More art than jewellery
Joji Kojima’s soft-spoken demeanour belies his work as a jewellery designer. Under his five-year-old namesake label (originally dubbed Hotel Gluttony), he fashions metal into finger claws that look right out of Game of Thrones, or clay into skull-like masks with the jaw portion unhinged. If they sound more like art than jewellery, that’s the point.
“My title is jewellery designer, but as you can see, I don’t produce jewellery that looks like jewellery,” he tells press at a round-table interview at the Aman Canal Grande hotel in Venice, Italy. “I’ve always had one goal in life: to create something beautiful and strong that’s never been seen before.”
Lady Gaga adores his work
It’s an ethos that’s earned the New York-based 28-year-old serious cred despite the low profile.
His one-of-a-kind pieces – always bold, imaginatively twisted and by-order-only (visit www.jojikojima.com) – have been featured in magazines like Dazed & Confused, presentations at Tokyo Fashion Week, and – till Dec 5 – at the Fashion Institute of Technology’s “Fashion Underground: The World of Susanne Bartsch” exhibition in the Big Apple. (Bartsch, a colourful nightlife icon, is a fan.) There’s also the Lady Gaga seal of approval: The pop star wore a custom-made leather and chain-mail mask on publicity materials for her 2008 album The Fame Monster.
His designs for Cle de Peau Beaute
Revealed at our meeting in May, his latest project is another – and possibly most commercial – example of how he defies categories as a jeweller: a tie-up with Cle de Peau Beaute on its Holiday range, Collection Bal Masque. In stores this month, the eight-piece line covering makeup and skincare ($90-$420) is printed with Venetian-inspired masks Kojima dreamt up. “I came up with a personality and name (for each one),” he says of his creative approach. “In Italy, masks are used to conceal, but in Japan, they’re often used to transform one’s body.”
Among the four motifs created, Gemma is a glamorous feathered number that he describes as “queen of the masquerade” – it appears on the makeup coffret and eyeshadow palette that includes shades like shimmery gold and grey. The most conceptual: Rosalie – meant to be made completely out of red crystals and, instead of a print, lends its ruby glow to the beauty brand’s faceted Le Serum bottle.
An adapted version first appeared in Female’s October issue.