Our visit with Kim Mee Hye quickly turned into a dress-up party of epic proportions. From the blush and green stones of the Tropic collection (the rings curve oh so delicately up your finger) to the Open Your Heart hoop earrings we’ve been coveting, Kim Mee Hye adorned us and it felt right.
Visiting New York, the native designer from Antwerp caught our eye in a chic peach velvet tracksuit and a sizable cross necklace of her own making. Her jewelry has special details, such as convertible clasps and small branding stamps, that make it memorable. Designs are simple, yet feel vitally new. It wasn’t enough to try on all the jewelry: we want everything Kim Mee is having, and we want it now. -Jenna Wise for The Stone Set
How did your life lead you to design jewelry?
I never used to wear jewels to be honest. When I started, I was more interested in creating the jewels of my dreams. Pieces that I was not able to find anywhere. Something very personal that blurs the lines between design and luxury. I always used to be surrounded by very creative people that also stimulated my desire to build my brand.
Tell us about your collections.
I try to see ‘jewellery’ as a long designing process that brings something new, clever and bold among the others in this big picture of the jewellery industry these days. I think it is important to elevate itself season after season through new ideas, new perspectives.
I am focused on interpreting my idea of what luxury should be these days, by creating pieces with hidden mechanisms that leaves any woman free to show or not show the diamonds or the message.
I decided last year to bring new shapes in the collections and make them floating on the body by creating hidden attachments. With the Foyer collection, the idea was to add a layer on your ear that reshapes them. With the Tropic Topic, I had the desire to play with curves and lines (as I always do), to create suggested tropical creatures. The conducting wire through those collections is the way I design them. I am obsessed by the right balance between curve and line. I think it is amazing how powerful it is to interpret ideas or topics by simple lines and curves.
Tell us about your famous Heart hoops!
The Open Your Heart collection is more about the statement “open your heart;” I love the idea that you have to open your heart before wearing it.
You’ve said your line is inspired by tattoos…
Tattoo as jewelry represents both a way of ornamentation, tradition or cultural status, a state of mind, a love declaration, a special moment of life (religious or not) that we desire to celebrate. In KMH, we just try to define our DNA with very strong and unique designs. By blurring the line between design and jewelry but also between sub-culture/underground and what means luxury today.
We love your clasps and attention to detail. What are the steps you take to stand out?
I like to think that jewels have to fit our life and not the opposite. That is why I dedicate a lot of time in the mechanism that makes each jewel convertible depending if we want to be more casual or more sophisticated. I think that should be luxury today, feeling free to wear the diamonds or not. Also with the new collection, making the diamond float in a different way on our body.
Who are your muses? You have a great eye for casting models. Love that you feature women of all ages).
I am surrounded by amazing women that have such a strong personality. My friend Steffy Argelich who used to be the image of my brand is the best example. No one like her. She is funny, clever and creative. This time, I collaborated with three beautiful Belgian models, Anne-Catherine Lacroix, An Oost and Anouck Lepere. They represent in their own way what I love in any woman: spontaneous, strong and creative women. They understand how I think about jewelry and luxury. That is also why they were happy to be part of the campaign.
How does living in Belgium inspire you?
Belgium is a small country but very eclectic in a way, as it is the centre of Europe and also we have three different official languages and cultures in one country. We have the space to express ourself and we always used to have a lot of inspiring artists, galleries and schools.
Are there other Belgium designers you admire?
We have so many good artists: designers in their own path. Some are Muller Van Severen, Dries Van Noten and Raf Simons.
Photography by Emerald Carroll of The Stone Set