Behind a little green door on Chinatown’s Gerrard Street, Tessa Packard displays her latest collection entitled No Smoke Without Flowers.
The contents of a courtesan’s jewellery box hang from orchids and lay draped across tea cups, evoking a Chinese opium room and the women that would have once entertained there. The concept alone is enough to suggest opulence and the pieces do not disappoint in this regard: Beautifully carved semi-precious stones encased in 18ct gold, diamonds, amethysts, black sapphires… all colours chosen to reflect the orient.
When viewed in this way (as a whole and in context) this oriental influence feels very strong and unmistakably different from Packards last collection Mexicana. Yet, when viewed individually, the versatility of the different pieces really comes to light and some items actually take on a more aztec aesthetic. When I mention this to Packard she admits that perhaps, subconsciously, that is where her design style leans (they do say that an author’s first book is always autobiographical) but, at the same time, she enjoys the diversity that different inspiration sources bring to her work.
Earrings make up a large portion of the collection and come in a variety of forms. My eyes are immediately drawn to a pair of flower stud earrings carved from agate, the translucent property of the stone giving them an incredible sense of delicacy. Another personal favourite is the Shackle Me bracelet, decorated with garnet and carnelian beads. There is much to covet here and with pieces starting at £110 you don’t have to be a highly paid courtesan to get your hands on them. That said, if you fancy yourself in a pair of stunning Yellow Peril Earrings in red agate and diamonds (£10,000)… either way, Packard’s jewellery looks a million dollars.
Written by Francesca Bassenger. Images © STYLE LDN.