Where to start with designer, artist and garage-band musician Pamela Love? Put simply, the girl is multi-skilled, multi-faceted and an NYC it-girl – oh, and to top it off, she's a true-born Love. Over recent years the 27 year old has become known for both a chicly thrown-together personal style and successful eponymous jewellery line – a range of iconic designs melding symbolic remnants of nature (she's a self-described science and nature obsessive) with rock'n'roll attitude that strike an easy balance between the masculine and feminine. Love's characteristically raw and robust eagle-claw cuff has been seen in endless magazine editorial and advertising campaigns, as well as on the wrists of high-profile friends and fans including model Lily Donaldson and lifelong fashion insider Julia Restoin-Roitfield; while her recent collaboration with New York's high-end label Marchesa, known for extravagant red-carpet ready confections, saw her moodily whimsical jewellery and metalwork take to the Bryant Park catwalk for Spring/Summer09.
The young multi-disciplinary designer, now into her second season, when out of her studio has the enviable job of assisting luminary Italian artist, and one time collaborator of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol, Francesco Clemente – and still manages to find time to play drums in her as-of-yet unnamed band, draw, paint and ride her bicycle around Brooklyn… What's not to love? From her central Manhattan studio space, shared with friends fashion designer Frank Tell and burgeoning photographer Julia Restoin-Roitfeld, Pamela Love talks dream cities, melting tooth-brush bristles and loving Neil Young with Indigo Clarke.
Russh: You work across so many disciplines, and have a background in art, jewellery design and music – what are you most passionate about creating?
Pamela Love: I still paint and play music all the time. It's getting hard to balance my time though, especially now that the jewellery business is getting so busy – but somehow I manage. I'm not more passionate about one form of creation over another – and that is the problem. I love it all so much. If I loved one more than the others then that would be easy, I would probably do just that and nothing else.
Russh: Is jewellery something you have always been into – did you create pieces growing up?
Love: Yes, I always made jewellery as a kid… things like beaded necklaces, string friendship bracelets and clay pendants. I would even pull the bristles out of toothbrushes – the cute ones with the glitter in them – and then melt them until I could bend them around my wrist and make bracelets! I wasn't interested in fine jewellery or anything pretty though, I liked weird things – unusual pieces and of course studs and spikes. I started working in metal properly in my early twenties, and my label is now in its second season.
Russh: What was your favourite piece of jewellery growing up, and do you still wear it?
Love: I usually lost everything I wore, so if I loved something as a kid, I probably don't have it now. When I was seven my mom got me my first pair of dangly earrings, they had my birthstone aquamarine hanging from little gold flowers. I lost one and I hunted for it for weeks. It was never found. I can still remember crawling under my bed searching desperately for it. Now I only wear single earrings in my ear and I keep their mate in a box. That way if I lose one, I still have a replacement.
Russh: How do you get inspired to create, and why have natural forms like birds skulls and claws found their way into your designs?
Love: I love nature and magic, science and art, religion and mythology. All these things inspire my work. I am especially inspired by folk jewellery from countries around the globe like Africa, India, Russia, native America and Mexico.
Russh: Do you also find inspiration in the city you live in, New York is such a creatively buzzing town – and it must be amazing to assist the artist Francesco Clemente…
Love: I was born in Brooklyn but I grew up mostly in Florida… I am definitely more inspired by the places I dream of living in, like the southwest, Nepal, Mexico and the desert than by New York. But there are things I love to do here though, I love riding my bike around Brooklyn and playing drums with my band. I also love to paint and I still assist Francesco Clemente on portraits – he is very inspiring to work with. Also, there is definitely a very collaborative, supportive spirit in New York. There is a huge network of people that work together, collaborate on projects, help each other and bounce ideas off each other.
Russh: Both your male and female friends love your designs – do you have specific people in mind when you're designing, or a design philosophy you follow?
Love: It is so great to see the people you love wearing your pieces… Sometimes I will design a piece with a specific person in mind, but also with myself in mind. I like to make things that I would want to wear everyday. I'm always about creating something special and magical that feels like it has been with you forever. I like to create things that are beautiful but also tough… pieces that feel both masculine and feminine. I am less interested in the huge pieces that people wear to black tie events or on the runway, I love the feeling of having a piece of jewellery that is so special and magical and easy to wear. Jewellery you would never take off, not even to sleep or take a shower – like a family heirloom your grandmother has given you. I keep that in mind when I am designing.
Russh: Who wears Pamela Love – what kind of person is drawn to your jewellery? And is there anyone you would love to see in your designs?
Love: I think my customer can be anyone – man or woman, old or young, a hippie, a scientist, an artist, a musician or a magician. Someone interested in fashion or someone who almost never changes their clothes. I feel like what I am doing is specific and yet universal, or at least I hope it is. If Neil Young ever wore a piece of my jewellery I could die happy.
Russh: Where would you like to see your label going in the near future – will you branch out into other areas of design?
Love: I would like to branch out into other types of accessories, maybe home-wares – I've always wanted to do knife-handles. But for now the jewellery is keeping me pretty busy! I also have quite a few collaborations with fashion designers this year… I'd like to tell you about them but I can't spill the beans yet! This year what I'm most looking forward to though is travelling as much as possible!