Kilian Hennessy of indie fragrance brand By Kilian and fine jewelry designer Loree Rodkin are merging their shared interest in gothic, medieval sensibilities.
The two partnered to create a limited-edition By Kilian + Loree Rodkin collection of scented fine jewelry that will hit bykilian.com, Bergdorf Goodman, Forty Five Ten, Maxfield and Podium in Moscow on Nov. 1. The six-piece range is rooted in armor — a motif that could be found on every By Kilian bottle and a longtime theme in Rodkin’s designs.
A scented ceramic stone is placed inside each of the six silver, diamond and leather pieces, which start at $2,950 for an engraved leather bracelet and go up to $10,000 for a pavé diamond-encrusted pendant. The same leather bracelet, ring and pendant were each created in pavé and non-pavé versions, and a By Kilian fragrance of the customer’s choosing comes with each purchase.
“I always felt that her designs were erotic armors. There is something very sexy about her designs, but they also are like an armor — not per se a shield — but it’s an armor. Her designs are very medieval in that sense,” Hennessy said. “On my bottles I have a shield… Perfume is as much about seduction as it is protection.”
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Rodkin added: “We have the same deep, dark Romeo-and-Juliet tortured love sensibility,” she said of her and Hennessy’s gothic aesthetic, which is synergistic despite them working in two entirely different industries.
Hennessy said that the porous nature of ceramic allows the scent to hold throughout the day, and all the wearer has to do is pop out the ceramic pearl and spray it when desired. He called it his way of making perfume “visible,” or a way to offer a visual expression of one’s fragrance.
Hennessy added that for him, aesthetic comes first and technicality and engineering is secondary and must “disappear.” This is why he and Rodkin worked to perfect the jewelry pieces first — and then figured out how to scent them after.
“It’s the opposite of the Bauhaus movement. There, the functionality creates the aesthetic. I hate that; it’s not my philosophy at all. You have to force engineering to adapt to your aesthetic,” Hennessy said. “I hate the Apple Watch for that reason. I’d much rather have a beautiful watch that on top of it gives you the advantage that a smartwatch can give you.”
This is just the beginning for Hennessy, though, who said he has bigger plans to get into the jewelry category in 2017. He collaborated with Paige Novick last year on a range of fine jewelry that had a similar price point to his and Rodkin’s offerings — five pieces that ranged from $2,200 to $8,000 – but in order to scale the category and make it a permanent part of his collection, he acknowledged that he must make the prices more accessible.
“We really see it going all the way… It’s a real point of difference,” Hennessy said.
He is currently in negotiations with another designer to create “elevated costume” scented jewelry to be released as part of the brand’s 10th anniversary celebration next year. Hennessy declined to say who the designer is – yet – but noted that the upcoming pieces could be priced between $700 to $900.