Take a cosy lobby at an Amsterdam boutique hotel, and a passionate accessories-designer to talk about his work and the new Dyrberg/Kern collection. Result: a coffee-time encounter with Henning Kern, one half of Danish designer-duo Dyrberg/Kern about the crown-jewels, a British soccer team and the latest jewelry-trends.
The rainy and windy bike-trip to the Vondel hotel was fairly compensated by Henning Kern’s warm welcome. A part of the Dyrberg/Kern Spring collection for 2010 was spread out on the coffeetable. The collection, named Riviera, is very diverse and built on three sub-lines: Totem, Capri and Code. Dyrberg/Kern is known for the mix in materials they use, like enamel, jade, leather and resin.
According to Henning, wearing jewelry must not be taken so seriously. Just mix and match and have fun!
TD: You and Gitte (Dyrberg, TD) started as fashion designers, why did you choose the direction of jewelry and accessories?
HK: It was actually a coincidence. We had some necklaces to combine with the clothes we had designed, and the buyers seemed more interested in the accessories! So that’s when we started thinking about ways to mix different tastes and styles in one accessory-concept. A niche market for fashionable and timeless jewelry and accessories. They feel heavy and chunky, but are still affordable.
TD: Dyrberg/Kern launched in the mid 80’s. How do you see the evolution of the consumer’s jewelry- and accessory behavior since then?
HK: There was not much competition when we started. It was either cheap and plastic or expensive jewelry. It was not done at the time to wear ‘fake’ jewelry. Now it integrates in one’s wardrobe, and there’s a more casual of thinking about jewelry, which means more competition in that area. That’s why we extended our brand into watches and sunglasses.
TD: How does the designproces work for you and Gitte?
HK: We start with a moodboard. Each season we imagine a new woman and her lifestyle. Anything can be a starting point; colors, textures, spheric images, shape…
For the 2010 Spring/Summer we were inspired by this mix of how bracelets and bangles are worn these days: own style/selfmade, second hand, heritage and high street. We worked that through in our earrings and bracelets as well.
TD: You use many different materials in your collections. Is there a specific material you like working with, or would like to work with?
HK: It depends on the season. Now you see less ‘bling’, the focus is more on color. Leather is an interesting material, not many jewelry-labels work with leather. We like to braid them in a certain way. For instance this item (he shows us a bracelet from the new collection, TD) was inspired on a carpet-beater! Can you imagine?!
We wanted to work with crocodile- and pythonleather, but we wanted to be sure about the welfare of the animals, so we came up with an other solution: we ’embossed’ a crocodile-print on large silver and gold bracelets as an hommage to Yves Saint Laurent.
TD: You received Royal aknowledgement; the King Frederik IX prize. Haven’t you been asked to design the Crown jewels yet?
HK: Haha! Not yet…but I know that the princesses (Mary, the crown princess, and princess Marie, TD) wear our jewels in their free time. Royals are very traditional, and so are Crown jewels…But, you never know, maybe in 50 years from now?
TD: At least you are already designing jewelry for a famous international soccer team: Manchester United… How did that happen?
HK: The goalkeeper, Peter Smeichel, is Danish, and he contacted us. It was the right timing because we were busy with the expansion of the Men’s line, and soccer clubs have a great reach, so one thing led to an other. Besides, we make men jewelry that still looks tough and chunky. Our timepieces for men are also very succesful.
TD: Do you have plans for the future you would like to reveal?
HK: Expansion! More shops. We opened a new franchise-shop in Hasselt, but we would like to open more in the future.