Few contemporary jewelry designers have as distinctive a design fingerprint as Marla Aaron. She burst onto the jewelry scene with her brilliant “locks”—screw-lock carabiners crafted from precious metals in several sizes, sometimes engraved, sometimes covered with gemstones. And she’s gone on to innovate with convertible jewelry and designs that feature funky Fordite—old, layered car paint that’s hardened into a psychedelic-swirled material.
So, when flipping through photos of London Fashion Week earlier this month, we knew instantly that the gargantuan Fordite pieces, precious metal locks, and all that gorgeous chain featured prominently in designer Roland Mouret’s runway show was 100% Marla Aaron.
We caught up with the jewelry designer to hear how she came to collaborate with the celebrated British designer and his longtime stylist Sophia Neophitou:
JCK: What was the first contact between you and Roland Mouret?
Marla Aaron: I got a DM from Roland Mouret on Instagram! He basically said, I’m Roland Mouret and I love your work and let’s talk. He just said he wanted me to do the jewelry for his SS20 show, just like that. I started going to London to meet with him. What was so extraordinary was how generous he was; he didn’t want to change us, he wanted me to do me. He’s this super-extraordinary designer, yet he wanted me to do my thing and bring some excitement and stretch my boundaries a little bit.
Can you describe the process of collaboration?
I started bringing him all the things we make—and we make a lot of things. He found them very compelling, and liked what we felt was a punk attitude—”nonconformity” is what I call it.
He has worked with his stylist, Sophia Neophitou, for 20 years, and she styled all the clothing and jewelry. And I would be remiss to not say that her vision for styling was an enormous thing in this process. She loved the jewelry and used every single piece. She loved that you could adjust the jewelry and move the jewelry.
The dance between Sophia and Roland is well-honed. They’ve been to this rodeo before. They’re experts.
Tell us about the new pieces you made for the show.
I had swatches from the collection. And we made these enormous Fordite discs. We’d been using Fordite discs for a long time—but, you know, human-sized. I thought, Can we blow them up to a ridiculous size? We then had them as earrings, but it occurred to me that they could also function as a charm piece.
And we were told some of the models wouldn’t have pierced ears, so we created a pierce-less version of our pierced earrings. We filed for our first utility patent in 2017 when we launched the originals of those earrings because the mechanism is so interesting.
What was the experience of being there for the show?
It was amazing—I was backstage and we were all working, working, working until the last minute. The models all had nail polish that [mimicked the swirls] in the Fordite pieces—that was such a great surprise.
Roland has this gorgeous boutique and atelier and after the fashion show he had a VIP event there and he interviewed me in front of 80 people! I can’t quite even tell you how generous the man is. And the vibe…I don’t know what fashion week is like, this is my first time being there. But the vibe at this show and of this man and his team was extraordinary.
Top: A model backstage wearing Marla Aaron jewelry and Fordite-inspired nails (all images courtesy of Marla Aaron)
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