A romantic Exchange

Fans of my jewellery and this blog may remember that a couple of years ago I was asked to design a collection for Manchester’s Royal Exchange theatre, to be sold in their gift shop in the run-up to Christmas. Well I’m thrilled to say that they have asked me to work with them again, this time to create a collection to be sold over Valentine’s Day.

Naturally I’m thrilled, but I was very aware that I wanted to create pieces especially for them, and with the romance of Valentine’s Day in mind. I’ve started building a Pinterest board to help me research the collection. It contains images of my major, regular inspirations – including ballet dancers and classic 1940s and 50s styling. I have added some images from the recent film version of Anna Karenina, which has really caught my imagination, but I’m not sure yet if I will use them for this collection, or for a winter collection on my website.

What I really wanted to avoid were the clichéd “Valentines” images – the occasional discreet love heart is all very well, but all those cupids and roses so prevalent of the late 19th century make me nauseous. The more I’m researching, the trickier I’m realising it will be to incorporate any of those “traditional” Valentines images without making something no-one would actually want to wear.

In fact, the only Victorian-era card I’ve found that could be of use is this one, which features birds (another of my favourites) and some really interesting shapes in the gold scrollwork: