As founder of Figue, the lifestyle collection for women who dream of traveling, Stephanie von Watzdorf fuses a gypsy, jet-set spirit with deep roots in sustainability and supporting local artisans. With nods to bohemian style icons like Anita Pallenberg, Gabriella Crespi, and Bianca Brandolini, Figue’s seasonless pieces stem from one-of-a-kind treasures discovered along Stephanie’s exotic travels. While working at luxury brands for over 20 years, the designer honed an eye for what differentiates global destinations and cultures, and Figue’s lifestyle pieces offer women a taste of these experiences. Stephanie pulled out her travel trunks at the Figue showroom and showed us some of her most textured and unique handmade pieces from around the world. Be prepared for wanderlust! -Jenna Fain for The Stone Set
“My French grandmother lived in India. She had these amazing medallions that she wore all at once, all different religions, Hindu deities, Buddha, a Christian cross, a Roman carnelian intaglio coin. I loved going through her jewelry box and trying everything on. Those were my first memories of jewelry—I could play for hours in her jewelry box! Jewelry is a really wonderful way to express personal style. I have always been drawn to jewelry, even as a child. Jewelry can dress up or down an outfit.
When I travel, I think about something I can bring back. Usually jewelry reminds me of that country. I love finding symbolic jewelry, Hamsa hands, Coptic crosses. For example, when I travel to Greece, I look for great evil eye jewelry. I have a global bohemian aesthetic, personal style-wise. I like to be comfortable and put unexpected things together. Regarding jewelry, I have no rules. I like to mix precious and non-precious, brass, gold, silver. I love to layer jewelry.
I love my friend Carolyn Roumeguere’s chain necklace with vintage coins and crosses. It is bold, goes with everything. I love the Coptic crosses I got last year in Ethiopia. Figue sells small brass cuffs with horn skulls—I wear a bunch of them every day. They are made by artisans off the coast of Kenya in Lamu. They are made of cow horn and brass with precious and semi-precious stones. love the mix of high and low in one piece.
I love my ebony Carolyn Roumeguere ring. I never take off the chunky gold ring that I designed years ago with a ruby that was my Russian grandmother’s. She escaped during the 1916 revolution in Moscow when she was about 5 years old. Some of the family’s jewels were sewn into her undergarments. The family managed to get into Harbin, China and lived there for many years, surviving by selling the gems. The family eventually ended up in Paris and the ruby from my ring is from my grandmother’s Russian family. My grandmother also gave me an Egyptian necklace from the 40s of cut-out gold. I love it!
I adored arriving in Kenya on the Masai Mara and meeting a Masai warrior who was draped in multicolor beads. I bought his wedding necklace off his body and we used it for inspiration for the spring 2015 collection and even in the spring 2015 look book. I think Southeast Asia and Africa have the best jewelry for me. I like a more eclectic mix and tribal jewelry. Those countries offer more varied and textured jewelry.
In the souk in Marrakech, I found the most amazing necklace with a potion bottle with magical dust in it. Whenever I travel, I am always on the hunt for beautiful things. I always love the journey and I will go to the ends of the earth to find that incredible beadwork or goldsmith. The West African Market in Nairobi was a treasure trove for beads!
My wish list could go on and on, but for now, these items are at the top: Carolyne Roumeguere snake choker with sapphire, Pippa Small earrings, and a ring from Turkish jeweler, Sevan Bicakci.” -Stephanie von Watzdorf of Figue
Photography by Emerald Carroll.
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