My muse this season is Medusa … but not the villain we know of. I had always known the Greek mythological character as the antagonist, a monster that had to be slain. When I chanced upon her tragic backstory, I got to know her afresh and the connection was instant. If you look past the mythical elements, Medusa’s backstory is still very relevant today. Her strong will, despite how cruel life was, makes her an epitome of feminine strength. I wanted to honour her. I wanted to give her side of the story a dignified representation. So in this collection I went for a quieter demeanour of fortitude.
The jewellery are divided into three lines. The Solaris series recalls Medusa’s life as a priestess at the temple of Athena. She was later cursed and transformed into a monster with vicious snakes for hair as punishment for being ravished by Poseidon. The Medusa series, draw on the shape of snake fangs, hence echoes her unjust fate and hunours her unwavering strength. Finally, the Mortalia series alludes to the mirrored shield pivotal to Perseus’ assassination of Medusa, a remembrance of her will to fight to the very end.
There’s a softer side to my designs this time round. I like to challenge one-dimensional definitions of femininity. I guess it shows when you compare across the collections. The way I see feminine strength is multifaceted. It’s toughness and it’s also vulnerability. There is spiritedness but not without tenderness. So every collection I find inspiration in a few different facets and sometimes one would stand out a little more than the rest.
I introduced moonstone into my designs. The gemstone and its iridescent quality can be very alluring. It has the aura of softness and mystery which I wanted to contrast against the clean sharp lines in my pieces.
My pieces are still artisanal. Mandy Wu jewellery are first cast in solid brass or 925 silver using a traditional technique called lost-wax casting. The pieces are then hand-finished by an experienced craftsman, and sometimes dipped in a bath of precious metal such as 14K gold or black ruthenium.