Inspired by Coco Chanel, Sam Thu Duong:

Why We Choose The One-of-a-Kind ?

lemitcA
A late-medieval ruff, necklace, table decoration or ornament? lemitcA-VC2; 30 plastic yoghurt containers; freshwaterpearls; onyx; nylon; 2012.
9 x 34 x 40 cm; 9.300,00 €

Coco Chanel was once quoted as saying, “Elegance is refusal.” Initially, this is a slightly unsettling statement. What did Madame Chanel mean by such a phrase? If we search deeper, we can perhaps piece this concept together.

Jean Cocteau's 1933 faceless portrait of Chanel

Jean Cocteau’s 1933 faceless portrait of Chanel

Coco Chanel was an individual, a singular creative force. Her fashions were original, inventive and resourceful. She took risks that no other designer of her time dared to undertake.

Possibly, by refusing the conventional and the typical, Madame Chanel was telling us that elegance is about choosing innovation. About looking at something in an entirely new light.

If we make the connection that elegance is rejecting the mundane and insisting on the one-of-a-kind, our jewellery selections would naturally follow suit.

Sam Tho Duong wearing his lemitcA.

Sam Tho Duong wearing his lemitcA.

Imbued with the same independent spirit of Coco Chanel, Sam Thu Duong is one of the most important jewellery designers working today who refuses to join the throng and instead, breaks limits and create the new–from precious pearls to the most common household materials. The resulting pieces are both simultaneously wearable jewellery and sculptural objects.

'Frozen' Sam Tho Duong Silver, nylon, freshwater pearls 2011 The Qatar Museums Authority Collection

‘Frozen’
Sam Tho Duong
Silver, nylon, freshwater pearls
2011
The Qatar Museums Authority Collection

Sam Tho Duong, RINGfrei, 935 silver, freshwater pearl. Photo Klaus Ditté.

Sam Tho Duong, RINGfrei, 935 silver, freshwater pearl. Photo Klaus Ditté.

Unlike commercial designs, his designs require the wearer to decide for herself what to make of his jewellery and how to wear it. When asked who he designs for, “I primarily design for myself”, Sam answers without reserve. And perhaps just like Coco Chanel would.

In refusing the ordinary for the one-of-a-kind in all its uniqueness, ambiguity, and contradictions, pearl jewellery becomes no longer delegated to become the finishing touch of an outfit, but rather it speaks oh so loudly of who we are. Surely, there is no better reason to wear one-of-a-kind jewellery.