Dua Lipa is the sartorial gift that keeps on giving. Her hypnotic, dance-friendly hits are only part of the reason why fans flock to her high-voltage style filled with nostalgic wardrobe staples and early aughts-approved accessories. But a deep dive into what makes her energetic fashion sense sing wouldn’t be complete without a look at one of Dua Lipa’s favorite labels, created by 30-year-old, Italian-based jewelry designer Bea Bongiasca.
Bongiasca’s natural fit among the pop princess’ fun-loving wardrobe of vibrant prints and cropped basics comes as no accident. Her whimsical creations are filled with pop culture influences, seen in highlighter hues and the use of child-like shapes. But behind the collectible range of baubles, lies Bongiasca’s refined technique that elevates gold jewelry with jolts of colorful enamel. “The evolution from the plain gold to bright enamel on the gold gives the jewelry a kinetic movement as well as a bold pop look,” Bongiasca tells TZR. The combination of classic metallics with trending hues set in enamel creates an approachable playfulness that feels oh so right for 2021.
"The way designers are using enamel now is as a unique way of painting color that people see as youthful and fun,” adds California-based jewelry designer Sarah Hendler. But something about Bongiasca’s use of organic lines, ornamental stones, and playful hues just hits different this year. This is glam that makes you giggle a little bit. “I think that people are looking for happy and carefree things to remind them that after this difficult period we are living in, there will be sun again,” offers Bongiasca. “[These are] mood-boosting jewels! They are pop, playful, and fun but at the same time very complex and elegant.”
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Born in Switzerland, but raised in Milan, Bongiasca has gotten the attention of some of the most influential names in music and style with her demi-fine, “mood-boosting” collections. There’s an innate optimism in her designs that comes from both her color choices and scribble-like shapes. “I believe that we should always embrace color, but if there is a moment where it is needed more than ever, it would definitely be this year,” she muses. “It is never a mistake to add more brightness around you, as David Hockney said 'I prefer to live in color'.”
Adding a piece or two (or 12) from the designer’s recent “You’re So Vine” collection to your outfit formula is less daunting than you might think for minimalists. “I think it is easier to wear a colorful, bold item of jewelry since, in the end, they are relatively small, compared to say, a fuchsia jumpsuit or an orange sweatshirt,” she quips. “There are hints of color that pop out from a ‘neutral color’ outfit and I find that more interesting and elegant than wearing head-to-toe vibrant colors (not that I don't wear all pink or orange outfits because I do).”
Brightly hued, color enamel pieces are not new to the world of fine and semi-fine jewelry. Jewelry makers dating as far back as the 13th century B.C.E. have crafted pieces that incorporate the melted glass compound technique. In the centuries since highly saturated enamel jewels have made an appearance in a number of important fashion movements including Japanese art-inspired works in the 19th century and Victorian gothic style.
But, the artistic jewelry method is most often associated with Art Nouveau-era designs that, like Bongiasca’s work, were frequently botanical-themed and influenced by colors, shapes, and textures found in nature. Cut to 2021, and the world is looking for a little light-hearted whimsy in the form of fun accessories to work with both sweatpant outfits and fancy going-out tops alike. Perhaps, it’s time to start living in color again?