Interview: Estelle Lordonne on Suicide Blonde

I was fortunate enough to speak with Estelle Lordonne, the founder of Suicide Blonde, a jewellery brand focusing on hand crafted accessories. The main focus was on Suicide Blondes latest collection titled “The Wild Hunt” which seemingly encapsulated folklore and fantasy all at once.

Firstly, could you introduce Suicide Blonde to all our readers at VH?

E: Suicide Blonde is a leather accessories and jewellery label, based in East London and established by myself, Estelle Lordonne, a few years back. Our credo is the antithesis to mass production and fast consumption.

I aim to create edgy but beautifully finished accessories, appealing to people with an innate sense of individuality.

My designing process is quite organic: my inspiration is mainly the drive behind it and I certainly don’t create according to seasons. You could say that Suicide Blonde positions itself at a crossroads between art and artisanal production. Each new collection can easily stand alone, but also reinforces the label’s aesthetic unity and uniqueness.

Estelle-Lordonne-black-purse

Since founding the brand in October 2009 how do you feel that the brand has developed in terms of buyers and also designs?

E: As I have evolved over the years, so has Suicide Blonde and my designs, by extension. Around three years ago, I decided to re-brand my company as I thought the image with which Suicide Blonde debuted with was no longer fitting.

I find that now we’ve finally found our place in the world. As my label has been getting more and more media exposure, we’ve also been getting more interest from buyers. That said, we need to gain awareness from the wider public by sensitizing them to our work ethic and its parameters. All my designs are made by hand, in small quantities in the UK, with great attention to details and finish.

Looking at your collection The Wild Hunt, what was the main inspiration behind this?

E: One of my numerous interests is researching folklore, legends and myths. Originating from ancient European folklore, the Wild Hunt is a group of phantasmal horsemen, frantically running through the woods at night with their dark hounds. Their appearance always presages death or a bad omen.  Many versions of the story exist according to different countries.

A cinematographic adaptation of King Stakh’s Wild Hunt, a novel by Belarusian writer Uladzimir Karatkevich, caught my attention. “The Savage Hunt of King Stakh”, directed by Valeri Rubinchik, has a certain Gothic aesthetic and airiness, a beautiful strangeness I cannot resist;

A most haunting and inspiring rendition that has left its mark. However, “The Black Spider”, a novel written in 1842 by Jeremias Gotthelf, impressed me to design the spiders’ jewellery pieces of the Wild Hunt.

Estelle-Lordonne-spider

Onyx is heavily featured in The Wild Hunt, would you say that Onyx is a stone that sums up gothic fashion?

E: Black Onyx has been used for centuries to make jewellery.  Its history aside, it is also a relatively hard stone, so quite resilient for everyday wear, without as much fear of breakage. Onyx of the chalcedony group, a form of quartz, has a crystalline texture and is cool to the touch. Its similarity in looks to French Jet makes it quite an interesting stone to me to work with. There is no denying its straight reference to Gothic style, with its Victorian mourning jewellery undertones. Both I favour greatly.

It also happens to be my birthstone…

Estelle-Lordonne-bracelet

 How would you describe The Wild Hunt to people who have never come across Suicide Blonde before?

E: The Wild Hunt truly encapsulates the atmosphere of Suicide Blonde. It is an evocation of Light and Darkness in equal measure, whilst aiming to give the wearer a multi-sensory experience similar to synesthesia.

The textured and distressed leathers resonate with the tough environment and the fierceness of The Wild Hunt, but inherent to the present times we’re living in. The up-cycled antique hand-embroidered lace patterns add an airy melancholia and fragility reminiscent of the fleetingness of life, as a phantasmagorical testament of the past.

What is your favourite piece from The Wild Hunt and why?

E:  The “Lacrimosa Flowers” large wallet has to be my first choice.

This is one of the pieces that took the longest to make. The lace is hand-made Antique lace which I have cleaned, hand-dyed and hand-embroidered onto the distressed leather; a devoted process taking many hours.

The “Somnus Aeternus Flower” large wallet has to be mentioned also, as it is very much idiosyncratic to The Wild Hunt Collection. These are probably the two pieces that most closely define the overall sentiment I was trying to convey about The Wild Hunt: Visions of wild flowers, ivy, climbing up the rumbling stones of a decaying castle, an abbey, tombstones, the one by day, the other by night.

Estelle-Lordonne-flower-wallet

What are you plans for Suicide Blonde as a brand?

E: I like the idea of expansion, but I will not compromise on the quality of my accessories or on the ethos of Suicide Blonde. I want to keep doing what I do, in the manners I am accustomed to, whilst growing the sales.

It might be hasty to even talk about it so soon, but I am thinking of developing a new avenue for Suicide Blonde, which would mix some of my favourite work media, i.e. leather, embroideries and silver with antique furniture… And all in a very sustainable way as always!