Introducing Dominic Jones as Creative Director of Astley Clarke with his first collection as a perfect trifecta

by PARIS SOCIAL DIARY, photography by COURTESY | 19 February, 2017

Dominic Jones presents his first collection as Creative Director of Astley Clarke. Composed of three parts, the collection marks Jones’ return to London Fashion Week, three years after his 10th and final collection under his eponymous label.

The debut marks a turning point for Astley Clarke who intend to expand and develop their already-successful jewellery offer to cater further to an informed, modern woman keen to build her collection. Their commitment to colour, quality and meaning remains central, with Jones focusing on repositioning materials and gems, noting their heritage.

The collection navigates between three interconnected groups: Astronomy, Phototaxis and Colour of Calder. Drawing on Astley Clarke’s tradition of looking to the natural world for inspiration, the triptych collection takes ‘light’ as it’s central theme and interprets into a physical, an instinctive and an emotive context.

“I’m immensely proud to be leading the Astley Clarke creative team. This collection builds on my history of combining modern and classical techniques in a way that is sensitive to the history of jewellery. I want these pieces to be considered future antiques – pieces you treasure and hand down.” says Dominic Jones.

The presentation of each group is accompanied by three corresponding films which feature Adwoa Aboah for Astronomy, Georgia May Jagger for Phototaxis and Alice Dellal for Colour of Calder. Each film has been soundtracked with songs from Cosmo; a project by Felix White.

Drawing inspiration from the solar system, this collection uses stones to capture the essence and feel of each planet. The iridescence and galaxy-like feel of labradorite is harnessed to represent Jupiter, while ‘Mars’ is crafted from a flat slice of ruby, with an unexpected martian emblem set using emerald. Throughout, single diamonds are set into bands or arranged seemingly haphazardly across chains to suggest stars, while a pearl suggests the Moon orbiting the Earth.

The narrative prevalent in the Astley Clarke archive informed the pieces, which nod to the inspirations behind signature Astley Clarke collections such as Interstellar, Cosmos and Superstar.

Here, modern, intelligent twists are added – for example, the signature Astley Clarke pavé is turned opposite to its usual direction to mirror the Earth’s spin. To mark Astley Clarke and Jones’ shared commitment to protecting the natural world, 10% of sales from the Earth pieces will be donated to the World Land Trust.

An interest in storytelling informs this collection, which takes inspiration from British moths and, as the name of the collection suggests, their movement in response to light. The line seeks to capture the romance and sensitivity of Art Nouveau jewellery in striking, modern pieces.

Jones’ background in handcraftsmanship is central – traditional glass enamelling is prominent, while golds are hand-painted so each inset diamond is paired tonally in a striking gradient. Subversion is handled with sensitivity, the Death’s-head hawkmoth, which features a skull-shaped mark on its thorax, is a Trojan horse within the collection.

Again, the history of Astley Clarke is central, Bec Astley Clarke’s grandfather, Sir Cyril, a geneticist, helped cure Rhesus disease affecting pregnant women through research into winged insects. Touchingly, Georgia May Jagger, who models the collection on film, has benefitted from his research as her grandmother was a Rh-negative mother who needed his discovered treatment when having children.

A contemporary offering by Jones, this sterling silver collection is a fashion proposition. Building on Astley Clarke’s focus on stacking and layering, the range sees dynamic, modernist pieces decorated with charming and unexpected colour pops that present semi precious stones in a forward-thinking manner.

Pieces are plated using 18ct gold and rhodium finishing and colour combinations are punchy; pink opal is united with rose, malachite is matched with yellow, onyx is teamed with black. This marks a period of experimentation and colour for Jones, whose history of form comes together with Astley Clarke’s reputation for bright hues.

The pieces draw inspiration from the art collection and flamboyant style of Peggy Guggenheim and the pioneering kinetic work of artist Alexander Calder. In tribute to both, unexpected twists and moments of unconventional matching run throughout, hence the focus on mixed metals.