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Unique Gothic Jewellery – Atelier Selene de Viollet

Unique Gothic Jewellery – Atelier Selene de Viollet

It’s very rare that I come across an item of adornment that I believe is truly unique. There are many inventive adaptations of classic designs and techniques, but to find something that seems to break into a new form of creation is uncommon in any industry, let alone alternative fashion. It was at Wave Gotik Treffen in 2005 (a veritable mecca of all things goth) that I happened across a small stall with a single table which belied the splendour it held. Stunning, ornate and intricate jewellery, sparkling under the hall lights as if to demand I take them all home. I think it was only a couple of years later that I managed to make my first purchase which was of course a set fused with spidery goodness (a well known weakness of mine ;) and then learnt of a competition the designer was running to win a one-of-a-kind piece. I had to enter and with luck (and the help of the fabulous mistress of the lens Taya Uddin) I won. Since then I have amassed quite a collection and have formed a wonderful symbiotic relationship with the lady behind the splendour. In this I consider myself to be very lucky, to be able to inspire and in turn be inspired by some of the most wonderfully creative people.

The designer behind Atelier Selene de Viollet (ex S-moon-S) is Bulgarian born Stanislava Spasova, coming from several generations of tailors it is easy to see where her talents spring from. However she grew tired of watching her mother sew all day and actually dreamt of becoming an animator, but this was not to be: “life itself seemed to take the decision to get me back on to the already-made path, just as the generations before me. As the saying goes, a man can’t escape from his own blood.” And how lucky we are for that fact! While I’m sure the world of animation has missed out, the deliciously dark denizens of the alternative world would be slightly less detectably adorned. It’s with great pleasure I took a few moments of this lady’s time to delve behind the sparkles:

Q: How long have you been making jewellery and how did you go about making it into a business?
A: I made my first necklace in 2003, a week before my birthday. I wanted to create an ornament for my bedroom wall, but by mistake I cut it out in the negative rather than the positive. So, spinning it round in front of the mirror and trying to think what else I could use it for, I put it on my neck. I loved the way it looked and asked my mom for a piece of leather. I then cut it out of leather and I liked it even more. Finally I decided that it needs something more and I added some glass beads on top. One year later, my friends from the first Gothic shop in Bulgaria gave me the opportunity to sell my creations and the rest, as one could say, is history.

Q: What do you do other than run your business, what do you like to fill your time with?
A: The making of my jewellery is quite time consuming, because each element is made by hand. So often I do not have the energy left for my favourite hobbies. The only thing I always do, even when I work, is listening to music. But when I do find some time and energy I love to read a good book, paint a little or go out into nature. The forest in my hometown is really a magical place for me and I love walking through it.
Q : What did the name S-moon-S mean and why did you choose it?
A: The name came very naturally, although it has deep roots in my childhood. The moon was at the heart of my idea for a name. I’m Cancerian and the moon is my planet-protector. As a child I was absorbed by the anime “Sailor Moon”, from where came my desire to become an animator and after I had to forget about this dream, I decided it was appropriate to maintain at least a part of it. Then I added an “S” that stands for Stanislava and the last “S” came from my family name – Spassova.

Q: What attracted you to the “darker” scene and what keeps you here?
A: It all began with me “falling in love with” Brigitte Nielsen’s character – the Dark Witch / Black Queen in Lamberto Bava’s “Fantaghirò” series, and then continued to the vampire princess – Miyu from the “Vampire Hunter D”, followed by countless Gothic novels with tons of charming characters in whose skins I wanted to be. But as the time passed this was no longer enough for me and my creative mind wished for a world of its own. So I started to write my first book, which is still gathering dust in a cupboard at home, and the next logical step I had to take was to become the person I wished to be. I began my transformation from a blonde, blue-eyed angel in to a gothic princess :) It turned out that this was not only easily for me to do, but I was also doing it quite well! A little later I met with people with common interests and so I first visited Wave-Gotik-Treffen in 2004, where I felt like “Alice in Wonderland” and finally found myself. Walking up and down around the city, other ladies stopped me making compliments on my jewellery and so the idea about renting a stall at WGT, was born. The contacts I’ve managed to build over the years are encouraging me to produce new and novel ornaments and constantly fuelling my creative passion.

Q: The method with which you make your jewellery is somewhat unique?
A: It may sound immodest, but the way I make my jewellery is a really unique one. So far, I have not seen another made in a similar way, I guess it’s all because it’s quite demanding. As I said, it all started with the wrong cut of ornament for my bedroom’s wall and the experience, and what runs in my blood, completed the rest. Over the years, my art is constantly being perfected but basically remains the same. It turned out that the first accidental piece happened just like magic – by the most correct possible way. Over the past three years I started to use acrylic stones, which give additional emphasis and crystal strings in my new modest Crystaline collection and I also made a brand new hand-knitted collection with lace made by my own granny!

