Normally a cave brings to mind dank, subterranean grottos, but entering this airy space required climbing up six flights of stairs to the top of Curtin House. It was worth straining your quads for though, because the industrial interior was decked out with magnificent pieces of jewelry from some of Melbourne’s most talented independent designers.
The CAVE has now coincided with L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival in both 2011 and 2012. It’s one of the initiatives of Melbourne Metal Collective, launched in 2011 to promote local jewelry designers by showcasing their work through a series of exhibitions, group shows, pop-up stores and collaborations. Comprising of seven idiosyncratic local designers united by a singular vision, it’s a scheme by creatives for creatives.
Painfully hip French-born designer Estelle Dévé is just one of the masterminds behind Melbourne Metal Collective. Her delicate pewter-cast chains and statement rings have already adorned the extremities of fashion powerhouses Susie Bubble, Florence Welsh, and Anja Rubik for Vogue, as well as lighting up the pages of forward-thinking titles Russh, Fallen, and Oyster. Other designers on board with the scheme include Andy Henson of the dark and visually stimulating Henson label (above) and, at the other end of the light spectrum, Alexandra Anson with her savagely bold Lucite designs for Alexandra Blak (below).
The unique CAVE pop-up also gave discerning jewelry junkies a look at what inspired the collections of each individual designer. Displays consisted not just of neon Lucite and precious metals but of fascinating trinkets and curiosities, including model animals, sea shells, and fetish-esque leather masks. And with past ventures ranging from film collaborations to one-off pieces of jewelry made from teeth and human hair, the future of independent Melbourne jewelry design looks to be equally fascinating.