SOPHIE BILLE BRAHE is a Copenhagen based fine jewellery designer. Graduated from London’s Royal College of Arts, fine jewellery designer Sophie Bille Brahe's eponymous brand is sold in some of the the worlds’ most esteemed luxury and fine jewellery spaces and stores. Bille Brahe offers pieces that reflect her thrill for storytelling and avant-garde design, always striving to twist modern luxury. Though the company is young she has quickly assembled a cult following for her elegant designs. Design that has already earned her invitations for showcases and exhibitions globally. Bille Brahe’s designs are consistently featured in top fashion and fine jewellery magazines, and has adorned a clientele of inspiring women.
Bille Brahe is inspired by the reflections in precious stones and gold, the main theme of which includes poetic elements, innovation, the unexplained and her admiration for her Scandinavian design heritage. Over the last few years, she has created a number of showpieces for international designers including Japan’s Sacai. Beside her collection Sophie creates handcrafted, one-of-a-kind pieces sold solely to selective clients.
“For the past few seasons, the collections have been telling stories. This time I wanted to go back to instinct, to simplify – let the collection breathe. I kept coming back to the shape of the circle, the swell and hollow of a curve. I was really drawn to the clean roundness of hoop earrings. And I wanted to use diamonds, but not in an obvious way. So we made a pavé setting for the Kelly Pavé hoops. They are very classic earrings, but at the same time big and over-the-top, with a hip- hop, 90s vibe. I grew up with R&B on MTV – and it took me back to a time when life was simple, listening to Aaliyah and Neneh Cherry.You notice the Kelly Pavé hoops. I let a little bling in, but in a subtle and Scandi way. I like doing stuff that I’m not allowed to.”
“I wanted to tell an optimistic story with this collection. The bananas are my tribute to Josephine Baker. I know some people find the banana dance unsettling or exploitative. But as a woman, watching her, all I see is power, freedom and strength – and pure joy. I wanted some Josephine wiggle for Spring/Summer 2017. Shells for me are a symbol of dreaming and finding my way back to a happy, innocent place. The shell in this collection has a special place in my heart – it’s based on a mussel that my three-year-old boy found on the beach near Copenhagen.”
“I found myself coming back to the surreal this season – images that pull you into a drama, into a dream. Louise Bourgeois’s drawings of women morphing with houses. Dali and those disturbing, uncanny dreams that begin so normally, so mundanely, and then suddenly twist and snake into secretive, hidden places. And Georgia Keeffe’s flowers. I think at the heart of the collection is a tension I was feeling between wanting to make everything controlled but also feminine and organic, nature coming together with design.”
“The collection started with an odd dream I had in which I was climbing ladders, one after the other. It was a both eerie and positive experience that I interpreted as a sign to start a new chapter in my life. I was also thinking of Yoko Ono’s ladder installation YES from the 1960s – the first artwork that John Lennon ever saw by her. I also recently discovered a beautiful etching by Chagall of the rainbow that God sent to earth at the end of the Flood. That painting has a dream-like quality to it, like something pulled from deep within the subconscious.”
“For the Autumn/Winter 2015 collection I was inspired by recent travels to Tokyo, memories of the blushing rose colours in spring, the Japanese night sky and the tragic myth of Orihime and Hikoboshi – a seamstress and cowherd who fell madly in love, blind to everything but each other. Orihime’s furious father ordered them to live on separate sides of the Milky Way.”
For the Spring/Summer 2015 collection Sophie balances an industrial mark with organic shapes. These worlds are beautifully summed up in the Pirouette pieces, influenced by Oskar Schlemmer’s avant-garde ballet, Triadisches Ballett. Schlemmer’s Bauhaus inspired costume design led to Sophie’s winding diamond rings. Since graduating from London’s Royal College of Art in 2006, Sophie Bille Brahe has been preoccupied by femininity in all forms. With her most recent collections Sophie has pushed it even further, and is positively explicit in the signature piece Les Mamelons, which can best be translated as ‘the boobies’.
Sophie Bille Brahe’s Pre-Spring 2015 collection of fine jewelry in gold, precious stones and glass, entitled Venise, draws inspiration from her memories of Venice – the beauty of its stone fabric and endless fascination of its stories. Lately, the city sited on 117 small islands separated by canals and linked by bridges has acquired mythic powers for Sophie. Her imaginary trips, Thomas Mann’s novel Death In Venice, the Grand Canal, actress Elizabeth Taylor’s dolphins and the night sky inspire a tribute to the City of Water in gold, diamonds, pearls and hand-made glass.
Sophie Bille Brahe redefines the undercurrent of strictness and control in her first collections with sensual shapes inspired by the pearl. A reaction in part to the severe geometry of past seasons, Sophie introduces asymmetric shapes evolved from new practices she has been developing in her studio. The Sophie Bille Brahe col- lection confidently and elegantly expresses her internal tension between sensuality, dreaminess and something stricter: “I try to be pure and clear,” the designer ex- plains. “But I can’t help myself, I’m a dreamer, I dream of the enormous ocean, the moon, the lavishness… and lately I have had this dream of the dolphins that swim in Bowie’s Heroes and Picasso’s erotic painting Le Rêve… so they’re in there as well.”
The Sophie Bille Brahe collection for Spring/Summer 2014 La Pyramide de Perles takes its cue from the celestial bodies above the pyramids in mythical Egypt.
“For this collection I have looked at the pyramids and the mythical correlation between the moon and the stars above them. I imagined the great beauty of Cleopatra’s universe. Especially the legend of how she crushed her pearl earrings dissolved them in wine and drank it to protect Egypt. The collection quickly became an exploration of juxtapositions of the Egypt Empire’s lavishness, my endless fascination of the sky, sand, sea mixed with Las Vegas lights, actress Elizabeth Taylor and TLC’s Waterfalls,” explains Sophie Bille Brahe.
However, as an overall take the collection is combining different themes creating a look that strives to be personal. This is expressed by pearls used as moons on triangular elipses. All pieces are produced in solid gold and the finest quality of precious stones. Another addition to the Sophie Bille Brahe universe is her personal interpretations of the twelve zodiac signs. She found her inspiration in Wu Tang, Marky Mark anno 1991, the expressive aesthetic of Gianni Versace and the phases of the moon just to name a few of the sources for her new collection of jewellery charms.
“After the metropolis and buildings in the debut collection, the Cassiopeia collection was inspired by the brilliant star constellation of Cassiopeia, observed by astronomer Tycho Brahe.”
“The inspiration for the Pavillion Étoile collection is a jaunt back in time to my great-great-great grandfather, the astronomer Tycho Brahe, to the island of Hven, where he built a beautiful observatory, Uranienborg, and the stars he discovered there.”
“The inspiration for the Autumn/Winter 2013 collection arises from Atlantis, the ancient island that sank into the ocean in a single day and night of misfortune. I imagined the city surrounded by waves and skies in organic and sculptural shapes. In this underwater world there is sea urchin shaped domes and walls covered with harlequins. No beginning and no end. No up and no down. Ocean in the sky and clouds in the sea in my secret Atlantis.”