Q: Roughly how long does it take to make a single necklace?
A: I don’t normally create a single necklace, because it passes through five stages and each stage is carried out manually, starting from cutting the leather and finally putting the beads on, which makes the whole process far too slow. But if I have to say for only one piece of jewellery – the answer will be – all day, maybe even two, depending on its difficulty.

Q: Where do you draw your inspiration from for your pieces?
A: I can find inspiration everywhere! In the beginning I was making some quite simple shapes, like webs, pentagrams, crosses…with the experience then came the more complex images, inspired by my old obsession with Greek mythology – such as griffins, phoenixes, old metal fences and so on. Finally the really complex floral patterns came – projects often designed by free hand, without the need to express something specified. And since 2008 when you won my photo competition, I may now boast of a Muse of my own : )

Q:You have branched out into head-gear, hats, crowns and tiaras – do you find making these any different from the standard jewellery pieces?
A: There are many differences in the development of a hair accessories compared to the jewellery. However, I try in everything I do, to show my own unique style. This change was dictated by the wishes of my customers. This makes me very happy because it is indicative that many people correctly understand the value of the fact that I create every single detail by hand. Like that the doors to a new creation are always opened for those wanting to put their mark on their unique jewellery. It starts happening more and more often where my clients, who have already chosen their necklace, seek for a matching hair accessory as well, or future brides, seeking their unique veil. Although one of the most unique ideas, so far, came from you – a diadem with horns, covered entirely with beads. Unfortunately I don’t always have the time to shoot each creation I make, before I send it on its purpose, so this year my main goal will be to gather and shoot the most complete collection, to showcase the new “step” which I’ve climbed to.

Q: Could you tell me about the new collars you created? They are again a new design for you…
A: I have the idea of making collars for a long time and this, I might say that, was my greatest challenge as an artist so far. I have watched a huge number of movies and seen many images of collars from the Elizabethan era, but I had never seen one in the flesh and had no idea how the shape should be. You have to understand, that I feel a huge pleasure in fabricating my own technologies for the creation of new pieces, and I feel a real euphoria when the method is successful! I never use ready-made hats, collars etc. So, it took a long time to come to the right shape, material, exactly where the boning should be, how many there should be etc. I am currently obsessed with the idea of more feathers in my creations and in this line of thought, I’m preparing several new collars, which will include plenty of feathers!

Q: You also make clothing, is this something you are looking to do more of? How would you describe the style of your clothes?
A: I strove to keep a respectful distance from this genre, but again the customers’ willingness, was leading in my business plans. Fabrication of a garment, as I would like it to be, takes much longer than the creating of jewellery and accessories that could give a lovely accent even to the most boring dress in the world. Our crowning jewel is the latest wedding dress made along with my mother – “The White Phoenix” which is a one-of-a-kind, beaded by hand with over 3500 glass beads, crystals and pearls. A wedding gown, which will probably soon be owned by a merry future bride. There is a suitable hat with veils, also embroidered with beads to match. I think this dress is very indicative for the style and quality, to which we aspire. We do also make more casual clothes, but still elegant, with an emphasis on the hand-made decorations.

Q: Who are your fashion icons? Who would you love to see wear your jewellery and clothing?
A: I’m an extremely big fan of the designers who manage to create really sophisticated dresses – Haut Couture. But the biggest “thank you” I owe is to Vivienne Westwood, for bringing back corsets into the wardrobe of any modern woman as well as platform shoes : ) And my mother who built her own business from nothing, gives me the courage to start mine. I’d really like to see a stylish and charismatic woman with an alternative appearance wear my creations, and I think it’s essential that this lady should be something really special. The name that automatically comes to mind is Helena Bonham Carter.

Q: What do you think is the worst fashion faux pas?
A: I guess, I will surprise many, by saying openly that the biggest misconception in both the fashion and the musical world, at this moment for me definitely is the presence of – Lady Gaga. Provocation is not always the best choice!

Q: Apart from your website and WGT, where can people buy from you? I believe you now have a store?
A: Apart from my renewed homepage, everyone – resident or visitor to France is invited to visit our store – “Phenix”, which is located in the picturesque town Cogolin / France, situated in the area, known by the locals as the “Golfe de Saint-Tropez” or Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur.


Photos by Taya Uddin
Published in Alt Fashion