The peculiar fusion of battle armour mixed with wearable art, has inspired a new wave of jewellery designs over recent years. The one part hardcore harness, part pretty accessory continues to trigger a mysterious fascination with its multi-purpose dynamics.
When considering body armour the image conjured is often one of voluminous layers of fitted leather, fur and shiny metal sculptures enveloping the body. Contracted in the format of a protective silhouette and accessorised by exaggerated golden cuffs, solid shoulder padding with draping chains all perfectly sculptured to fit the body like a second skin. Thousands of years later, this look has trickled down from the battle field to the runway as more consumers grow fascinated with wearing this protective clothing as wearable art. Numerous designers, have drawn inspiration from this ancient uniform, adding their own unique signature twist pushing the glamour of this traditional battle attire for everyday wear.
With a vogue fascination in anatomy former medical professional, Cornelia Webb began her eponymous design label in 2005. The Stockholm designers comprehension of the human body is apparent in her creative process, as she sketches her designs onto her skin as opposed to paper. Her unique styles reflect the theme of battle armour, the designs are classic with a hint of modern edge, sculptured gently to fit the soft and vulnerable curves of the body. (Cornelia Webb, 2015) The collection encompasses an array of subtle, raw and exquisite designs; each piece resembling delicate artistic sculptures in shades of gold and silver, perfect for everyday wear. (SCMP, 2015)[space height=”30″ ]
Robert Lee Morris | 2009
With a high society following, such as Hallie Berry and First Lady Michelle Obama stacking his war-like bracelets up their arms, acclaimed jewellery designer Robert Lee Morris is the genius behind numerous collections of innovative and organic designs. (Du Jour, 2015).
Producing a fierce collection of battle-like armoured accessories, the American is renowned for his ability to make his jewellery feel buttery smooth against the skin. Drawing inspiration from the celtic lifestyle, Morris perceives himself as a descendent of the metalsmith of ancient tribes, making shields, swords and armour. The designer stated his inspiration arouse from the liaisons he has between the spirit and ordinary world;
“When I first made this journey, I decided I was going to start making jewellery that looks like it’s from this period. I was directed.”
Traveling in-between the worlds of past and future to collect ideas, Morris captures a synthesis of ancient tribal culture and futuristic shapes. His designs reflect his visionary approach with his collection of hammered silver, brass cuffs, breastplates all appearing centuries old, the aged look adding depth to their character yet retaining the essence of being avant-garde. (Olsen, 2008). [space height=”30″ ]
Una Burke | 2011
A designer of both seasonal fashion accessories and sculptural art, Una Burke hosts a handcrafted collection constructed with the finest vegetable tanned leathers and solid brass fittings from the UK and Italy. The multi-award winning luxury accessory designer and artist uses a combination of traditional leather-working techniques bound with brass and screws to create a powerful compilation of individual pieces each reflecting a story originating from psychological, military and medical sources. When questioned on the design inspiration behind the battle armoured themed collections, Burke stated;
“I’ve based these pieces on human trauma and the manifestation of psychological damage in body shape. My work is a blending between fashion and art.” (Rte, 2010).
Burke’s avant-guard design style has achieved world-wide recognition over recent years, with a vast celebrity following the designer has had work featured in motion picture “The Hunger Games” with Jennifer Lawrence adopting the intricate arm brace. (Rooms Magazine, 2015) [space height=”30″ ]
As a decedent of ancient Rome, French fashion designer Jean-Paul Gautier mixed his intrigue of the ancient uniform with his striving desire to challenging boundaries. Based on the beauty of an Adonis bearing the symbol of strength, Gautier’s renowned open mind combined with creative inspiration has successfully led to the completion of numerous armoured theme collections over recent years. The anachronism of body armour fused with a contrasting modern twist has gained him world wide recognition over his career, his rationale;
“Why the armour? I suppose it is a reflection of these times we are living through.” (NY Times, 2003).
His assortment of witty and imaginative designs, in particular, Madonna’s infamous cone shaped corset in 1990 continues to inspire his audiences as he continues to acquire increasing loyal clientele. (Times Colonist, 2013).
With an exciting emergence of new subtle variations of the once traditntal style, the alluring fascination of historical times melded with the connotations of strength and glamour continue to inspire designers and enhance the evolvement of this style.
Interview: Robert Lee Morris
Interview: Robert Lee Morris
Interview: Robert Lee Morris [Online] Available at http://Http://aakinal.com/robert-lee-morris-interview/ [Accessed 19/10/15]
Cornelia Webb (2015) About Us [Online] Available at http://Http://www.corneliawebb.com/about [Accessed 22/10/15]
Du Jour (2015) ROBERT LEE MORRIS RENAISSANCE [Online] Available at http://Http://dujour.com/style/robert-lee-morris-interview/ [Accessed 22/10/15]
NY Times (2003) Fashion : Behind a shield of steely glamour [Online] Available at http://Http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/11/style/11iht-fashfri_ed3_.html [Accessed 22/10/15]
Olsen, MK & A (2008) INFLUENCE. 1 ed. New-York: Penguin Book.
Rooms Magazine (2015) The timeless luxury leather designer ÚNA BURKE [Online] Available at http://Http://www.roomsmagazine.com/artpeople/na-burke [Accessed 25/10/15]
Rte (2010) The Lady is Gaga over Una’s designs [Online] Available at http://Http://www.rte.ie/lifestyle/fashion/features/2010/0322/142543-burkeu/ [Accessed 25/10/15]
SCMP (2015) Cornelia Webb sculpts jewellery to mimic body’s curves [Online] Available at http://Http://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-magazine/article/1709963/cornelia-webb-sculpts-jewellery-mimic-bodys-curves [Accessed 20/10/15]
Times Colonist (2013) Vivienne Westwood, Jean Paul Gaultier, Viktor & Rolf play on style – See more at: http://www.timescolonist.com/life/fashion-beauty/vivienne-westwood-jean-paul-gaultier-viktor-rolf-play-on-style- [Online] Available at http://Http://www.timescolonist.com/life/fashion-beauty/vivienne-westwood-jean-paul-gaultier-viktor-rolf-play-on-style-1.83789 [Accessed 22/10/15]