Thursday, 27 September 2012

FLANNEL x Leeloo Bird

Jewellery is more many, much more than a decoration, it can act as a talisman - something that protects or empowers the wearer.  Jewellery differs to clothing, it is far more sentimental.  As a gift, jewellery is symbolic, special and meant as a keepsake, often to remind the wearer of the gifter or a milestone.  

We talked to French jeweller Sandrine Levalois about many things: her homeland in the French Caribbean, her time in Paris and her inspirations behind her jewel label Leeloo Bird.

Who is the Leeloo Bird girl? Tell us about the aesthetic and ethose behind the brand.

LeeLoo is a Bird. The symbol of my inspiration, my best friend and my link to nature and freedom. She is the one that makes me fly, chasing my dreams, inspiring me to create and share this with others. I try to make each piece as special to wear as it was to design.

How did you decide to become a jeweller ?

At some point, I really felt there was a time to turn my life into something I always dreamed of, and creating things I could touch, wear, share was it. When my friend Magali Pascal told me she wanted to have a collection of feather earrings in her shop, I offered to make them with knowing anything how! She gave me my chance, and from feathers Leeloo Bird was born. I began with my intuition, and along with intuition, learnt a lot along the way. LeeLoo Bird came on my shoulder whispering all the way.

Why do you think jewellery is so sentimental ?

Jewelry is a personal decoration you choose for yourself. It follows your day, your mood, your nights and sometimes even your dreams.. A Jewel is a sentimental energy itself.

What is your favourite piece of jewelry in your personal collection?

I have so many favourites ones, let's say my heart is at least shared in 4 pieces.  The ‘Angel’ and ‘Turky’ necklaces, the ‘Creoline’ earring and the ‘Vintage’ ring. 

Guadeloupe looks like heaven, tell us about growing up in the French Carribean and some of your fondest memories?

Guadeloupe is my roots, my lovely family, my teenage story, my very first good friends, the foundation of my love for the sea, the sun, the friendship in a cool atmosphere, the desire to meet, discover, travel. My deep link to nature comes from the lifestyle I had there, I guess as I never felt comfortable in a city.

My fondest memories are with my longest friend Julie and the crew of friend surfers we were always with. Those great moments are just as simple as sharing a good sunset together, laughing, fulfilled -  the good tiredness a beautiful day of surf brings.

Tell us about your time spent studying in Paris? What were you studying?

Paris was an amazing experience. All was so new to me, city, seasons, cold (gosh I was cold!) fashion, suburbs, people. I enjoyed a lot during my 3 years as a student but when I got my dipoloma I knew my time there was up. It made me also realise Paris is not where I want to live but I do love to go back for holidays!

How did you end up living in Bali?

I was 20 when I left France for Africa (Senegal). Those 6 years I spent there are also a big part of my personality in so many ways. It would be too long to tell, Africa is an intense country.

Anyway, at 23 I did my first trip to Bali and fell in love with the island. I was inspired to open my own homewares shop named Libellule (which means Dragon fly, I've always been into flying names).  It was my first big risk to chase my dream which prior was just to stay free, work for myself, travel and share. At some point, my attraction to Bali became too strong so I left "mother earth" holding in my heart many memories, turned today into inspirations. 

Since that, I was going to Bali regularly to bring back beautiful objects to Senegal and it was a success! It was also a big lesson to show me that when you believe in something strongly and you put good energy into it, whatever your age, it could become true.

That's how I ended up living in Bali. From there, I worked 3 more years supplying Libellule in Senegal until finally I closed my story with my first baby. It was time to express something else that I could feel deeply again and LeeLoo Bird was born.

Finally, can you share with us three of your favourite sites, books, magazines or places where you find inspiration?

I have no favourite sites or magazines, sorry if it might be disappointing but it is true, I am not into fashion as such. Don't get me wrong, I will open a magazine on a table, but I will not buy it. I follow my intuition, what I like. I get inspiration from my roots, past journeys, my people. Sometimes, along my way I find things or photos that I would like to express in my LeeLoo Bird way and I just make it happen.

A warm thank you to the ever so lovely and very chic Sandrine!  

Leeloo Bird is stocked at all FLANNEL flagships around Australia. 

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