Second Life: from Art and Fashion to Jewels

Their past includes a concert hall stage and the fashion system catwalks. Now, four young women are jewelers and founders of brands admired by Hollywood stars and even Her Majesty.


  • Charlotte Chesnais, Anna Hu, Sophie Mckay, Eugenia Oliva and Claire O'Keefe

    Charlotte Chesnais, Anna Hu, Sophie Mckay, Eugenia Oliva and Claire O'Keefe

Achieving important targets in one’s own profession and then... changing course, starting from scratch and taking on a new sector, or founding one’s own brand. A self-challenge, either due to curiosity or to give vent to something that then turns out to be an inborn talent. There are many reasons why a person might choose to press the ‘reset’ button. And there are also many case histories in the world of jewelry. An impressive example is the Taiwanese violinist, Anna Hu, famous concert artist but also a jeweler much admired by stars of such caliber as Gwyneth Paltrow, Nathalie Portman and Madonna. Eugenia Oliva and Claire O’ Keefe - sales & marketing manager at Elie Saab and photographer and freelance costume designer - are, on the other hand, the ‘mothers’ of Keefe Palas, as well as the authors of what could be defined as a ‘temporary collection’, made with organic materials, like leaves or parts of plants and vegetables. Both neo jewelers and founders are, however, former fashion designers.


  • Saturn blow large earring, Charlotte Chesnais

    Saturn blow large earring, Charlotte Chesnais

  • Loop Ring, Bar Jewellery

    Loop Ring, Bar Jewellery

Charlotte Chesnais, born in 1985, graduated at Studio Berçot in Paris, already has 9 years behind her at Balenciaga as a senior designer of ready-to-wear, and three years of collaboration with Kenzo, Kitsune and Paco Rabanne, a mixture of experiences that, if possible, emphasized her already sophisticated and hyper-feminine Parisian DNA. « In 2015, I won the Andam Accessories Prize, and, a year later, I launched my first collection of fine jewelry. Both the buyers and press supported me, believing in me. At the moment we are working on a new logo, new brand identity, new packaging, website.» A brain storming that has therefore been ongoing for 4 years and which according to Charlotte, is founded on three strong and unwavering concepts: «Purity. Plasticity. And being timeless. Even if, in summing up, I could simply say that my jewelry is abstract. Period. Just as one could state that my source of inspiration can be found anywhere and nowhere at the same time. I am curious by nature. I am always on the lookout for new input, in books, art and design galleries, contexts where I imagine that my mind can be ‘nurtured’.» And that’s where Charlotte arrives, ready to transform a detail into a tangible sign. It may be minimal, but it makes the difference. The same road to ultra essential has been embarked upon by Sophie Mckay, who, after graduating in Fashion Design at Westminster University in London, started her designer career in women’s clothing at Burberry. A period in Milan at Versace and the return to London as part of Tom Ford’s creative team did the rest, urging her towards the desire to go it alone. In 2017 she created BAR, bringing with it that aesthetic idea of extreme linearity that the very name, ‘bar’, implies, i.e. pure metal in its simple state before melting. A message that was even transmitted to Her Majesty ... «In February we appeared on the London Fashion Week catwalk for the first time. It was an honor to show my work in the city in which it had been created and even more of an honor to do so in front of the Queen.» Something that amounts to an authentic ‘crowning’ for this young designer with her entrepreneurial spirit and a pencil always at hand to capture architectonic and sculptural ideas either from the works of Brancusi, Arp or Picasso or from the everyday life.

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