If fashion seeks to satisfy its fervent marriage of clothes and art, it may just have found it in photographer Miguel Villalobos and Graham Tabor’s label, 1-100. As effortlessly as they have merged art, sculpture and fashion, they have fused a strong eclectic modernism with a feeling of pure, delicious fantasy in the one of a kind pieces, offered under the name Piece Unique. The necklaces, bracelets and cuffs, often in sterling silver, leather and rubber seem to encapsulate a youthful, energetic and vital mood that feels right for today and, as we discovered, doesn’t adhere to labels. i-D Online caught up with the charming, yet focused, New York-based duo…
What do you hope to achieve with the label?
Graham: We are building a brand but, really, we want to make a beautiful item that is very personal. Jewellery becomes very personal for the wearer. People have pieces that they wear everyday and that have become a part of how they prepare themselves for the world. It can become a very personal and telling thing that you do in the morning and that’s what’s so beautiful about it.
Miguel: We hope it is something that you put on and you don’t want to leave in a drawer, that you put on a table and that it becomes an object that lives independently whether you use it or not. This is the reason they are so sculptural. We want to create pieces that are as much something that you want to wear as a part of your life and the beautiful things you want to look at everyday.
What was your thought behind approaching the design process without thinking of it in terms of seasons?
GT: We are continually producing these pieces, so they have become more a series than a collection for a season. We may have a series centred on a material or a certain technique. We present it seasonally, but they may be the pieces that are part of a certain series in a past season. For us, it’s about pushing certain themes. The seasonal presentations, which we show in Paris, are a picture in time.
Do you design with the eye of an artist and photographer or with the eye of a designer?
MV: Photography, which I still do, is about lighting and form or people, so I knew about form and shape. I am also an illustrator and thinking in these terms can greatly influence the jewellery. They’re sculptures and we have worked on large sculptures for installations, so the two are very intertwined. These are, however, sculptures that you can use.
GT: Everything is about creative problem solving, whether it’s a photograph, a sweater or a drawing. You ask yourself the same questions. What are my tools? What am I expressing? You apply the same outlook to different situations but it’s the same practice, even though the situation is different.
What’s the idea behind the haute couture element of the label, called ‘Pieces Unique’?
GT: It has become the part of our label that uses the idea and ways of working that are used in haute couture in Paris. It is about craftsmanship and beautiful forms and not having to worry about having to produce more than one piece. We want to keep it very personal in terms of production and so everything is made here in our atelier. We can make that one object as incredible and time consuming as we want because it’s just one piece. We can play with it because they are for special stores or galleries with which we collaborate.
MV: We don’t need to worry about making three or four of them. You make one, so it’s perfect, like giving birth! Recently, we have used horsehair, so they can be quite experimental and we can work with whatever materials we are dreaming about.