“To create pieces that are bold and interesting but easy to wear” has been a mandate of Emily Valentine’s jewelry line since starting her Toronto practice in 2012. But now she’s partnered up with designer (and pal) Liana Maria for an exciting new and adventurous collaboration. Valentine reflects on the dynamic duo of Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe as an early inspiration at the outset of her career. She reflects further on her lasting personal influences – ranging from the sculptural works of Henry Moore to the aesthetics of Sophie Buhai, the colours of the Grand Canyon and the angularity of Bauhaus architecture.
How did you get your start?
I was teaching creative workshops to women in the shelter where I worked at the time. We did a couple of jewelry-making workshops, and they reminded me of how much I’d loved making jewelry growing up.
I was reading ‘Just Kids’ by Patti Smith, and she wrote about Robert Mapplethorpe in his early years, making jewelry out of tackle, and things he found at junk stores in New York city. Reading about that inspired me to go out and buy some supplies of my own, (not tackle) and I spent a lot of that winter experimenting. A friend of mine, Erin Swan, owned a boutique on Queen West in Toronto called ‘Charlie’, and she wanted to carry my pieces. I was so excited to have my designs in her beautiful boutique, and was inspired to contact more boutiques that I thought would be a fit. Emily Valentine has been growing ever since!
How would you describe the objectives of your look?
To create pieces that are bold and interesting, but easy to wear every day. Emily Valentine is a line of timeless jewelry made for modern women.
Considering your interest in designing pieces for a modern woman, how do you make something that is both “timeless” and “modern” at once?
I feel like Emily Valentine appeals to a modern woman. She’s on-the-go, and knows what she wants. She pays attention to what’s going on in the fashion world, but stays true to herself and her own taste. I want women to feel just as great wearing their Emily Valentine pieces 10 years from now, as they did the very first time they put their new piece on. In this way I think that we can be modern and timeless at once.
Are there any inspirations from your childhood that remain in your current designs?
That’s such an interesting question. I think that the type of jewelry that my mom wore when I was growing up influenced my style today. I love a lot of 70’s jewelry styles, and I think that comes from her. Being a teenager in the 90’s probably influenced my taste as well. I love the minimalism of the 90’s which is starting to creep into my new designs.
Are there any artists, architects, designers, films, music, or literature that have influenced your jewelry aesthetic?
I love the Bauhaus period of architecture,
I find the shapes very inspiring.
I’m also feeling inspired by the sculptures of Henry Moore, and the work of Sophie Buhai. I find inspiration really comes from everywhere though – Art, films, music, little snippets from all of it.
Do you take any cues from external landscapes? urban places? How bout spiritual ones?
I do take cues from architecture and landscapes. I think that the shapes that I play with are often inspired by architecture, and the colour palettes come from nature.
The colours of moonstone in the ‘Canyon’ necklace reminded me of my visit to the Grand Canyon. This really drew me to them.
What are you most excited about in your upcoming design work?
I’m so glad you asked! I’m super excited to share that Emily Valentine is now a partnership. I’ve officially joined forces with a very talented designer, and friend, Liana Marie. As of the new year, we’ll be going forward together with Emily Valentine as a team. We’ve designed a collection of sleek, wearable statement pieces for Spring 2017 that we’re both really excited about.
Your personal favourite piece to wear?
I’ve been wearing the ‘Circa Collar Lariat’ a lot lately. It’s so easy to throw on, and feel instantly polished – And you can wear it a couple of different ways which is always nice. I also love my ‘Era Earrings’ in vintage glass opal. They are feminine and unique.