GOODBYE, GUY: After 16 years as creative director and head designer at Bali-based, silver-centric jewelry brand John Hardy, Guy Bedarida has left the company. The move, according to Bedarida, was a mutual agreement between the recently acquired Catterton equity firm brand and the designer, who wishes to return his design focus to precious gemstone high-jewelry, what he refers to as his “premiers amours.”
Bedarida joined the company in the late Nineties when namesake founder Hardy was still at the helm after working as head designer for Van Cleef & Arpels, USA. His CV also includes designing for celebrated Place Vendôme houses, including Boucheron. When Hardy decided to sell the business eight years ago, Bedarida, along with former chief executive officer Damien Dernoncourt, bought the company in a management buyout.
Referring to living and working in Bali as a “blessing,” Bedarida said the experience enriched him personally as he was able to touch the lives of those he employed. He imparted French jewelry drawing techniques as well as breathed new life into teams of Balinese illustrators, wax-carvers, metalsmiths and stonecutters, all of whom work by hand. During his tenure he also created a charity, “Job for Life,” which trained local orphans with a skill of their choice — ranging from design to IT — that eventually led to employment at the company. He also championed the needs of some single mothers, allowing them to work at home as silversmiths weaving the brand’s iconic chain while still being able to care for their families. Programs such as these helped define John Hardy’s “sustainable” brand title.
Bedarida, who stayed on in Bali to help with the transition, said he is working on a new yet-to-be-disclosed project that will keep him stateside more than he currently is. For the foreseeable future, Eva Jeanbart-Lorenzotti, Vivre’s founder, will help execute John Hardy product for the next few seasons. “I’m leaving the company when it is at its best ever,” Bedarida told WWD. “I am ready for a new challenge and leave to Eva and the team over 30 years of archives, which include 35,000 sketches of great designs to work with until they name a new creative director.”
John Hardy ceo Robert Hanson expressed gratitude for “Guy’s many contributions to the brand” and wished him “the best of luck in his future endeavors.” Regarding the search for a new creative director — who will presumably spend more time in the company’s recently relocated New York headquarters — Hanson further clarified Lorenzotti’s role as “creative advisor and interim creative director,” saying she will continue much of the role she began in October 2014 as she collaborated with Guy on the last two collections. Lorenzotti’s long-term experience as a luxury-branding expert and curator will be a key component of the brand moving forward, as it focuses on its four signature groups: Bamboo, Dot, Classic Chain and Legends, which includes Naga, the dragon from Balinese legend that became a brand icon under Bedarida.