Total eclipse: Delfina Delettrez's surrealist fantasies

Updated 22nd July 2015
Total eclipse: Delfina Delettrez's surrealist fantasies
Written by Fiona Sinclair Scott, CNN
Delfina Delettrez Fendi, of the Italian Fendi fashion dynasty, was the youngest designer included in the permanent collection of fine jewelery at the Louvre's Musée des Arts Decoratifs in 2010 -- less than three years after founding her own company.
Since 2007, she's fused traditional goldsmith techniques and surrealist aesthetics to create delicate, modern fine jewelery.
Marry Me Ring & EARclipse earrings
Marry Me Ring & EARclipse earrings
This fall, Delettrez has launched a new collection of jewelry that plays tricks with your eyes. Pieces from her new EARclipse collection -- double earrings made up of two intersecting elliptical shapes -- appear to float around the ear in a clever optical illusion. Strange, but beautiful.
Here, she speaks about the meaning of modern luxury and the necessity of contrast.
What is your most valued personal object?
It's an old shrunken head inglobed in yellow amber. It is a part of my organic animals and precious metals collection.
How do you define your personal style?
I like to have an indefinable style; to not belong in just one category, but to constantly reinvent my parameters.
What's on your bedside table?
It's full of books, movies, protective and regenerating (healing) stones. There's also a prism that charges my drinking water and lots of jewelry.
What does luxury mean in 2015?
Luxury means rarity to me. These days it's something more intangible. It's freedom with time and space.
What's the most moving artwork or film you've seen recently?
Balthus's art in his Grand Chalet in Rossiniere.
To what or to who do you owe your success?
To myself, my team, and the passion and devotion that lives in all of them; my family for having prepared me to succeed, but to remain very humble; my daughter for being the most enthusiastic kid when she sees a new piece on me. To never feel as if you are done, to always reinvent yourself, and to experiment and believe in the gift of the mistake.
What is your current obsession?
Shadows, magic boxes and malachite.
What was your creative starting point and inspiration for EARclipse?
The solar eclipse we saw this year influenced me. I couldn't see it directly so I had to build an instrument that would allow me to see the eclipse's shadow on a white piece of paper. I started thinking about shadows, about the contraposition of equal forms, about the echoes of shapes. It had become a more nocturnal eclipse, so I played with the shadows of the moon.
How do you balance your dedication to "handcrafted" and your progressive, hyper-modern style?
I love to define contrasts. I don't limit myself in materials, and experiment with resin, wood, marble, and real insects all mixed with gold whilst using incredibly traditional techniques. Same with what I am doing now with traditional jewelry concepts such as pearl necklaces and earrings, engagement rings, and all those nostalgic jewelry pieces. By twisting them up, they still look classic but modern.