Yunus and Eliza, Jewelry Designers

“We launched the brand [Yunus and Eliza] accidentally really. We made something for fun, which ended up being featured in the press and we thought we’d better make some more. It’s extraordinary how powerful press is really. We make huge sculptural showpieces that sit alongside the collections. They’re brilliant for editorial so it brings journalists to us. They then discover the rest of our collection – pieces that are quite large and have graphic silhouettes. We recently had Madonna wear a bronze and leather cape we made in collaboration with British designer Rob Goodwin [featured on the cover of American Harpers Bazaar].

Collaborating on design is easy. That’s why we do it. Actually it has become more unusual to make aesthetic decisions alone, which is scary. Our product is very much a combination of the two of us – which actually takes a lot of letting go. But the result is something that is so undeniably ‘us’, it’s quite an interesting process. We pass pieces back and forth as we are sculpting them in wax, and the design develops in quite a free form.

Broadly speaking two themes run through our collections: Sci-Fi minimalism and heroic portraiture (and often a clash of the two). We are inspired by the epic (in whatever form it comes), monumentality and rebellion of thought – distilling this feeling found in huge sculptures into something that can be worn. We don’t really think consciously about themes as we work, the process is more natural, and the outcome seems to be a product of all we have experienced and looked sideways at. We’re constantly inspired by the work of theatrical, romantic, dramatic, fantasy designers. The late McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, Gareth Pugh, Galliano. The work of Hussein Chalayan is inspiring, especially things like his Living Dress for Gaga.

It’s been great having Rock Vault sponsorship for the past four seasons. It is curated by a panel led by Stephen Webster, in conjunction with the British Fashion Council. We show with Rock Vault at London Fashion Week and at Couture in Las Vegas. Las Vegas is an interesting place. You’ve got to appreciate how much the city goes to it’s own logical extreme. There’s a certain honesty in that and if you try to resist it is hell. But if you float along the surface it’s kind of fun. Our favorite thing in Las Vegas has to be the mental water show outside The Bellagio.

We love living in London. Vertigo at Tower 42 is the best place for drinks, if only for the incredible and disorientating view (you look down on a metropolis of ordered chaos drinking the best Old Fashioned in town). Skylon at the Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank is great for food, and The Bridge on Kingsland Road is our current late night haunt. That or Gaz’s Rockin Blues for live music. One of the best things to do in London is spend time on Hampstead Heath. On Kite Hill the whole city stretches away before you.”

– Yunus Ascott and Eliza Higginbottom, photographed at the Winn Las Vegas by Alexander Atkins. For more information and to shop Yunus and Eliza, click here


what do you think?