Jewellery designer, Sophie Coombes. Image supplied.
Sophie Coombes launched her namesake jewellery label Sophie Coombes Jewellery in 2015 and the talented jewellery designer divides her time between Florence, Italy (where she lives) and Auckland (her hometown). Sophie is inspired by her beautiful lifestyle in Italy and her feminine designs are contemporary with a classic appeal. Her pieces are all handmade in Italy and she sells her designs via her online store.
We caught up with Sophie to find out more about her brand, what made her become a designer and what you would never catch her wearing!
Tell us about your latest collection?
The entire essence of SCJ is to transcend our love for Italy into wearable designs that transport any outfit from ordinary everyday attire to chic sophistication with minimal effort and that too was the fundamental focus of our latest Collection – New Look. Inspired by La Dolce Vita’ Italian Lifestyle & ‘La Boheme’ Italian woman of the 50s. Different pieces in the collection draw from different areas of Italian life. Le Croce Fiorentine (a byzantium cross studded with blue and red enamels and pearls) design drew inspiration from the opulence of Renaissance Florence whilst the Spiga di Grano design (meaning wheat in Italian) was inspired by the dreamy Tuscany countryside and the cascading fields of wheat. Our New Look photo-shoot worked to capture the essence of these inspirations to give our audience a real insider’s guide to the Italian lifestyle and the places and emotions behind the pieces.
What made you become a designer?
Since I can remember I dreamt of making jewellery. However it took a couple of years and a University Degree in Fashion and Textiles at Otago University and only during my first trip to Italy did I realise my jewellery dream in a fate stricken way. Having spent a beautiful day roaming Firenze and on walking back from Piazzale Michelangelo after watching the sunset, I happened to meet a Italian guy who was in the jewellery industry and before I knew it he had given me the details of where I could find his friend, a jeweller for private tuition. Only a few weeks later, I was sitting behind a jeweller’s bench learning the fundamentals of jewellery and the rest was history.
What inspires you?
The Italian lifestyle and culture are major inspirations right now… but I don’t think you can ever rule out the fact that everything we see influences and inspires, one’s way of thinking and angle of creativity.
Ring by Sophie Coombes Jewellery.
Describe your personal style and how it influences your designs?
I would call my style classic chic, I tend to predominantly wear white and when I add colour it’s usually in block form! After living in Italy for a couple of years my style evolved and became a lot more refined. Subconsciously I definitely think that my style evolution helped me to create a blank canvas so my jewellery remains the focus. The influence it has had on my designs is paramount because the greatest single inspiration of my SCJ designs comes from the Italian lifestyle and living in Italy.
What is your all-time favourite purchase?
A Cocktail Ring that was every bit the fabulousness, my mum bought it for me a few years back as a graduation gift, it was from the French jewellery store that use to be on Jervois Road and I lived for it! The ring was an enormous square that was set with a metallic royal blue faceted stone. It was a statement piece to say the least and I never took it off. I imagine one day I will inevitably pay homage to it in one of my own collections.
What wardrobe item should everyone invest in?
Do you have a style rule you always obey?
As Coco Chanel once said – “Once you’ve dressed, and before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off.”
Earring by Sophie Coombes Jewellery.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Its probably a tie between finishing my complete brand re-vamp right before I flew back from Italy at the end of 2017 – I spent the majority of 2017 rediscovering SCJ, and the last step was realising our New Look (also the name of the collection) photo-shoot, a marathon of creative expression and which stretched to every corner of Florence. But equally from another business perspective, the design collaboration I did with La Menagerè Restaurant (one of the most covetable spots in Florence) where I designed and produced 5 original necklace designs, inspired by their logo, for retail in their concept store.
What can’t you live without?
My skin care regime, oh and wine!
Finish this sentence – You would never catch me wearing…
Neon clothing will just never happen!