BEHIND THE BRAND: MARIA FRANCESCA PEPEFebruary 28, 2014
With a new jewellery collaboration between Urban Outfitters and Maria Francesca Pepe on its way (pre-order here), we stopped by the designer’s London HQ to chat to MFP herself. Thankfully, the Italian born talent let us snoop around her studio and let us in on the upcoming collection, and a ton more…
UO: What’s the theme behind the UO x Maria Francesca Pepe collection?
Maria: This collection is kind of like a series of lucky charms. Stars, crystals and spikes run through the collaboration – there’s a very mystical, ethereal element to everything. That’s very me.
UO: What ideas are you trying to convey through the range?
M: It’s about trying to make something that’s very delicate, interesting. Symbolism’s important too. The chain on one of my necklace designs makes a triangle. At one point of the triangle is the star, one is the light and another is the Earth – it symbolises how energy is distributed. I always try to capture meaning in my designs even if the piece is very simple.
UO: What’s your favourite piece from the collection?
M: The midi-finger rings. They play a big part in enhancing the look of other rings you’re wearing too – you’re layering up and kind of dressing your hand. They’re almost like tattoos.
UO:How have your designs moved on this season?
M: I feel like there’s a new take on jewellery. Before, it was about statement pieces, a big stone here and chunky necklace there. Today it’s all abut creating your own style, so I’ve created more pieces you can style and put together yourself. It makes the whole thing more interesting and fun.
UO: Can you talk us through the process from design to the end product?
M: I design everything here in London. We have press, sales and a small lab for finishing touches. Then I send it out to the factories in Italy where they make the product en masse. The quality there is high and obviously I’m Italian so it gives me the chance to go back home every now and then too.
UO: What drew you to London from Italy?
M: I wanted to live in London since the first time I came here. There’s a real sense of freedom and a feeling that you can achieve anything here. I remember being on the tube, surrounded by people I didn’t know. I’m from a small town in Italy where everyone knows everyone so it was a complete change.
UO: So does street style play a big part in your design approach?
M: Yeah. I’m always curious to see what comes out of fashion week, but when you actually see those pieces on the real person, you get a better idea of how that piece translates to real life. Who do you become when you wear it? How does it make you feel? You get more of a story from street style.
UO: Do you have a specific girl in mind when you’re creating your designs?
M: I always think of my friends and people I meet. It’s important to keep them in mind. When you design, you need to think of how it will look in real life. Who will wear it? Where will she be? What she will pair it with? I like to think of the whole look, not just the jewellery on its own.
Pre-order the exclusive UO x Maria Francesca Pepe collection here.