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Friday, 2 March 2018 7:59:04 AM Australia/Sydney
A story of women, by women
Introducing NAJO’s most personal campaign yet.
From Hollywood to politics, women telling their own story has become a worldwide theme recently. Yet at NAJO, it’s an age-old idea that began more than 30 years ago.
We always look to match our jewellery campaigns to strong women with important stories, such as Ollie Henderson. This season, for the first time, NAJO founder Jo Tory has stepped in front of the lens with her daughters Elena and Nina.
Jo embodies the NAJO brand. At its heart, the NAJO story is her story. We sat down with Jo to find out more about what she endeavours to express through NAJO, and why now it’s become more important than ever to share it.
“Good design and quality is an essential part of life,” says Jo. “I want to impart an enduring aesthetic, authenticity, creativity, confidence.”
Is true that NAJO jewellery reflects your personal aesthetic? What pieces in particular?
“I love all NAJO designs and would wear any of them. However, the closest to my personal aesthetic is the Signature NAJO. It is a culmination of designs that I have developed over the years. I love quality that lasts, timeless designs, simplicity and harmonious lines.”
What have been your greatest influences in developing your own aesthetic?
“Scandinavian design has influenced my personal style since I was a child. Names like Marimekko, Iittala, Georg Jensen and Kosta Boda.”
When you think of admirable women, who comes to mind?
“Joni Mitchell: the ultimate creative soul, who always followed her own tune.
Georgia O’Keeffe: an adventuresome spirit, a deeply spiritual painter.
Vivianna Torun Bülow-Hübe: an inspired jewellery designer.
Gail Kelly: a woman with great perspective, a fabulous manager who understands business culture.
Patti Smith: a devoted soul.”
Do you have any style rules you live by personally?
“Two words: quality and comfort. I love the simplicity of line, quality fabric, neutral colour, good cut. It must be comfortable. Oh, and I wear loads of black. Always have and always will!”
How does the NAJO brand represent your personal journey?
“NAJO developed organically around my lifestyle. I was brought up in a creative household, and so were my two daughters. NAJO is entwined in travelling, family and a close creative group that is the NAJO team. The NAJO family is about collaboration, and the sharing of talent. I have always believed in that type of partnership.”
As a mother, what kind of role model have you hoped to be to your daughters, Nina and Elena?
“Independent. Thoughtful. Critical. Honest.”
Elena, what kind of role model was your mum?
“We were always encouraged to pursue our interests and passions in our own way, and taught the importance of art, design and creativity, which I value so much as an adult. I think one of the greatest things I have learnt from her is that self-doubt can be a source of drive rather than a limitation.
“Mum showed me that motherhood is something that becomes a part of one’s identity rather than over taking or replacing it; that independence, work, and passions can still be pursued and enjoyed.”
Nina, what did Jo teach you about womanhood?
“Mum always made running a business and raising us look effortless – I didn't think about it much at the time because it was just what she did and who she was. In hindsight it made us extremely independent and gave us a strong sense of self. I never shied away from doing things I wanted to, because I saw that determination in her and she gave us the space to find what we loved and who we were.
“It taught me that being a woman means anything I want it to be, that we each create our own womanhood in any way we choose.”
NAJO is a story of women, by women.
Every woman’s legacy is unique, precious and enduring.
Ours is jewellery artisan-crafted to last, designed to adorn.
Tuesday, 2 January 2018 8:13:55 AM Australia/Sydney
When NAJO founder Jo Tory travelled to London recently, she was struck by the renewed vibrancy of the capital’s fashion and art scenes. London, it seems, is well and truly back at the forefront of cool. Here, Jo shows us the best of London via a few of her personal highlights.
The V&A and Balenciaga
London’s V&A Museum has always been one of my favourites – no surprise given that it’s the world’s best repository of decorative art and design. But I was particularly thrilled with the Balenciaga exhibition currently on show.
Spanish couturier Cristóbal Balenciaga was considered the master of haute couture in the 1950s and 1960s, even by fashion icons Christian Dior and Coco Chanel. To be able to get up close to the details of his original garments was a treat. He truly understood the architectural potential of a garment to transform women.
