Jeweller Shaun Leane on McQueen, Daphne Guinness and cherry blossoms

13 October 2009

Shaun Leane 

Shaun Leane has been an iconic jewellery designer for nearly 25 years, and he sure has the skill and celebrity clientele to prove it with Cheryl Cole and SJP among his fans, and Alexander McQueen as his long term collaborator. As he re-launches his Cherry Blossom collection with Astley Clarke, Shaun talks to Grazia about inspiring a shift in the market, having Daphne Guinness as his muse, and being old pals with Alexander McQueen

GD: How did it feel to again be named UK Jewellery Designer of the Year for 2009?

Shaun: It is always an honor for me and my team to know that we are on the right path and that our work is admired by many.

GD: What inspired you to create your Cherry Blossom collection?

Shaun: The Cherry Blossom collection is our first collection with Astley Clarke. It is a beautiful collection inspired by one of Japan’s oldest tales. It is believed that the flower is named after a beautiful goddess who sprinkle seeds from the clouds and would flourish into dazzling white and crimson flowers. The beauty of this story is captured in the collection.

GD: Do you have a particular favourite piece in the range?

Shaun: This is hard because I love everything in the cherry blossom collection! But if I must choose, my favourite would be the three cherry blossom rings set. I was in Japan throughout the cherry blossom season so I saw the buds transform into full bloom. The transition is so captivating to watch; I wanted to capture this in a set of rings which represents these stages. The first ring with pearls reflects closed buds, the second are scattered with a combination of open flowers and pearls, then there is the third ring in full bloom, bursting with colours from the enamel flowers and their gemstone centres.

GD: What type of woman will be wearing this Cherry Blossom line?

Shaun: Confident, graceful and chic.

GD: You're approaching 25 years in the jewellery industry - are you doing any launches or new designs to mark the occasion?

Shaun: The whole year has been a celebration as I have collaborated with some of the most iconic brands and people such as Boucheron, Forevermark and Daphne Guinness to create masterpieces I have always dreamed of making.

GD: Jewellery seems to be going down the structural and dark, yet still romantic route at the moment, something which has always been your style - do you think you have inspired this shift?

Shaun: I would like to hope that I have inspired this shift; to inspire other artists is one of the highest forms of flattery.

GD: What are you obsessed with right now?

Shaun: Fine tailored suits and navy patent shoes!

GD: You have a long-standing design and personal relationship with Alexander McQueen - why do you think the two of you work so well together?

Shaun: I feel that when you have worked with someone for a long time you totally understand each other’s aesthetics and how to execute it.

Shaun Leane

GD: You have many celebrity clients including Daphne Guinness - has there been anyone in particular you were especially happy to see wearing your work?

Shaun: I like seeing people wear my work because they wear them with such different styles such as Daphne, Lily Cole and Cheryl Cole. In a way it very much reflects the diversity of my work.

GD: How has Daphne influenced your work? Is she a muse for you, and have you any plans to work with her again?

Shaun: Daphne is a friend and a muse, to work with her is so inspiring. Her energy drives me. I feel we will work together for a long time.

GD: Throughout your career, have you got a particular piece of jewellery you are most proud of designing? What do you consider to be your signature piece?

Shaun: It would have to be the bespoke neckpiece created in collaboration with Boucheron for their 150th anniversary. It captures the essence of fine jewellery with a contemporary edge which melds my darkly romantic style with the savoir-faire and heritage of Boucheron.

GD: Would you ever consider designing a range for the high street?

Shaun: It is something that is not on my radar at the moment but never say never!




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