It’s wildly easy to pledge allegiance to the world of Jenny Bird. Behind a pair of thick frames and woke-up like-this waves, the 38-year old jewellery designer speaks about her craft with genuine sentimentality (the kind that doesn’t make you want to eye-roll) as we sit down in her Toronto showroom. With her indie of-the-earth designs (think mood stones, metal arcs and “sacred geometry”), the Elora, Ont., native has cultivated an in-the-know international following, from supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio to New York-DJ-about-town Hannah Bronfman. Now she’s teaming up with homegrown lifestyle retailer Indigo on a line that will solidify her mainstream fashion cred here at home.
“Partnering with a Canadian company undergoing an evolution was a patriotic choice,” says Bird. Said evolution has been a quiet but seismic one for Indigo. After attracting top fashion talent to spearhead a well-curated shift beyond books (the most notable acquisition: Scott Formby, former creative director of J.Crew), the brand is poised to become what insiders call a “cultural department store.” “We are always on the lookout for creative artisans who share our philosophy,” says Sarah Deitcher, Indigo’s senior fashion accessories buyer. “Jenny creates unique pieces that are a blend of bold and delicate. Everything she came to us with, we loved.”
As such, expect the diffusion line to largely mimic Bird’s existing designs, with a few distinctions: the collection tops out at $98 (versus $250 for her main line); there’s a noticeably new feminine element (muses for the collabo were strong, womanly types such as Sofia Coppola and Amal Clooney); and it’s one of the first collections in which Bird’s more simplistic design sensibilities are realized. The understated-luxury trend led by heavyweights like Céline was a jumping-off point. “Before, I might not have thought a piece was done, and I’d want to adorn it some more,” Bird says. “Now, I’m interested in streamlining and showcasing one strong element.” As such, the Indigo collection revolves around modernist pearl orbs hanging on celestial-like axes and delicate feathers immortalized in toughed-out metal.
With her pared-back focus, Bird has become even more conscious of what her work signifies to its wearers. “I’m getting better at designing my jewellery to join the form of the body,” she says, while giddily showing off lengths upon lengths of new chain she sourced for the collection. “It’s not just something that sits on top of your skin. I’ve started thinking about it being part of you.”