Lauren Khoo can proudly say that she opened and closed an Oscar de la Renta (ODLR) show at Fashion Week. Well, her designs from her eponymous fine jewellery label Lauren X Khoo to be exact. (FYI: The X is her Chinese name.) The fiercely private Singapore-born independent designer debuted her first runway collaboration at one of New York Fashion Week’s biggest shows on Sept 10. Four of her fine jewellery pieces, all of which were inspired by birds, were featured alongside the brand’s own costume jewellery at the Tropicana-themed show.
Danish model Olivia Vinten who opened the show in a degrade pink mini dress and flamingo pink blazer sported an open ring comprised of a lovebird perched on a yellow pearl. And for the finale, Irina Shayk smouldered in a flamenco-worthy taffeta evening gown and needed nothing else but a statement piece from Khoo: A diamond-studded ear cuff that featured a lovebird nesting. Voila.
It was a tightly-guarded project months in the making and Female first got wind of it when Khoo got in front of the lens for the first time for our Sept issue. Undoubtedly, this outing is the biggest coup for her namesake label since it started in 2014 and has since become a cult favourite for jewellery fiends who shop for her designs at hip stockists like Moda Operandi and Dover Street Market.
Like the witty and effortless pieces she’s known for, the pieces Khoo created for Laura Kim’s and Fernando Garcia’s runway homage to Oscar de la Renta’s Dominican roots gave the collection a cool girl touch that ODLR’s young customers will certainly approve. Post-ODLR show, Khoo who shuttles between Singapore, Hong Kong and the Big Apple tells us via Whatsapp that she “didn’t fly to nyc for fw, had bad jetlag”. So we thought, why not conduct a casual interview over text message?
How many designs did you create for the ODLR show?
Two pairs of earrings and two rings.
Walk us through these designs because we couldn’t see all of the photos on the web.
These are the ‘Lovebird Family’ earrings. They were inspired by the fact that lovebirds are paired for life, they form strong monogamous bonds with one another. The lovebird (right) that holds an egg has flown down to save his offspring while his mate is perched on the (left) waiting for their return.
The other set of earrings is called the ‘Hummingbird & Red Cardinal Flower’. The flower is one of the 28 common flowers that attracts hummingbirds. The hummingbirds are symbols of love, good luck, joy and seen as healers in Native American culture. In Central America, it is believed that if you see a hummingbird, it’ll bring you love.
These rings – the left is called ‘Couple of Lovebirds’ and the other is ‘Lovebird perched with Yellow Pearl’ – are a symbol of a strong bond.”
What’s your favourite piece from the collection, and why?
“‘The Lovebird Family’ because they are mates for life though some lovebirds are androgynous. They pine for one another, and during mating season they feed each other to re-establish their bond! How sweet is all that?”
Are the pieces going to be produced in limited quantities?
Are these pieces going to be exclusively sold by ODLR?
“They are exclusive to ODLR for the first six months. Following that, I will be selling them as well.”
Are the pieces going to be branded as “Lauren X Khoo for ODLR”?
How did this collaboration with ODLR begin in the first place?
“It all started in June, I had met Laura Kim and David Aliperti (the brand’s concept director) and things took off from them.”
What’s the story behind the jewellery?
“They wanted something to match the collection. David had given me the swatches in June to help with my colour palette and told me to think Tropical Birds – but to keep in mind that I’d want to wear the pieces myself. He’s been a godsend during the whole process.”
How did you distil your signature sense of humour in jewellery design for this collaboration?
“The idea of having mismatched earrings, for example, is something that I enjoy doing. So that was incorporated into the designs for ODLR, on top of the stories behind them.”
You’re a personal fan of the brand. How did that familiarity shape the way you designed for the brand?
“ODLR had always been known to be a traditional feminine brand, and now with their co-creative directors Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia, it’s been given a young modern twist. How I approached the design process was to envision myself wearing their pieces, then I questioned myself as to what I would want to wear with it. I needed something that could scream ODLR, but at the same time still hold onto the Lauren X Khoo fine jewellery identity. It was a beautiful process because Laura allowed me to do what I wanted. She was extremely supportive, and I am immensely grateful to her for this opportunity.”
Backstage Photos Lauren X Khoo Fine Jewellery Catwalk Photos Showbit.com