We had the pleasure of a quick chat with Louisa Richwhite – Violet Darkling’s jewellery designer – after we met her at the of her latest collection at the exclusive No. 11 Hotel. We were all enchanted by her inspiration – ‘Things of the Night’ – and had to hear the full story…
Where did the name Violet Darkling come from?
Violet Darkling is a girl I invented – she is my alter ego. I never wanted to use my own name, I love having a personality I can hide behind. She’s a girl of the night; she gets your imagination going. I imagine her living in an uncertain past, maybe in a very picturesque English Manor hidden in dark woodlands ruled by nocturnal creatures.
What does Violet Darkling do at night?
Violet Darkling is quite solitary, she is like a creature of the night herself. And it is during these hours that her imagination runs riot, seeing and believing things are real. All these experiences inspire her. As soon as the sun sets, she goes out in the woods by herself and starts observing nature, animals, and the stars. Then she goes back home and creates jewellery from what she’s seen.
What influences your designs?
The whole brand is about the night – childhood fun with a darker side. When I was younger, my friends, brother and I used to love telling ghost stories and scaring each other. I have created a series of pieces based on nocturnal animals with huge wild eyes and sharp teeth, but I have adorned these creatures with bows, pretty details and bright colored gemstones to give them femininity.
So, your childhood in New Zealand has a big impact on your creations?
Yes, definitely. New Zealand revolves so much around the outdoors, nature and the animals. That’s where I got my love for animals and the night. We’ve lived on an island since we were young, and some of the most interesting memories from my childhood took place at night. I used to love going for walks and horse riding under the moonlight. It truly is an experience, simultaneously scary and spiritual.
On the other hand, living in Switzerland and being surrounded by all these luxury watch and jewellery houses also inspired me. It gave me that finishing touch needed to design and create a product of quality.
Do you think fear is appealing?
Yes, absolutely. I think fear is something that we all feel from a very early age and engage with through our whole lives. I also think that it’s something we have learned to accept, share and get inspired from. Times are changing.
What’s your favorite part of the design process?
Being inspired. What I enjoy the most and fulfills me the most is when a really good idea comes to my mind and I just know what a success it’s going to be. I don’t design for anyone else, I design for myself really. What you see is what I really want, it’s what I would wear and what I look for in jewellery at the moment – I’m a little selfish like that.
What’s next for Violet Darkling?
Ha – that’s a secret! You can expect more feminine designs, more girly touches, more animals and perhaps more bracelets. The design process is really long; it takes me months to narrow down one design and sometimes a whole year to finalize a single piece. I am a true perfectionist, everything needs to be perfect – the gemstones, the colors, the dimensions – I am not easily satisfied and this is why the collection will grow slowly and gradually. I will be adding two to three pieces at a time, each more meaningful and connected to Violet Darkling’s beliefs than ever before.