Designer interview


Jewelry designer Dorine Decayeux’s jewels are unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Her graphic and tubular jewelry is the result of experiments with volume and materials. She studied textile design and Fashion & Environment at the famed École Duperré, but her creative education began long ago. She grew up with a father who made absolutely everything and encouraged her to create, too. Now, Dorine experiments with materials, often choosing the material before she has any idea what she will do with it. “I like to feel that materials have potential, and I try to extract something from them,” Dorine says. It is this potential that Dorine looks to highlight with her simple, graphic jewelry. Focusing on the materials instead of laying out a plan from the beginning allows Dorine to be surprised by the end product, something she has come to treasure. Her work has caught a lot of attention – you can find Dorine at the prestigious Maison & Objet show from Sept. 7-11 2012. Read on to learn more about Vlum.

Hello Dorine – can you please tell us a little more about yourself?

I grew up next to the sea in the north of France in a workshop-house completely made by my father. He made everything by himself and gave me the taste of making things and creating crafts with everything we found. I’ve been interested in design and fashion since an early age, so I decided to study applied art and complete my background with a textile design degree and finally a Fashion and Environment diploma at École Duperré, the Parisian school of fashion. I graduated two years ago and I still live in Paris. I share a workshop with other designers in the south of Paris.

When did you know you wanted to become a jewelry designer?

I wanted to be a designer for a long time, but I didn't know that jewelry was going to be such a great way to express myself. Actually, I use jewelry as a pretext to play with materials and colors, to experiment and build according to my desire. For the moment it's jewelry, but that can become so many other things. I want to stay open to the possibilities offered by the materials I work with.

Can you please tell us about the design process of your jewelry?

I work as a plastics technician: I look for interesting materials, I examine them in different ways and often finish by diverting them from their functions. One day I discovered this weaved material that I bought, that had stayed in the cupboard for a long time before I finally found a way to use it. I like to feel that materials have potential, and I try to extract something from them. The process is this: First I observe, look and allow it to guide me to discoveries! About the inspirations, this first collection is clearly fired forms of nature, but it's the material that guided me towards this theme, thus it is not a deliberate research. I try to make the jewel proliferate on the body so that it's at the same time remarkable and sober, impressive and aerial, elaborate and simple.

You’ve said you like to experiment with volume and “let the material express itself.” Why are you so interested in this?

I've always been interested in the random phenomena of nature, the proliferation, the arborescence, the diffusion. I worked with several studies on this theme and I noticed that we do not grant enough importance to the strength and the potential of the material. It is not only the material that answers a property to create a product, it's as if this material itself had the power to design the product. I don't know why it interesting – maybe because I find that amazing and I am someone who likes surprises!

What sort of creative challenges do you face? Do you ever, for example, have trouble getting inspired or executing your designs?

The principal creative challenges I face are the techniques of production that I try to perfect every day in order to find out how I can diversify the shapes. It takes a long time and requires me to work with other people to find new solutions. My father is a big help for me on this point, he assures the engineering part.

When you were setting up your brand, what challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?

The challenges to setting up my brand were related the business part. I studied design and I had little knowledge about economics, management of a company, communication, accounting... So I asked for help and I took courses with an association that supports young companies during the starting period. I also did internships with other jewelry brands and learned many precious things by observing and discussing with the other designers. Also, it's important to be patient because everything takes time at the starting part of this kind of project.

Who is the Vlum customer?

There is a Vlum jewel for every woman, for every style and every age, from the most discreet to the most extravagant. I try to vary the style of the pieces with the aim of pleasing many women, but the customers are above all people open to the novelty, the adventurous, the avant-garde. My customer is very international with a taste for creation and art. The pieces find a place in museum shops, for example.

Please tell us about your favorite Vlum piece.

My favorite piece is always the last I create, so it changes all the time!

What’s next for Vlum?

I've just won a competition that will allow me to show my work during, Maison & Objet, the most important design show in Paris, next September. It is a way to help a new audience discover my brand and why not, help me direct a little more energy towards the object.

Do you have any advice for other independent designers?

Take risks if you have proof that your work is pleasing and will find its clientele, observe the competitors, propose other things, work day and night, do not neglect communication and be patient!

You are based in Paris – where do you like to spend your free time?

There are a lot of places I like to go: For shopping, my favorite is le Marais, for eating I like Asian food and I love the rue Saint-Anne in the Opera district or l'avenue de Choisy in the thirteenth. I like the Canal Saint-Martin for a drink and le Parc de la Villette for the outdoor cinema at night in summer!

Name three things you cannot live without.

My workshop, my friends and the freedom to wake up when I want!

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