Metal Musings with

Maria Black

Meet the forward-thinking creative who’s disrupting the conventions of jewellery design

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Maria Black’s new riff on jewellery design is nothing if not subversive. Born in Copenhagen, the Danish-Irish designer launched her first collection in 2010 and while a Scandinavian influence is clear, it’s the interplay between clean-lined elements and dramatic, sculptural shapes that has become her greatest signifier. She’s carved out a niche that has found her designs a place in the industry’s most carefully curated collections and now, her creative approach has bled into the campaign for a concept-driven spring collection. We deconstruct ‘Disruption’ with the designer set to take over your earlobes.

What was your starting point when designing the new collection?My moodboard was full of common objects, FKA Twigs and Sade pictures from the 90s. It was a happy marriage of urban poetry meets the content of a tinderbox.

Which piece are you most drawn to?I love the Vertical earring and the Disrupted hoop. They're super versatile; you can wear them back and front, night to day, but I especially like wearing them with a hoodie for that urban feel.

The Disruption campaign has a raw, intimate feel. What was the concept behind it?Campaign pictures have an uncanny ability to look alike when shooting jewellery. Awkwardly placed hands and starry, sexy eyes. I wanted to show the life of a real person going about their day wearing her own style. No makeup, no pretense and an authentic feel.

Maria Black
Shop Maria Black

How and why did you get model Maria Palm and photographer Nikolaj Møller involved?I love the look of Maria Palm. I pitched the idea and told them they would have full freedom. They are a real life couple and I felt Nikolaj could capture an intimacy with Maria that others wouldn't be able to… They shot in between going about their daily life [and] Maria wore her own clothes, wore no makeup and natural hair. She looks so fragile and strong at the same time and she wore the jewellery like a street queen. Nikolaj doesn't come from a fashion background as a photographer so his take is quite refreshing. I love the grainy quality to the pictures.

How involved were you with the direction of the shoot?Apart from an extensive moodboard, they had full control to carry out their vision of the brand during shooting. Nobody was involved but them… They had so much fun with this newfound freedom.

Why Copenhagen?Copenhagen is a beautiful city with a great colour scheme. I wanted an urban feel and to ditch the static interior of the studio – to show the jewellery alive and out and about, instead of as a museum piece.

Maria Black
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What are your go-to places in Copenhagen?I love getting my din-dins at Copenhagen Street Food on Paper Island (Papirøen). Renting a Jacuzzi boat and cruising the canals with your mates is a blast and, for going out, the Meatpacking District (Kødbyen) never disappoints, especially in the summertime. And the area of Nørrebro is awesome for food.

What inspires you creatively?I am extremely visual so I see at least 20 things a day I can turn into a piece of jewellery. Everything around us is designed, so you just have to 'see' around you to realise you are walking in inspiration.

Earrings have long been a focal point of the brand, why do you think they’re having such a moment now?Earrings are fun and personal. They say, “Hi, this is me!”, right after you look someone in the eye.

Maria Black
Shop Maria Black

Describe the Maria Black woman.A true and honest spirit, quick to laugh, freedom loving and secretly vain – although you could never tell because of her effortless style.

How do you see your pieces being worn?I love a good statement ear on any woman. Layered necklaces and stacked rings. To me you can express individuality and style so much more with jewellery than clothes. Clothes are a necessity and practical no matter how you look at it; jewellery is a choice, therefore it's an object of desire.

Finally, where do you go when you’re in London?I used to live in east London so I know it like the back of my hand. I love the small dive bars and hidden clubs along Mare Street, getting a coffee or lunch and stroll the canal between Broadway Market and Islington, scavenging Camden. But for a long lazy boozy afternoon, nothing beats meeting my girls in Chelsea Arts Club.

Maria Black
Maria Black
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