Fleur Elise Designs is an upcoming fashion jewellery company from Darwin Australia. Fleur Gascoyne is the founder and we were delighted when she took a few minutes out of her hectic schedule to complete an interview with Urbanity Chic. Read on to discover, amongst other things, which current fashion icons Fleur is inspired by, which places she draws on for her creative inspiration and what she does to relax when not working.
Q: What are you currently working on?
We have just moved to Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia for my husband’s work and I have just set up my new studio which is very exciting: I am itching to start designing again and am looking forward to working on some more designs which will be focused on neon, modern tribal and contemporary looks. As we are now living in the ‘tropics’ I am inspired to include bright and bold colours in my designs and there is also a lot of amazing aboriginal art in the region, which also inspires me especially the colorful aboriginal designs.
Q: How have the last 12 months been for you?
The last 12 months have been a busy but exciting time for my business. I have rebranded, opened a new Etsy Shop solely dedicated to my bridal range, my Etsy sales have increased overall and I have also had my jewellery worn by models in fashion photo shoots and magazine editorials the latest one being Colosoul, a Perth Magazine which comes out in October 2012. In addition I have continued to develop and progress my skills as a Designer by working with new materials including leather, fibers and recycled materials.
Q: What does fashion mean to you?
A way to express your individuality, personal style and mood! Fashion should be fun but above all make you look and feel great about yourself. I love some of the designer brands but I also love buying unique one off pieces from Etsy sellers like myself, shopping online, finding a bargain / unique item at Op Shops and I love shopping at places like Dubai, Paris, London and Hong Kong for the variety of international brands that we don’t have access to in Australia.
Q: Which modern day fashion designers or fashion icons do you look up to?
My favorite international designers are Giorgio Armani and Dries van Noten for their bold and contemporary designs and I am loving Australian brand Thurley at the moment.
Q: What was the first thing you ever designed?
My first necklace was a black, white and silver themed piece with charms and some silver ribbon running through it with an ethnic flavor. I created this necklace when I attended a jewellery-making course for the first time at the Bahrain La Fontaine Centre of Contemporary Art whereby I had a fabulous inspirational teacher, Ipek Altay and from Day 1 of the course I was hooked!
Q: Where do you get your inspiration?
I gain inspiration from my extensive worldwide travels; time spent living in the Middle East where the fashion encompassed so many different cultures, my Australian love of all things earthy, nature and the outdoors and I use a combination of vibrant colours, quirkiness and the latest fashion trends to come up with unique jewellery designs with a ‘twist’.
Q: Who inspires you?
My husband Thijs who always keeps me motivated to keep designing and his favourite saying is ‘be as creative as you want!’
Q: How would you define the style your work exemplifies?
My work is definitely eclectic and is suited to women wanting to make a statement and stand out from the crowd. Most of my collection are one off pieces and are bold, bright and contain different materials in the one piece. I follow the latest trends and then try to incorporate some of these elements in my designs.
Q: How would you define your personal style?
Sophisticated and dramatic style making a powerful statement. I have an eclectic taste and I tend to snap up striking garments I fall in love with collected from different sources as opposed to having one or two favorite shops or labels. I like strong, bright colours; silks and interesting textures and I also wear a lot of black and like urban, edgy looks that are often reflected in my jewellery designs.
Q: Where are you based?
We recently moved to the top end of Australia. Darwin, in the Northern Territory. We live in a beautiful modern penthouse apartment on the 18th floor with great views and I have a lovely, inspirational jewellery studio to create my designs in!
Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?
Darwin has a tropical Asian climate, its one of the most laid back Australian cities, people are very friendly and it never gets below about 17 degrees and above 35 degrees. Darwin has a wet season and a dry season and we are just getting into the wet season at present (November to April).
Q: How would you define your city’s fashion?
Relaxed, casual beach wear by day and dressy by night. As there are a lot of expatriates and a transient community there are a lot of Ball’s here so many boutiques stock ball gowns. I am hoping that some of my statement jewellery lines will sell well here for these types of events.
Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
Its difficult to pinpoint one in particular as there have been many great moments however I am loving seeing my work published in magazines over the last 12 months.
Q: What are you hoping to achieve over the next 12 months?
I am currently working with a Melbourne Fashion Designer and will be designing a range of jewellery to compliment her new collection with a modern Japanese Geisha theme that is very exciting. I am also starting to market my brand here in the Northern Territory and am hoping to get involved with the fashion industry here in the NT (albeit a small one!) by working with local Photographers, Models and Designers. In addition I am looking forward to working on new collections, new techniques and materials.
Q: What do you do to relax?
Yoga, reading and cooking.
Q: Where would your favourite holiday (vacation) be and why?
I would love to go to New York. I have not yet travelled to the US and am hoping to spend my 40th birthday there and go on a shopping spree and enjoy all that New York has to offer!
Q: What songs are you listening to at the moment?
I have an eclectic taste in music. I don’t listen to a lot of the mainstream stuff. I love the Buddha Bar collection and often listen to these when designing. In addition I love Arabic and Iranian Dance Music, Global Chill Out music and I also like Kylie and Madonna.
Q: Do you have interesting hobbies?
Nordic Walking. I became interested in Nordic Walking when on vacation in Austria and after finding out there were groups in Perth I joined one that walked on a weekly basis in the beautiful Kings Park. Nordic Walking involves using 2 poles and walking in a way with the poles that results in an all body workout that is great for the physical fitness and health.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know about?
I also stock a children’s range of jewellery some of which are one off designs. My little Surfer Boy Necklaces have been a huge success and have sold to customers all over the world. These necklaces are suited to newborns through to teens and encompass the Aussie ‘beach culture’. They are bright and unique and can also be custom made to preferred lengths which is also why they have been popular. I have just acquired some new shark teeth and am looking forward to incorporating these into some new Surfer Boy necklace designs.
Q: Where can we find out more about or purchase your work?
My work is featured in 3 fabulous online Boutiques including: --
Style Outside the Box
Darwin/NT customers are able to view my designs by appointment.
Q: What motivates you to do what you do?
I know that if I am not doing something creative I am just not happy! I enjoy the whole process of coming up with a new design/idea, having a vision and then making it work with the items I have available or acquiring new materials. I also love the fact that if I don’t have accessories to match a new outfit I just make something! This means that sometimes I do the reverse of most women; I buy clothing to match my jewellery!
I have loyal customers that come to me requesting custom designs. I love working on these as I know how happy they are to receive their items which are completely custom made to their requirements, ie colours, materials, length, style etc and they love that no one else will ever have the same design!
Editor’s Note: Fleur Design’s attention to detail matched with a certain creative flair and a wide variety of influences helps to create some amazing fashion jewellery. If ever you’re in Darwin make sure you drop in and check out some of her latest designs.
If you’d like to learn more about or get in touch with Fleur Gascoyne about Fleur Elise Designs just follow the links below:
Twitter link: http://www.twitter.com/fleuredesigns
Facebook link: http://www.facebook.com/fleurelisedesigns
Web page link: http://www.fleurelisedesigns.com