The Birds of Paradise
Life is a beach, especially when talking to Australian jewellery designer Lucy Folk about her namesake brand, that arose from experimentation with pasta necklaces when she was in kindergarten. This, alongside growing up in the hospitality industry, and working in her dad’s kitchen, led the designer to go from pasta, all be it al dente, to a full on a feast of food inspired jewellery to serve up to the notoriously hungry fashion crowd. Pizza, anchovies, pretzels and even popcorn have all been electroplated, cast, set and crafted to create the colourful, fun and anything goes universe that embodies Lucy Folk.
After studying silver and goldsmithing at RMIT in Melbourne, she went on to sell her work in art galleries and hold her own exhibitions before finally deciding to officially launch her own brand in 2007. Since then her clever, quirky and best of all fun-inspired pieces have been sold in the biggest stores all over the world. With headquarters in Melbourne, Lucy herself has recently moved to Sydney where she has opened her first custom-made boutique on Bondi Beach. PLAYA, as the boutique is called, is a sophisticated yet fun resort-like boutique offering a completely different shop experience. Resembling more a Balearic cave or even a cake store, every inch of the interiors were created with friend and Australian interior designer Tamsin Johnson. The end result? A shop creating an experience like that of stepping into your favourite resort boutique where you can leave the stress of the city behind.
Now, focusing less on food but still on fun, sun and the colourful style of life, Lucy never ceases to let her immense skill for craftsmanship and design run wild, even through collaboration with other designers. In 2018 she released the Salacia collection in collaboration with British artist and illustrator Luke Edward Hall. Named after the goddess of salt water and female divinity of the sea, the Salacia collection "evokes the sensational splendours of the sea." This week we're back again with Lucy Folk, to take another dip down under, as she opens the PLAYA doors to us once again...
Semaine: My day starts with…
Lucy: An alarm that I hopefully don’t sleep through! That’s followed by some form of exercise, usually Pilates, and then some post-Pilates hot water and lemon with a side of meditation. I then make my way down the hill to a lovely place called Orchard street and get an elixir drink which is very healthy and keeps me on my game. You get to choose your powder which is normally vitality, immunity or energy and that’s your special sprinkle. They top it up with coconut, cashew or almond milk and you can add extras such as Aloe Vera or Maca powder which they whizz it up into a shake or hot drink. Then I head to work.
Semaine: I am happiest when I am…
Lucy: Looking at the ocean.
Semaine: The sea to me is…
Lucy: Heaven and very important to my health. It keeps me grounded.
Semaine: Humour is…
Lucy: Humour is integral to my brand and life. Without humour, everything would seem so sad. I think it’s very important not to take oneself so seriously in life and to have fun with what you do. You spend so much time working and if you can’t enjoy that and have a good laugh then what have you got! I want to ensure that everything I am doing with my brand has a lightness to it and there aren’t these layers that are hard to understand. I want people to feel good when they wear it. It should be an extension of themselves. Some of my pieces are so bold and crazy in terms of the scale or the material. Especially with the crochet and party jewels, it’s all fun. When you wear my pieces, you should associate them with fun.
Semaine: My favourite food to eat is…
Semaine: My favourite food to make a piece of jewellery from was…
Lucy: I think it’s popcorn. It was so wack because it looks like a gnarly tooth. It’s so light and you would never think it could take on this solid form and be preserved like that. It was wild to wear. That was cool, that was my favourite.
Semaine: The most outlandish piece I've ever been asked to make...
Lucy: I got asked to make a crunchola engagement ring. Crunchola is a breakfast cereal which is like a granola. The guy said my girlfriend’s favourite food is blueberry crunchola so we thought about how we could do this. We electroplated the crunchola then we cast it and set blue sapphires into the cereal that was in sterling silver at the time. That was wild! The girl loved it and contacted me a little while ago to tell me that she still adored it and if I could make another piece for her.
Semaine: Favourite piece I've ever made...
Lucy: I made this popcorn ring and it was solid 18 carat gold. Imagine a real piece of popcorn cast in 18 carat gold. It was full on. I wore it as a ring for ages and I felt pretty dope wearing it. That was a good one for me. Also, my anchovy cuffs and my dough cuffs, I wear them every day. They were from my Pizza Collection. The thing is the brand has changed so much. It was all about food but now there is barely any food references except for the fact that we still sell a lot of the older collections in store. The food pieces that still work are quite abstract and you wouldn’t necessarily know that they are inspired by food. For instance, the dough cuff that I wear every day I made by rolling out pizza dough with a chef and then firing it at this restaurant around the corner from my store. It almost looks like aluminium foil that has been rolled into a long tube and then bent into the shape of a cuff and cast. With the anchovy cuff the only real like anchovy essence is the texture. I have those in solid gold and I wear them every day. They are my favourites for sure, 100%.
Semaine: Lucy Folk’s style is…
Lucy: Colourful, playful, eclectic, comfortable and wearable.
Semaine: On bringing the "fun" to the fashion industry...
Lucy: It takes a while to feel confident in the industry because it is very serious and competitive. When you are starting out you are so concerned with succeeding, being in certain stores and trying to fit into a mould or a category whereas now I don’t care about that as much because I have created my own environment to showcase my work and I am far happier being in control with that rather than trying to fit in. I also think that you should be true to yourself and who you are. I’ve been quite specific about where my jewellery is sold, how we manufacture and making sure that the craftsmanship and the quality is secure.
Obviously, you can make things less expensive and sell more but maybe you aren’t as happy with the result whereas I am very focussed on making things well and ensuring that we put as much into a friendship band as an engagement ring. What we invest in each piece is similar no matter the price point or category. It’s nice because I don’t ever feel like we have sold out or sold something just to fit in with what someone else thinks we should do.
Semaine: If I could do it all again and start from zero I would…
Lucy: I would have studied overseas. I regret not spending more time overseas when I was growing up and I’ve never lived overseas which is crazy. It all happens at the right time though and for the right reasons so maybe I wouldn’t change anything!
Semaine: My dream is to…
Lucy: Live an endless summer.
by Joanna Reid for Semaine.
The Birds of Paradise
Salacia signet ring
Soft Palette Blanket X BFGF
Colby ruffled seersucker bikini
Coral sea earrings
Salacia goddess clip on earrings
Get The Look
Lucy Folk style in her own words? "Colourful, playful, eclectic, comfortable and wearable."
Lucy lists her go-to Australian brands for your insider knowledge. Her best basics come from the appropriately named brand Bassike. “I live in Bassike shorts. Their quality is top notch. The cuts are the ultimate. It’s your go to for basics in Australia."
Graffiti Print Vintage Check Baseball Cap
Rose Quartz Mineral crystal
Deep sleep pillow spray - 75ml
Hang Loose Eyewear Chain
Colorescience Sunforgettable Mineral Sunscreenw/Brush SPF 50
Take a dip down under as Lucy takes us to her favourite local spots in Australia.
Minimax EGG portable cooker
Neoprene Beach Bat Case Navy & White
Gato Heroi Chop
Third Degree checked stretch-cotton cropped top
Hammam Towel Stripe Navy
My Beauty Shelf
Lucy gets anxiety if she loses her Coconut Hurraw lip balm and loves to lather her locks in any Santa Maria Novella product she can find. Discover more of this Australian beauty’s beauty essentials.
Lucy provides the soundtrack that is helping her on her way to pursue her dream of ‘living an endless summer.”
Step inside PLAYA, Lucy Folk's custom jewellery boutique on Bondi created in collaboration with friend and interior designer Tamsin Johnson. Likened to a Balearic cave or cake shop, this effortlessly unorthodox isn't the average beach resort style of boutique.