We chatted with Valérie Messika, the founder of the eponymous French jewellery brand, about design, Beyoncé and the emotional connection that informs her work.
What is the driving force behind Messika?
For me, it’s the diamond. It has to be innovative, uncomplicated, stylish and easy to wear, and it has to let you express your own personality. That’s the feeling behind many of my creations.
Why are they so important to you?
I have happy memories from my childhood of my father [a prominent diamond trader] and his passion for these gems. When I grew up, I worked alongside him and learned all the industry secrets. I remember he said to me one day, ‘You choose your future partner with your heart, and that’s how you choose a diamond: for the emotion it brings out in you.’ He wanted me to take over his company one day, but I felt that it was missing something essential: creativity. That’s why I decided to launch my own brand.
What is the inspiration for the new collection, Lucky Move?
I’ve always loved the idea of creating jewellery with character—pieces that are imbued with symbolism and tell a story. This new collection pays tribute to the medallion—a gift that you might receive from a parent or to mark an important event in your life—by reimagining it as a precious talisman. I like to say that my accessories protect me and bring me luck.
Why did you choose three brand ambassadors to represent this collection?
Each of them represents the values of the brand. Dutch actor Sylvia Hoeks impresses me with her personality and character. Model Joan Smalls has an amazing physical presence and an aura of contemporary glamour. And Kate Moss is still my muse—she’s a fashion superstar, a rock icon and an independent woman. I had the opportunity to meet her a few years ago, and I still get chills when I think back on it.
Choosing a brand ambassador is an important decision because I want her to represent the Messika woman as I imagine her. She’s modern and chooses to be who she wants to be: trendy, punk, retro, boho, sweet, powerful, passionate, reserved, extroverted, masculine, feminine or classic…or why not all of them at the same time?
Beyoncé sported a Messika piece in her 2018 music video with Jay-Z, “Apeshit.” How did this come about?
She asked for the Persian Drops necklace from the Once Upon a Time high-jewellery collection. We were not given any details except that the piece had to be delivered before 6 p.m. and that we could collect it by 11 the next morning. Two weeks later, we saw her wearing the necklace in the video she shot in Paris at the Louvre.
What are your favourite pieces to wear?
I never take off my Move Noa and Move Romane bracelets, two special collections that are named after my daughters. Besides these, I like to wear multiple pieces every day. It’s fun to mix it up.
This article originally appeared in the December 2019 issue of ELLE Canada.
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