“You have to have passion. It doesn’t matter what passion you have,” says Michelle, echoing her Haitian mother, who taught her to either do it to the best of your abilities or don’t do it at all.
Michelle Elie is a favorite amongst the street style photographers during Fashion Week, the jewelry designer is as much known for her personal style of couture dressing, as she is for her accessories line which is based in Paris.
An avid collector of antique jewelry and accessories, Michelle Elie started her accessories line in 1999 after she moved to Cologne Germany with her husband Mike Meire. Immersed in a world of art and minimalism, Elie decided to challenge her minimalist surroundings and she turned her hand to re-creating luxurious treasures. Michelle’s journey as a jewelry and accessories designer started with a collection called Dynamite in 2010.
“Living in Germany, where less was more, I started to grow tired of minimalism. I came across Tony Duquett’s book More is More and instantly became inspired,” says Elie. “I used found objects, objects that used to belong to people and had a story,” she explains.
Through the process of re-gilding and enhancing found objects Elie not only revived custom jewelry and evening bags, she retold stories.
The combination of her taste, experiences and roots created collections that held meaning and relevance beyond a season. Michelle Elie often used her experiences as a muse for her wearable art wisely noting that “sometimes the inspiration you get are from things that are overlooked for many years.”
Her latest collection ‘Scarpa’ is an example of this philosophy. Michelle’s inspiration comes from the death of Venice born architect, Carlo Scarpa, who was buried in his most recognizable architectural work, The Brion Family Cemetery.
I wanted to call it “SCARPA“, as a long overdue personal homage to his inspiring oeuvre,” says the designer, “The two circular windows of Scarpa´s Brion Family Cemetery may be his most iconic work, and is very present in my collection, for example the golden square shaped cuff with the triangle peak (above) reflects his genius geometric play, or “Veneto“ (below) a wooden bag with a hand-carved wood-side window that resembles the facade of his renovated Foundation of Quierini Stampalia in Venice.
The Scarpian collection by Michelle Elie is full of such details, in every piece, such as a handcrafted bag called “ATURO” which embraces glass on it´s side to attract light and harmonize the crafted wooden frame of the bag.
The 15-piece collection features gilded jewelry, and handbags made in wood or leather. The “SCARPA” collection is produced in Spain with local artisans from Granada known for their superior craftsmanship. Michelle traveled to Spain to to work with renowned artists Juan Diaz Losada and goldsmith Alberto Quiros whom she’d met previously at a workshop. In addition Elie worked with Cecilo Reyes, a master carver known for his specialized wood carving canopies for “Virgenes & Christos” religious statues in Spain.
Each piece of PRIM by Michelle Elie´s “SCARPA” collection provokes a curiosity to explore the details and understand their stories.