One is a jewellery label championing sustainability and craftsmanship in equal measures, and the other, an established tastemaker, fashion maven, and stylist to the stars. Both are jewellery lovers with a penchant for all things vintage. So when fashion girl favourite, Monica Vinader, teamed up with celebrity dresser Kate Young in a new capsule jewellery collection, the pieces are bound to be as stunning as they are sublime.
Finding beauty in simplicity, the Monica Vinader x Kate Young collection draws its core aesthetics from the designers’ mutual appreciation of design, modernity, and craftsmanship. Monica Vinader’s signature use of high polished 18k recycled gold vermeil and the brand founder’s love for bespoke-cut gemstones overlaps with Young’s effortless chic style, culminating in sculptural silhouettes ideal for everyday layering.
The pieces range from gemstone signet rings, bangles, hoop earrings and studs to gemstone tennis necklaces, jacket and cocktail earrings, although the primary colour palette remains decidedly focused. Radiating off the charming, elegant shine of 18k recycled gold are the intense hues of black onyx, green onyx, and lemon quartz.
It’s quite a modest selection indeed, which is a far cry from Vinader’s usual milieu. But the sheer versatility of the pieces means that they lend themselves perfectly to every style and occasion—and naturally, Young wouldn’t have it any other way.
Vogue Singapore speaks with Vinader and Young in this exclusive interview to find out more about the creation process and how best to accessorise with the collection’s pieces.
Congratulations on the launch of the Monica Vinader X Kate Young capsule collection. There’s such a distinctive aesthetic here, where simplicity meets the drama of striking juxtapositions. Please tell us how you first met and what sparked this marvellous collaboration.
Monica Vinader: I’ve been following Kate’s work for a long time and I love to see her approach to styling. She creates a clear narrative with her looks and is brilliant at using jewellery to make a statement. We connected a few times over the years and had been planning to partner on a different project just as Covid hit. [But] We stayed in touch during the pandemic and bonded over our love of gemstones and vintage jewellery—we’re both avid collectors. We were lamenting over pieces we wished we could find, and that evolved into talking about designing something together, so we could create the pieces we wanted in our own jewellery boxes.
Kate Young: I’ve been a fan of Monica’s jewellery for years and have always appreciated her use of gemstones in her designs as well as her passion for sustainability. We Zoomed over Covid and I just really enjoyed chatting. I’ve always loved jewellery and wanted to try my hand at designing. We had the right chemistry from the first conversation and collaborating felt natural.
How did discussions on the designs take place between the two of you? How was the chemistry, and what were the challenges if any?
MV: Since we kicked this off during the pandemic and live in different countries, we had to conduct all of the design sessions virtually, which was a first for me. Luckily, because of the conversations we had already had, it felt like we were really in sync when we met for the first design meeting. It also helped enormously that she is knowledgeable about jewellery; it allowed the sessions to really flow.
KY: It’s been incredibly fun talking and designing with Monica and her team. I got to recharge creatively when New York slowed down during the pandemic and this was a great outlet to release that creative energy during lockdown. It felt like a treat when the packages would arrive full of different gemstones and early versions of the different designs. I’ve always loved making things and working with creative people like Monica so the entire process felt easy and fun.
We’re seeing lots of green onyx, black onyx, and lemon quartz. What led to the final choice of gemstones in the collection?
KY: I tend to wear neutrals but absolutely love colour, green especially. It’s a colour that I find calming and grounding, and in jewellery it can feel opulent. Luckily, green onyx is a stone Monica also loves and uses often in her work, so we were able to take a stone that is part of the brand’s identity and use it in a new way. I was drawn to the lemon quartz and black onyx as gemstones that reflect my preference for a neutral palette but still have impact and feel luxe.
Monica, was it clear from the start you wanted the jewellery to be crafted in recycled 18K gold vermeil?
MV: As a brand, we’ve always prioritised using responsibly sourced diamonds and semi-precious gemstones, ensured we had an ethical and transparent supply chain, and very close collaboration with our suppliers. We started looking into changing all of our designs over to recycled sterling silver in early 2019 after learning that using recycled silver cuts down CO2 emissions by two-thirds versus mined silver. We were able to achieve that change in 2020 and move to only using 100 per cent recycled sterling silver and 18k gold vermeil across all our products.
What guides your jewellery sensibilities in general, and how do you cultivate your sense of aesthetics?
MV: Museums, ancient objects, archaeology, architecture, modern sculpture, nature… these are the things I focus on. Whether in the simplicity of Brâncuși sculptures or a tactile Cretan figurine. You can easily see these inspirations reflected in our designs. From the Kintsugi-inspired elements in our x Mother of Pearl collection to the Alta collection inspired by maritime chains and modern sculptures by Chillida.
“I tend to wear neutrals but absolutely love colour, green especially. It’s a colour that I find calming and grounding, and in jewellery it can feel opulent”: Kate Young
Kate, we get a sense that the pieces are jewellery staples created for everyday wear, since they are so versatile in style. How did you envision them to be worn? How would you wear them?
KY: I love the bangles stacked up. I wear one almost every day but add more depending on what I’m wearing. I also wear two of the black hoops in one ear and one in the other ear. I like the way they look really piled on or worn asymmetrically.
Did you envision the designs as quite gender neutral as well?
KY: I think that pretty much everything is gender neutral nowadays; whoever loves something should wear it. I loved seeing males in summer dresses for the last few months in NYC. I think we should all wear whatever makes us feel most like ourselves.
How does jewellery factor into your personal daily style?
KY: I tend to wear simple clothes so I like to add personality and quirkiness with my jewellery.
What are some of your daily jewellery essentials?
KY: I always wear my wedding ring and then usually a bracelet and a charm on a chain necklace. Most days I wear hoops too; they work with everything.
Any favourites from the collection?
KY: It’s hard to choose but one piece I’m really excited by is the bracelet with black onyx because it’s a continuous beautiful circle. A gemstone cut like that is rare and each piece is bespoke.
“I think we should all wear whatever makes us feel most like ourselves.”
How would you describe the collaborative experience in three words?
KY: Creative, inspiring, fun.
Finally, is there such a thing as too much jewellery?
KY: Depends on the person. Some people look great with what others might consider “too much” for themselves! It’s about wearing what makes you feel your best.