A new Elke Kramer collection is pretty much bound to get the heart palpitating, purely based on the fact that this Australian jewellery designer has an aesthetic that is entirely her own. Elke Kramer isn't concerned with super fine gems and metals for her work but instead explores material and texture so that she elevates surfaces like stone, cork and wood into something amazing. This time round, Elke Kramer's S/S 13 "Concrete" collection comes with a film that literally just premiered as part of Sydney's Vivid Festival in partnership with Portable. Elke collaborated with film maker Nicole Rose to create this striking short film on the alchemy of love, inspired by Louis Kahn's bleak but monumental architecture. The film explores themes of female archetypes in both the adulation and persecution of women with Elke's jewellery used as a ceremonial masking and adornment of the leading femme. In addition rope artist Garth Knight trusses up both the man that was conjured up as well as the woman, which ties (excuse the pun) in with both the physical elements of the jewellery as well as this imagined ritual by Nicole and Elke. The mystical qualities of film as well as the way the jewellery has been used as both elevating decoration and a defensive mask of menace is all tying in nicely with all the Qarth bits in Game of Thrones. An obvious and vaguely gauche reference. Blame it on the exhilirating TV catch-up that ensues after lengthy travels.
The collection itself is a fitting summation of what Elke Kramer's jewellery is all about – Louis Kahn's architecture was about a combination of elements that come together to create something greater than what the materials indicate and likewise, Elke's jewellery fuses materials together in a way that is unexpected but ultimately majestic. The lookbook begins with a Kahn quote, "Even a brick wants to be something.' Limestone, cork, concrete, pumice and jade are therefore the "somethings" in this jewellery story. Elke's distinctive feel for shapes gives symmetry and proper proportion to the collection, what with the use of spheres and cylinders (objects that feel good in the hands) and a preference for chunky and oversized sizing. Beyond clever elemental combos, Elke's non-precious approach gives her jewellery an earthiness that is friendly and tangible (in pricing and in feeling).
Elke's current campaign for her A/W 12 Alchemy collection is also another summary of Elke's aesthetic as she puts together a collection of her "greatest hits" from all her previous ranges and asks her friends (some recognisable figures in the Australian fashion scene like Anna of Romance was Born or Nicole Glaven from Under the Wing) to be a part of the lookbook, wearing the pieces in their own way.