My favourite Balenciaga quote says “a woman has no need to be perfect or even beautiful to wear my dresses, the dress will do that for her”. I love this idea. At its heart lies the genius of simplicity in design, part of NAJO’s core ethos. As contemporary UK fashion designer Gareth Pugh puts it: “There was always an assumption that if something is incredibly expensive and very laboured over it needs to be very fussy. And I think that with Balenciaga the most beautiful things that were produced were the things that were the most simple and sublime.”
The Saatchi Gallery
Anyone who finds themselves near Sloane Square should definitely take a little time to explore the area, including the stunning window displays of the design boutiques along Pimlico Road and the contemporary art found at Saatchi Gallery.
A high point for me was the exhibition Calder on Paper: 1960 – 1976, a presentation of gouaches on paper by the American artist Alexander Calder. I have always loved the whimsy of Calder’s work in his signature sculptures and mobiles, so to see these graphic works on paper was inspiring.
Sculpture was a highlight at the gallery’s exhibition Iconoclasts: Art Out of the Mainstream. For me, the standouts were Echoes of the Kill (2015) by Alexi Williams Wynn, whose intricate wax sculpture was executed with an extraordinary and innovative technique, and Corvid (2011) by Kate MccGwire, a complex twist completely and perfectly covered in black crows’ feathers.
Old hotspots are new again
Regenerated in recent years, London’s traditional hotspots for fashion and art are enjoying a new lease of life. Don’t miss Oxford Circus for an iconic high street experience, Knightsbridge for a taste of London luxury, and Camden for an edgy market scene. First-time visitors will need to check Carnaby Street off their list in the heart of fashionable Soho, home to some of the city’s best dining. Shoreditch, in the city’s arty East End, is also enjoying renewed favour along with the adjacent Spitalfields, bustling with hipster cafes, cool markets and independent boutiques.
Play tourist, wherever you are
Travel reinvigorates creativity and regenerates our spirit for life’s next chapter. Wherever you’re headed this holiday period, even if you’re enjoying a staycation, be sure to include a gallery or museum visit to enrich your perspective. From all of us at NAJO, Happy New Year! Shop our latest collection now >
Wednesday, 18 October 2017 1:58:20 PM Australia/Sydney
Hand-hammered silver is a celebration of artistry
With the texture of rippling desert sands or the moonlight dancing across the ocean, the evocative beauty of hand-beaten sterling silver jewellery is enduring and universal.
At the core of its tactile appeal is the imperfect, hand-hewn element. Like nature itself, it is irresistible in the way it plays with light and beckons to be touched.
The technique of hand-beaten silver
Hammered or beaten silver is unique in the modern jewellery world. It’s crafted using techniques and skills almost entirely unchanged for generations – centuries, even.
The process is as simple as the name – and the effect – suggests. Fine, gleaming polished sterling silver is carefully, painstakingly hammered all over by hand to produce an organic texture. Every dint, dent, nick and impression is individually formed to create a one-of-kind pattern.
Because it only requires basic tools (hands, hammer, patience), it’s one of the earliest decorative styles developed by ancient metal craftspeople. Today, it manages to be as prized as ever for precisely these fundamental, handwrought qualities.
NAJO’s own artisan silversmiths in Mexico bring the age-old method to large bangles, petite earrings, spectacular collars, statement cuffs, wide rings and delicate pendants in stunning sterling silver. The shadows cast by each indentation create an optical illusion of movement and colour play. More playfully still, beaten silver covered in luxe yellow gold recalls the nourishing corn so intrinsic to Mexican life.
Hand-hammered silver in history
These beaten silver designs pay homage to the spirit of Mexico and the silversmiths working in the Grand Workshops of Taxco in the 1930s and 1940s. One such workshop was Los Castillo, who produced this beautiful hand-hammered jug with its classic Mexican style.
While it may have ancient roots, the distinctive rustic look of hammered silver only returned to popularity in the US around the end of the 19th century. In reaction to the prevailing fashion for production-line technologies, Rhode Island-based silver manufacturer Gorham developed an exclusive collection of handwrought silver under its boutique label "Martelé" – the French word for "hammered". Martelé silver pieces were exquisite creations that embraced artisanship, proudly showing the hammer marks of the maker instead of the buffed perfection of a machine-quality finish.
It's a sentiment as relevant as ever today, where evidence of the maker is a powerful reminder of an old-school beauty that’s so rare that it’s become new all over again. It sure does give fresh meaning to the idea of a 'maker's mark'.