Intermission April 2015

EDDIE BORGO IS A FORCE: HE’S BEEN TRAILBLAZING A NEW ERA FOR CUSTOM JEWELLERY AS ONE OF THE FEW JEWELLERY DESIGNERS TO SHOW ON THE FASHION CALENDAR.

Photographer: Jewellery, Robin Broadbent; Portraits, John Scarisbrick

I’ve known Eddie since his early days when he designed one-of-a-kind pieces for shows, he has collaborated with everyone from Phillip Lim to Proenza Schouler, Altuzarra, Marchesa and my friend Camilla Starek “the Garbo of New York” who introduced us.

Borgo caught the industry’s attention with his subtly subversive designs that redefine taboo-elements of street culture like spikes, padlocks and piercings to create something elevated and luxurious.

It’s fashion week and I meet up with Eddie at his presentation in an elegant Parisian apartment to talk about the new collection and to find out if he’s hosting and Vogue-parties this season…

“It’s all emerged from the desire to create new shapes that we’re not known for. We are known for geometric, triangular and conical shapes in pure metal. I wanted to steer-away from that and started playing with stacking geometrical shapes in stone,” explains Eddie and shows me his mood boards with images of architectural buildings in desert landscapes.

Eddie continues: “We started looking at deserts for inspiration; North America, North Africa, and the Middle East. The buildings were similar all over the world, ancient and modern, they were all built with the same materials, as they need to be protected from the exceptionally harsh environment.

We came across an ancient village in the desert dunes of Tunisia where they filmed Star Wars. George Lucas brought all these props that have now been covered by sandstorms. We thought up a scenario – what if someone uncovered this village in the future, unveiling this ancient village with Hollywood props. What kind of mixed art-effect would be revealed? We took the nomadic intergalactic inspiration and created these stacked shapes that draw inspiration from the architectural lines sitting in the environment. If you look into the horizon and the surrounding area of the iconic movie-set still standing in the Tozeur province, you can imagine this silhouette…”

Eddie shows me a geometrical bracelet against the photograph and it looks like a miniature version of the village – exquisite.

“Its all about stacking geometrical shapes, we are playing around with the transition between shapes and combining different stones and colour schemes of the dessert. Combining Leopard Skin Jasper, agate and jade,” explains Eddie and shows me a stunning necklace in rose gold with large gemstones.

“I love the process of breaking an object down to its geometric foundation and exposing it as something altogether new,” says Eddie enthusiastically.

It’s very clear that Columbus Ohio-bred Borgo fell into jewellery-design based on his love of sculpture and architecture.

“I actually intended to be a fashion designer when I first moved to New York. I love taking classes – I’ve done glassblowing, plating and enameling. In 2002, I began to create one-of-a-kind pieces for stylists and fashion shows. I took apprenticeships with different jewelers in NYC and started my own small-scale production in Rhode Island. We met in 2007, I think? When I had just started to put together my first namesake collection. We first launched it with only four stores – Barney’s, Colette, Liberty, and Joyce,” explains Eddie and continues:

“I wanted to create my own brand very responsibly and grow the business organically: I’ve seen friends struggle with trademarking, investors, and economic ordeals. We started very small and controlled; I continued to do consulting for large brands like J Crew to make money. It got to a point when I could step away from all other work and concentrate on my collection. To be transparent, we are actually slowing down our expansion. We would like to control our future growth.”

Asked how his design-process starts, Eddie explains; “My drawings resemble architectural plans or graphic studies more than jewellery design sketches. After the drawings are finished, the molds are carved. Each piece of jewellery is made by hand, using the same processes that are maintained in fine jewellery workshops.”

Borgo’s social network has also played a big part in his success; his supporters include Lauren Santo Domingo, Julia Roitfeld, Vanessa Traina, Tabitha Simmons, Kate Lanphear, Cecilia Dean, and Giovanna Battaglia. Eddie’s also know for hosting the best “intimate” dinner parties during Paris fashion week.

“We believe in the philosophy of supporting our supporters,” beams Borgo. “Those who encouraged me to get started and have remained loyal while I continue to learn.”

To the question what he thinks has changed in the perception of custom jewellery, Eddie answers; “Modern women understand that jewellery helps to define your look – without taking over, if you do it right. I love to see women choosing jewellery that speaks to them; layering pieces that make sense together.”