Style File: Cathy Pope

Designer Cathy Pope.

Cathy Pope‘s long career as a film, television and theatre stylist combined with her life-long love of jewellery led her to create her own jewellery label Cathy Pope Jewellery in early 2013. Her collections are elegant, timeless and feature carefully selected semi-precious gemstones and crystals that are chosen for their unique qualities to benefit the wearer.

We caught up with Cathy to find out more about her latest collection, what inspires her and what you would never catch her wearing!

Tell us about your latest collection?
My latest collection Snowflakes & Jasper is inspired by my love for costume history and desire to breathe new life into traditional jewellery. The feature piece is a spinning gemstone necklace which is a modern interpretation of the traditional spinner pendants that date back to the 1930s. I really enjoy fusing old and new design technology and I’ve combined a beautiful Italian 70s box chain with the spinner to create the ultimate chic and elegant keepsake. There’s also a modern and easy to wear hoop earring and cocktail ring to complete the collection. I’ve chosen less conventional gemstones snowflake obsidian and red jasper which have textures and patterns that look so authentically natural and no two stones are the same. I feel this collection is the culmination of all the elements of design that my customers and I love.

What made you become a designer?
As long as I can remember I’ve always been designing and creating. I started dressmaking when I was 14 when my mother taught me how to sew. I much preferred to design and create my own clothing rather than look like everyone else. This has been a theme through my entire design career. While I went down the conventional road of university and then working in corporate advertising, I’d spend my evenings and weekends being creative and dressmaking for friends. When I was 27 I decided to take the leap and become a freelancer in costume for film and television. My first film job was Lord Of The Rings and since then I’ve worked as a costume designer in both NZ and Ireland in opera, theatre, dance and tv. For almost 20 years dressmaking has been my bread and butter between costume jobs and I’ve only recently given it up as my jewellery business has taken over. I still work as a costume stylist on tv commercials a few days a month which I really enjoy while my jewellery business is growing. If you told me 5 years ago I’d be a jewellery designer I wouldn’t have believed it. Cathy Pope Jewellery was an accidental business that all began when I started making chunky chokers for myself. I had always worn inherited or family heirloom jewellery but I couldn’t find contemporary jewellery I liked in shops. So out of the blue one day I combined a chunky gemstone bead from a strand I’d been given with a big gold chain and voila – it was my perfect necklace! Pretty much immediately friends wanted them and before I knew it I had a business. Three years on and I’m enjoying the creative freedom, autonomy and challenges more than ever.

What inspires you?
Being a Libran I love beauty and nature. I’m fascinated in the way nature can create such magnificence in gemstones and intrigued by the metaphysical properties and geology of them. I’m also inspired by travel and discovering new places, people and new materials for my creations.

Pieces from Cathy Pope’s Snowflakes and Jasper collection.

Describe your personal style and how it influences your brand?
I guess all the elements of my personal style are reflected in my jewellery. I enjoy clean design that’s not fussy and prefer fine quality natural fibres like linen, crepe and silk that have good structure and are comfortable to wear. I’m not into big flashy labels and I believe in style more than fashion. I’m good at combining an expensive quality, well cut garment with something less expensive, then adding some bling which sharpens the overall look. I love black teamed with prints. Simplicity and comfort is the key for me – and good shoes!

What is your all-time favourite purchase?
My new granite kitchen bench. It’s a giant gemstone in my house and is full of textures and patterns which I adore. It’s changed my whole state of mind about cooking as I enjoy the space so much more.

What wardrobe item should every woman invest in?
The obvious answer is good jewellery. But I don’t think it needs to break the bank. At the same time throw away fashionable jewellery goes out of date quickly, tarnishes or falls apart. So I believe that affordable and timeless jewellery that lasts for years to come is a smart investment. I hope my jewellery is a treasured keepsake for its owners. The quality and authenticity of my designs lend themselves to being collectable.

Do you have a style rule you always obey?
Style over fashion. Simplicity in design and attention to detail – always.

Pieces from Cathy Pope’s Snowflakes and Jasper collection.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?
I’ve had a long and varied career and my Cathy Pope Jewellery career is still very young. In costume design one of my highlights was meeting Henry Cavill (Superman) on a film in Ireland. I’ve worked with a lot of famous actors over the past 20 years and this was 17 years ago but my knees buckled when he shook my hand. It was obvious he was going to be big one day. With my jewellery business there have been so many milestones that get me excited. Every time my jewellery appears in print or a magazine, when I get a new stockist, when I see people post a photo of themselves wearing my jewellery on social media. It’s the real women who I pass on the street or I meet at parties who choose to invest in my jewellery that inspire me.

What can’t you live without?
My Jo Malone dark amber and ginger lily cologne. It’s a fusion of woody and spicy notes and friends always comment that it’s my signature fragrance.

Finish this sentence – You would never catch me wearing…
Ripped jeans or anything with tassels.

Images supplied.

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