Creating some of the most intriguing and innovative jewellery in fashion, with a new retrospective of her past five years’ work taking place in Florence, Delfina Delettrez invites us into her wacky and wonderful mind, or as she would have us know it, her ‘Delphinarium’!
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When we were playing with wormaries and kissing slugs in our youth, Delfina was exploring her fascination with more exotic creatures, an interest that would later prove great inspiration for her work. Over time she has explored many of her greatest curiosities through her craft as a jewellery designer and in the new exhibition, opened this week as part of the Pitti funfair, she looks back on the lot. Unlike many jewellery makers DD chooses to follow the fashion seasons, and with each collection delivering a new chapter in the Delettrez saga, it’s developing into quite a fascinating tale. In amongst the conveyer-belt of precious pieces, the wigs adorned with fine stones and three transparent spheres where her jewels held court with a crab, tropical frogs, bees and some pretty terrifying amphibians, i-D online took a few minutes to talk to the thoroughly modern Mother Nature about her life’s achievements
Tell us about your relationship with Florence… Well, I have a very close relationship with Florence, because I work with artisans who are very close to the city. So I go back and forth here every week. They’re a little outside of the city. They call it the ‘City of the Gold’, it’s where you have all of the craftsmen.
So do the materials get sourced locally as well? [Describing the live bees buzzing around one of the orbs containing her work] these are from Florence. The frogs are well, tropical, but they were living in Rome—and the two fishes as well.
They’re fish? They’re two amphibians. They are like prehistoric fish. They look like plesiosaurus, but they are fishes. They’re like, primordial.
They’re like dinosaurs? Yes.
Could you explain the inspiration process from the animals to the pieces. Is there a direct relationship? I really like to, let’s say ‘play’, with real animals. These are my obsession. These frogs have always been my obsession. The first animal I used to represent with the jewellery, were the frogs. After focussing on skulls, I really wanted to make a live animal, and with the frog you can see the heart beating and the colours are so incredible— you don’t know which ones are fake, and which ones are real. So I really wanted to play with this. And the bees; I am just obsessed. They are like the architect of nature, they are perfect, they are mathematical, they are… incredible! It’s like an architectural piece of art.
There’s a trend at the moment in London for bee-keeping. Do you have a home hive? In the countryside, yes. We have our own hive, and we are making our own honey.
And you eat it? Of course! It’s the future, you know? I love my honey. It’s gorgeous.
Do you look back over your archive regularly? A lot, yes. And I like to sometimes really evolve some, keep them going, to keep evolving, to keep the story going. I see them like chapters of the same book. You can see there’s a line from each collection to the other. Even if each collection starts and dies from one obsession, it’s buried into each one. It’s a process.
Is there a beginning, a middle and an end? No, I haven’t seen an end.
You seem like a very curious person, what are your dreams like? It depends really. Sometimes I’m fortunate. Sometimes I’m happy. Sometimes I’m in a bubble. You don’t know where the dreams end and life begins.
Text: Sean Baker
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