It would be easy to draw conclusions about Eddie Borgo based on the jewellery he creates. A striking mash-up of art deco and punk, his pieces suggest a precisely calibrated personality that accommodates both brooding romance and perfectionism. In person, Borgo comes across as easygoing, thoughtful and articulate. When we meet at his fall ’15 presentation during Paris Fashion Week, he offers a full backstory for his collection, which for the first time includes handbags. Inspired by the industrial revolution, mid-century automobile design and, yes, jewellery craftsmanship, his debut bag collection elevates metal and hardware from decorative punctuation to gleaming focal point. The Lou evening bag takes cues from vintage cigarette boxes; the Colt satchel’s slatted metal overleaf contrasts rubber powder-finished leather; and the Vic minaudière (below) features sculptural gold or silver caging.
Borgo, who moved to New York City from Atlanta in 1998 to study not fashion but art history, got his start crafting one-off sculptural cuffs and necklaces for extra money for stylist friends Alex White (then fashion editor of W) and Patti Wilson (a Vogue Italia alum). When he started receiving requests for runway jewellery, he realized he should learn proper skills, including metalsmithing, lapidary (jewel setting), plating and polishing. Ten years later, he presented his first official collection of spike bracelets and gold collars and was immediately picked up by Barneys and Colette. “There was a lot of delicate, feminine jewellery on the market at the time,” he says. “Retailers were looking for something very new.”
This season’s collection, inspired by photographer Robert Mapplethorpe’s images of flowers—specifically a rose he received from his brother near the end of his life—features rings decorated with porcelain buds, chokers coiled with twisting vines and headpieces punctuated with spiky fronds. Anyone who’s been following the 37-year-old since his early days will notice the shift away from studs and harder edges. “We have been pinned over time as a rock ’n’ roll jewellery company. Or, when people think of our brand, they think geometric—I wanted to take that and infuse it with fluidity,” he says.
As Borgo continues to explore new territory with bags this season, he insists the collection is a mere glimpse of the brand’s potential. “To tell you the truth, I see us as more of a design firm than an accessories house,” he says, eyes widening. “One day, I would love to do a modern sculpture for the City of New York.” Think of it as going with the flow.
Eddie’s Fave Five
At Crawl “It’s a three-way tie between the work of Donald Judd, Robert Mapplethorpe and Sol LeWitt. There’s an architectural draw to all of them.”
Style Icon Mick Jagger. “When I was young, my parents were obsessed with the Rolling Stones. I wanted to know all about this person who looked so glamorous.” Best Read Edie: American Girl by Jean Stein and George PlimptonTop Scent Serge Lutens Gris Clair Eau de Parfum, $130
Furniture Fix Pierre Cardin. “I love how he brought ready-to-wear and sculpture principles to objects for the home.”
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