Tessa Packard has taken the jewellery industry by storm with her playful statement pieces, but the designer shows no sign of stopping there as she opens her very first showroom on Chelsea’s Ives Street
It’s quite a bold move to open your first showroom in a prime central London location such as Chelsea. To make such a move work, I had to dive into it head first and commit whole-heartedly, regardless of the risks involved. And to do that I needed to feel secure in the brand I had built. Luckily I got to a place late last year where I felt I could justify this exciting new step forward and so I began looking for a space.
I am a complete control freak when it comes to design. I was involved in the creation of every aspect of the showroom. The space will offer a beautifully curated insight into the brand, in keeping with our eclectic but elegant aesthetic. The ground floor will take the shape of a large salon with a private meeting room where clients can view the collections in a home-like environment that evokes the feeling of a Victorian study, with inspiration drawn from the colonial era and interior Robert Kime.
Opening the store in October will be a dream come true. Chelsea is a wonderful hotspot for design-focused boutiques, but interestingly it’s not over-saturated with jewellery designers. Setting up shop in Mayfair, for example, would make it very difficult for a young brand like mine to stand out.
Aesthetically I think we’ve certainly grown more confident in embracing our brand DNA. I would never have used porcelain painted animals in my first or second collections for fear of being labelled too kooky or too avant-garde. With time I have come to realise that challenging the norms of jewellery design and pushing the boundaries of what is deemed ‘precious’ or ‘fine’ is exactly what makes the brand relevant in the industry, and for our customers.
My jewellery designs are inspired by anything and everything, but largely natural history and the Victorian curiosity cabinet, as well as fairytales, pop art, exotic cultures and all things eccentric. In my own jewellery box I have a pair of Art Deco diamond-and-pearl earrings that my father gave me, a gold charm bracelet (that I never wear but adore for sentimental reasons) and a healthy pile of Tessa Packard London jewellery from past and present collections.
My Brazilian heritage definitely informs my love of colour. I find richly hued, semi-precious gemstones far more characterful and interesting than working with diamonds. Brazil also has a strong heritage of revolutionary female artists and designers, such as Lygia Pape and Lygia Clark. I’d like to think that my desire to create unique jewellery by using lesser-known stones or experimenting with non-traditional materials has in some way been inspired by these female protagonists and the impact they have had on Brazilian visual culture.
My latest collection takes its name from Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Emperor’s New Clothes, which is all about deception and lies. It is rich in irony and explores the idea of illusion through its use of overgrown gemstone forms that, for certain pieces, are enamelled to evoke the appearance of the real deal. I suppose you could call it a gentle, affectionate critique of the industry where, in my opinion, too much emphasis is often placed on the use of high carat weight solitaire-set stones rather than the overall design of a piece of jewellery. In the collection you can expect a selection of easy-to-wear lariat necklaces, mismatching ‘gemstone’ earrings, richly enamelled rings and the sweetest little charm ever.