx pieces are made in Italy using 18-karat gold and stones sourced by Niarchos during a yearly trip to Tucson, Ariz., which she describes as her favorite part of the design process.
Niarchos was quick to build an extensive retail network for Venyx, which includes major online and brick-and-mortal retailers such as Colette in Paris, Bergdorf Goodman in New York, The Webster Miami, Net-a-porter and Dover Street Market in London and Ginza in Tokyo.
Recognizing that her brand is still in its early stages, Niarchos prefers to focus on working with key retailers such as Dover Street and take private appointments at her showroom, before thinking about opening a store.
Working on more customized pieces for private clients, as well as pop-up stores, are two other areas of focus for the designer. Since launching “Elementa” earlier this month, Niarchos has hosted a series of pop-up events at Dubai-based concept store S*uce, and at fellow jewelry designer Ileana Makri’s Athens boutique.
Her next event will take place at the Ritz hotel in London, alongside a variety of young labels including the ethical brand Muzungu Sisters, fellow jeweler Noor Fares and contemporary designer Racil, known for her fresh take on the tuxedo.
Earlier this year, Niarchos also launched a pop-up store in Mykonos’ Belvedere Hotel, tapping the island’s international crowd. She plans to continue working with the hotel next summer.
“When the Belvedere hotel approached me it was an easy decision. I love the hotel, I find its decor and surroundings really inspiring. It’s at the top of Mykonos town and draws a really great crowd; people can dress up for the evening or just come in straight from the beach; it’s a really relaxed, great vibe. Plus I like doing things that are slightly outside the box.”
While her sources of inspiration might vary — past collections referenced the goddess of light Titaness Theia in the form of meteorite and star-shaped pieces or the texture of reptiles’ skins — Niarchos highlights that all her designs are light and destined to be worn on a daily basis.
“I don’t want to be a traditional jewelry label. There’s variety in my collections — I can design something for a younger or an older lady but everything is meant to be worn every day and not reserved for formal occasions.”
Niarchos has also recently launched a series of collaborations with fellow jewelry label CVC Stones and the Athens-based resortwear brand Zeus and Dione. She has favored collaborations since the beginning of her career, having worked alongside Gaia Repossi when that designer was first appointed artistic director of her family’s business and also created two collections of costume jewelry for Azzaro before launching her own label.
“I try to team up with designers I look up to and I’m always open to experimenting, even outside jewelry,” Niarchos said.
Her collaboration with Charles de Viel Castel of CVC stones was born out of their mutual fascination with astrology and precious stones. The collection includes one-of-a-kind pebbles set with diamonds in the shape of the different astrological constellations.
“I’ve always had the lucky coin pendants in my collections which at the back include diamonds set in astrological constellations. So we decided to work together with Charlie, who is also a good friend, to do something similar using rare pebbles. There’s a raw but at the same time precious quality to the pieces, so you can wear them every day,” said Niarchos.
Her next project will be a non-profit range created for a charity that works towards helping women living in underprivileged circumstances, while a second phase of the “Elementa” collection is slated to launch in March.