Capturing a piece of the past: a necklace called Romance


The Gallery of H.M.S. ‘Calcutta’ (Portsmouth), ca 1877
by James Joseph Jacques Tissot (1836 – 1902) Category: PD

When I worked on this pendant bag necklace, I wanted to capture the essence of the period when bead knitting started and fashion accessories made using this technique became the rage.

Fashion during the Victorian period was beautiful and exciting. It was a time known for elegant evening and dinner gowns, stylish daywear, cycling outfits, hunting outfits and much more. Along with this, came exquisite shoes, purses, bags, hats and parasols to complement the different outfits.

Left: Avant le théâtre (Figure of a Woman, before the theater), 1875/1876 by artist,
Berthe Morisot (1841 – 1895). Oil on Canvas. Category: PD
Right: Nocturne in Rosa und Grau, Porträt der Lady Meux, 1881 by artist, James Abbot McNeill Whistler (1834 – 1903). Oil on canvas. Category: PD


In the 1870s, chatelaine bags were introduced and they complemented beautifully with the slim, figure-hugging dresses popular then. These small bags were usually used to carry a handkerchief, a dance card and a tiny scent bottle. They were hung either from the wrist or the belt. Continue reading

Flirty Blu

Sometimes I get lucky when designing a piece. This is when an idea presents itself and the design takes shape smoothly from start to finish.

I like the colour blue. It’s the colour of the sea and the sky. My favourites are certain blues that have a strong character – like cyan, turquoise, teal and indigo.

I was shopping for beads to work with when I came across a hank of indigo beads.

Indigo, a deep blue with a tinge of red, is intense and beautiful. It is also bold and lively; with the 3-cut beads subtly reflecting light. As I held the beads and studied them, I pictured a model wearing a skirt sashaying down the runway. The fabric of her skirt is light and as she moves, her skirt sways, moving with her body.

At that moment, I had a pretty good idea what my new necklace would look like. It would have lots of movement which can be achieved in the form of loops much like the way the hank of beads draped across my hand. And flirty too, like the skirt I pictured.

I started working on the necklace the moment I got home. After I completed the pendant, I added an antique-gold finish filigree leaf and chain to give the necklace more character and a contemporary, youthful touch to the design. Black faceted beads were used as accents on the necklace to up the glam factor. I called this necklace Flirty Blu.

Click here to see more photos of the necklace. Flirty Blu is available at boticca.com/blackfrangipani.

Croissant, coffee and Chéri

Inspiration is a funny thing. It can come unexpectedly. For me, at times, it has little relevance to what I’m creating. But there is something there that sparks an idea.

Take for instance, my design for Chéri which came about while I was enjoying a croissant and a cup of coffee. There was something in the wonderful smell of this buttery, light pastry mixed with the aroma of coffee which brings to mind the beauty and style of French period costumes that I find so amazing. At that moment, I had a good idea what my next design would be like.

Chéri is a personal favourite. She is elegant and chic, and functional. When I showed her to one of my regular clients, she said, “Oh lá lá! She’s lovely. I’m going to wear Chéri as a focus piece to my corporate gala dinner.” Continue reading