Democratic isn't usually a word that features heavily in the language of the jewellery industry, but listening to Filippo Ficarelli — one half of Pandora's creative direction team — talk about his vision, it seems fitting. "It's lovely to share this with all of us," he says of the Pandora Garden immersive installation set up on New York's High Line in March 2019, "but it will be amazing tomorrow when other people can get in." The installation was created by Moment Factory, and involved an interactive digital display where floating butterflies gathered on participant's arms. In short — an Instagram dream.
The event celebrated the latest collection from the Danish jeweller, which utilises floral motifs alongside butterflies, ladybirds, and a four-leaf clover. Aesthetically, the collection feels like a departure, with the charms that made the brand so famous seemingly less prominent. "The British people, they really love the charms and play and the memories, et cetera," Ficarelli notes, pointing to the "strong and amazing tradition with jewellery" inherited from the Victorians. With the Garden collection seemingly pushing towards something new, does the brand have a new muse in mind?
"There are lucky charms, but our idea of lucky is something that you can build by yourself."
"It's really much broader," he tells me of the vision he shares with fellow creative director Francesco Terzo, describing the woman in his mind's eye as "new, up-and-coming," an activist who is "super passionate about what she's doing," someone who will "take a position or stand for something." The Italian actress Monica Vitti, the photography of Diane Arbus, and David Bowie are also references, but interestingly, Ficarelli always returns to a democratic spirit rather than a rigid "look."
"We put a little bit of fun, of course, in our collection, but not in terms of creating a really strong aesthetic argument," Ficarelli tells me. Pandora is interested in more than creating the kind of uber-delicate, Instagram-friendly jewellery that editors and journalists fawn over, and judging them against that marker would be to miss the point. Sure, there's now more of that on offer than there once was, but the company wants to embrace lots of women, and by extension, lots of tastes.
"We like people that take a position or stand for something."
"We love this idea of having a larger audience," Ficarelli explains. "Luxury is like a small group of people that talk to each other. I want to break this bubble idea and talk to a larger audience." Of this audience, Ficarelli celebrates the fact that their British customer is "not only in London," which is a welcome departure from the characteristic snobbery that leads plenty of brands to treat women outside the capital as little more than fodder for the halo effect. The brand's enthusiasm for supporting and empowering all women to feel beautiful deserves more credit, whether you love their jewellery or not, and it's a perspective we should encourage more brands to adopt.
By Ficarelli's standards, he's succeeded if you find a piece that means "something to you, that really represents your personality." And isn't that really what we all want? With that in mind, here are seven items from the new collection that caught my eye.