Lies Wambacq is a Belgian jewellery designer. She makes silver or gold jewels in an organic and baroque style. Lucky for you, you will be able to purchase some of her creations at the FASHIONCLASH Festival Designer Market.
Hi Lies! Can you please introduce yourself?
I’m Lies Wambacq from Belgium, and I’m a jewellery designer. I finished my study in 2009, and after my graduation, I started creating my own collection of jewels. Most of my jewels are custom-made. Last year, I made a full collection and this is the one I will be presenting during the Designer Market. I’m looking forward to seeing the reactions of the public!
Where are you based?
My workshop is in Kessel-Lo, nearby Leuven, Belgium. It’s a nice place with a lot of light, which is very inspiring. Customers are always surprised by how many tools I need to be able to create my jewels. Basically, it is the combination of a chemical lab and the workshop of a blacksmith.
What inspires you in general?
I collect old jewels and I have a lot of books about the history of jewels and about jewellery design. Not only European jewellery inspires me, but jewels from all around the world. When I visited India in November, I came back full of new inspiration. When I go to museums, I look at portraits, especially baroque paintings in which the jewels are the eye-catcher. But I’m not only inspired by the past. I also love going to modern art museums and take walks into the nature. Nature is really inspiring when it comes to create different patterns in my work. Jewellery making has been around for a very long time, and nature has always had an influence on it.
What place or city do you find inspiring?
On my trip to India, I went to Bundi, a smaller Indian city – but still with one million inhabitants – and it was the most amazing place to stay. It was full of temples, music, colours, good food and small workshops in which they make traditional jewels. I couldn’t stop looking around; there was so much energy!
What is it like to be a young designer in your city/country?
In Belgium there are a lot of good design schools. A good education and guidance is very important, but after that, you’re on your own. As a designer, you’re also a manager and that’s definitely not taught enough at school. It’s not always easy, but I’m lucky. A lot of people support me. My motto is: no guts, no glory!
What attracts you about the FASHIONCLASH platform?
The people behind FASHIONCLASH are full of energy and they have great taste. They support young designers and create a vibrant atmosphere. After my visits at FASHIONCLASH, I was always full of new ideas, so I’m very proud to be part of this edition.
What is the concept behind your latest collection?
I collect old jewels, shelves, (precious) stones, pieces of wood, “objets trouvés,”… To create my own jewels, I try to look at objects in a new light. If I like some patterns, I use them to imprint forms inspired by traditional jewels.
Describe your collection/creation in three words:
Collage, patterns, timeless.
Did you always want to work in the field of fashion?
I always felt the need to create things. As a kid, I loved to make houses, clothes and food for my dolls. When I grew older I loved to read fashion magazines. In one of those I read an article about Wouters and Hendrix. That’s when I decided I wanted to study jewellery design. I like to make the world more beautiful.
Can you remember the first piece you designed?
When I was younger, I always wanted to wear only one earring, but in shops you could only by a pair. That’s why I made one very big and colourful earring for myself. That was the first piece I designed!
What kind of feeling do you want to transfer with your latest collection/creation?
The purpose is to create jewels you can wear all day and all night. The more you cherish it, the more beautiful it becomes. They are meant to be timeless.
What is on your playlist when you are working?
My husband runs a record label, so he brings home a lot of new music. I do have some albums that make me happy and full of energy: Adam Green “Friends of mine,” Goldfrapp “Felt mountain,” Blondie “Essential,” David Bowie “Best of Bowie”, Ariel Pind “The doldrums.”
What book shaped you?
As a child I didn't have a television, so I read a lot of books. I can’t say that one book in particular shaped me, but “De blikken trommel" of Günter Grass is a must-read.
|Lies in her atelier|
Who is your favorite fashion designer?
Dries Van Noten as a fashion designer, Jamie Hayon as a furniture designer. They are masters of collage. They dare to combine prints, colours, forms,…
What is the latest thing you bought for yourself?
I bought a wallet of “Mieke Dierckx”. Mieke and I went to school together and we're still good friends. She creates beautiful jewels and accessories made out of leather.
What is your favorite fairy tale and why?
My favourite fairy tale is “The jungle book”. This story is a simple image of the world and the humans who are living in it. It's a good example of growing up: dangers, fun, love… It’s all one big adventure.
If your life were a song what would the title be?
Don't keep it simple.
What made you smile today?
Thinking about the elephants in “The jungle book”.
Twitter or Instagram?
Instagram, I prefer looking at pictures than text.
What is your definition of style?
Style is creating your own personality. You have to wear what makes you happy.
What has been the greatest experience in your "fashion" career so far?
I've already organized two solo exhibitions and a few others in collaboration. The last one was in a cosy shed. It was great to get a lot of positive feedback from the visitors and to be able to show my work to a new audience. I enjoy getting my work out there, knowing that people are wearing my jewels. I look forward to participating in similar exhibitions.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I want to keep on creating jewels, which you can wear not for one day, not for a season, not for a year, but for a lifetime. Jewels should be for special occasions and tell stories. I hope I can make people happy in the future with a jewel. And I'm looking forward to selling my jewels in shops all over the world.
For more information about Lies's work, have a look at her website: www.lieswambacq.be