Feature
Women

Behind the Scenes: Dinny Hall

As she launches her Suffragette collection, jewellery designer Dinny Hall opens up her workshop and shares the highlights of her career history

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Having bought her first collection back in 1984, Liberty is intertwined with Dinny Hall’s design history; a 34-year legacy that includes catwalk favourites and future heirlooms in equal measure, with clip-on mega-hoops as much a part of the brand identity as sleek, barely-there silver. As she launches a brand-new Suffragette collection to celebrate the centenary of the women’s vote, we go behind-the-scenes of Hall’s Notting Hill Studio, find out what being a woman of the world means to her, and discover how she forged her own successful path.

Positioned behind her Westbourne Grove boutique, the Dinny Hall workshop is a hub of inspiration and jewellery-making. Ancient patterns and mementos of trips to far-flung places are as likely to inspire a collection as a favourite handbag:

“Sometimes my collections are about sculptural forms and the meanings behind them, sometimes an idea comes from me having a pair of shoes, and wanting something to go with them. The bamboo collection originally came out in 2000, I had a Gucci handbag with a real bamboo handle (which I was really proud of) and I wanted some hoops to go with it!”

A formative trip to the mountain tribes of Thailand and Burma was the culmination of a lifelong interest in piercing, and resulted in a collection of photographs which are still proving a source of inspiration. Travelling before the tourist industry really took hold, Hall captured a snapshot of traditional life you’d be hard-pushed to find today: “My photographer friend wanted to catalogue the people, I wanted to catalogue the jewellery. I went from village to village asking if they would show me their treasures.”

“When you’re young you tend to design for your peers and who you see around you. Because I’m now grown up and a lot of my friends have children in their 20s, I very much want to design for all generations. When I started I was just into the fun of fashion, but now I’m much more interested in the people who wear it.”

The reworking and refreshing of collections is integral to the Dinny Hall strategy, allowing for longer-waiting ideas to take shape: “When you have the seed of an idea it can take years to go from sketchbook to finished product. The demands of the business mean you need to get collections out, and people always want something new so sometimes I’m not ready! That’s every designer’s problem.” More than this, Hall has had to overcome the universal problem of balancing creative energy with a commercial mind:

“I’ve learned [in my career] you can’t do everything. When you’re a creative person in business you do tend to want to control everything, but you have to learn to let other people help you. Also, listen to your heart when you’re designing. Sometimes you think you’ve got to be commercial, but because your heart’s not in it your customers don’t feel it.”

Hall’s latest collection came from the designer’s fascination with the jewellery worn during the women’s suffrage. Launching now to celebrate a centenary since women won the right to vote, the Suffragette collection uses precious stones to reference the campaign’s iconic colours: violet for justice, green for hope and white for purity.

The Suffragette edit begins with five pieces - ‘Pinky’ target style ring set with a chequerboard amethyst surrounded tsavorite and diamonds and matching pendant, Three stone bar earrings set with Amethyst, Peridot and White Topaz, Three stone cluster Pendant with a pear shaped Amethyst brilliant cut Tzavorite and a Freshwater Pearl and then a tennis bracelet set with Amethyst, Peridot and White Topaz.

I am a woman of the World, I have been discriminated against in business, ‘Me Too’ for what it’s worth! I see injustice towards women continuing women all around me still and all we want is to be equal.

Liberty London

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