Fashion

Mixing fashion and religion: Mexican jewellery designer Daniel Espinosa

Author: Elle Canada

Fashion

Mixing fashion and religion: Mexican jewellery designer Daniel Espinosa

Silver has always had its own boho-alternative allure. Ancient alchemists called the metal "luna" because its white lustre reminded them of the moon, the sea and various seductive lunar goddesses. Modern-day fashion god Karl Lagerfeld says he's influenced by "silver moods." Aside from his iconic silvery-white ponytail, Lagerfeld is known for wearing chunky, mock-goth silver rings from L.A.-based Chrome Hearts.

While silver may be a passing mindset for the kaiser, Mexican jewellery designer Daniel Espinosa says that he's always in the mood for the sensual, soft metal. "I was born in Mexico City, but I later moved to Taxco [de Alarcón], which is famous for its silver," he says. "My family has been in the jewellery business for three generations before me -- so basically I have always lived in a silver world!" ELLE Canada chatted with the 35-year-old designer in Mexico City about his metal obsessions.

Elle Canada: Do you remember the first piece you designed?
Daniel Espinosa: "It was a necklace. It was made with glass from Tlaquepaque, Jalisco, a city that is famous for its glass-blowing. I used cobalt-blue glass mixed with white silver. It was quite beautiful. A few years later, I saw a copy of it in Galeries Lafayette in Paris. I couldn't believe it!"

EC: How have famous silver jewellery designers like William Spratling, Valentin Vidaurretta and Antonio Pineda influenced you as an artist?
DE: "I've been inspired mainly by Spratling. He completely changed the way we see, feel and design jewellery. There had been silver mines in Taxco for centuries, but it wasn't known for its jewellery design until Spratling moved there in the late 1920s and established an apprentice system to train young silversmiths. He was an American architect, but he demonstrated a real appreciation for, and sensitivity to, the early cultures of Mexico. His designs have always inspired me."

Want more silver inspiration? Read about Canadian jewellery designer to the stars Hilary Druxman!

Photos courtesy Daniel EspinosaEC: Who inspires you today?
DE: "Catherine Deneuve and Salma Hayek, for their beauty and great presence. John Galliano, for his spectacular fashion shows. I'm also inspired by simple materials, like recycled glass from TV screens from the '40s and '50s that I found in the Philippines."

EC: What precious stones do you work with and where do you get them?
DE: "I get my stones from Brazil, Mexico and Africa. For the Sahara Collection, I used stones from Africa. Spratling used these stones in his earlier designs but in a very simple fashion. I updated the look by combining them with 24-karat-gold-plated pieces and another stone called ‘tiger's eye.' I mixed the gold into the design to give a new face to silver."

EC: What's your favourite piece from your latest collection, Couture, by Appointment Only?
DE: "Definitely The Cross. It's an icon with many possibilities -- and meanings -- in fashion and religion, or one can simply enjoy its geometry. It was the first piece I designed for the collection."

EC: What kinds of women are drawn to your pieces?
DE:"Women who like to wear big, elegant pieces with rich designs. They like to feel beautiful and exuberant. Some of them tell me that wearing my jewellery makes them feel a little bit wild!"

EC: Who would you like to see wearing your designs on the red carpet?
DE: "Oh, definitely Gwen Stefani -- she's fearless!"

Daniel Espinosa opened his 24th international boutique at the Four Seasons Hotel Toronto on March 29. For more info, visit www.danielespinosa.com.

Photos courtesy Daniel Espinosa
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Mixing fashion and religion: Mexican jewellery designer Daniel Espinosa