Artist? Style Inspiration? I know this title may be a bit confusing, but I think I’ll be able to clarify it for you. Just read on…
It all started at the beginning of the Couture show last year in Las Vegas. I was walking along the hallway between ballrooms, and I saw this woman with an intriguing outfit on — one that really made me think to myself, “Wow — that is something I would love to wear!” Granted, this is an extremely rare thought for me. As a professional wardrobe stylist, I’m constantly surrounded by the latest styles, but very few resonate with me personally. I don’t normally dress like the typical gal out there; I describe my personal style as “urban bohemian,” as I like combining caftans with combat boots, and camouflage with silk and diamonds. When a guy in my town commented, “You don’t dress like people around here,” I took it as a huge compliment.
So here was this woman, looking effortlessly chic in pants, fab jewelry, and a jacket of various shades of white/tan with embellishment that certainly must be haute couture, as I had never seen one like it before. I had to approach her and compliment her look (not knowing that it was Bibi van der Velden). And guess what I found out — she MADE that jacket herself!! Each day I’d see her at the Wynn (where Couture is held), and each day she looked equally unique, wearing some sort of statement jacket. On the last day I was at the show, I finally was able to officially meet her and see her jewelry line (don’t worry — I’ll get to that in a bit).
Do you see what I mean? Her jacket just makes her whole look (along with the necklaces, of course). From what I saw of her during the show, her jackets are integral to her style signature. Bibi has no idea, but taking note of her style has really influenced me. For anyone who knows me, black is my go-to color, along with denim. But suddenly, I started looking for unique, statement jackets to incorporate into my wardrobe. Jackets that suited ME. I didn’t copy her look, but I adapted it to my own aesthetic. And you know what? It’s really been fun! I’ve found quite a few that suit my coloring and personality, and I feel really happy when I wear them. My closet is SO different than it was just a year ago.
So this should explain the “Style Inspo” portion of the title. Now, let’s get to the artist part. Bibi van der Velden is way more than simply a jewelry designer. You already know she can design and sew clothing, but I also learned that her field of training is sculpture. In fact, her mom is the accomplished sculptor Michèle Deiters. They work together creating truly unique works of art. You can learn more about their work on BibiMichel.com. As I looked through the gallery on their site, I could really feel the strong and creative mother-daughter bond. (photo by Rahi Rezvani)
Not only is she a seamstress and a sculptor, but this mother of two is ALSO a jewlery designer. (Does she ever have time to sleep??) And let me tell you, her jewelry is as special as she is. I could have spent hours in her booth, trying on each and every piece. The group that first pulled at my heart is her Galaxy Collection. Having a life-long affinity for celestial themes, I tried on this Galaxy Dome Ring, where the gems are pinned under a hand carved rock crystal and surround by rose gold. I couldn’t stop staring into its sparkling depths.
Take a look at the colors, materials and detail in this big Galaxy Opal Ring. You can see why her line is aptly named “Wearable Works of Art!” This ring is truly sculpture for your hand.
I would wear these Galaxy opal earrings in a heartbeat, with everything from a cotton sundress to a black tie gown.
Bibi’s Scarab Collection was also irresistible. If you can believe it, she uses the actual wings from scarab beetles in these pieces. Now don’t worry, no insects were harmed in the creation of the jewelry. In fact, these scarab wings are considered the “leftovers” after eating a particular Thai delicacy. Bibi prides herself on being eco-conscious, and using these wings is right in tune with her ethos. I tried on a bunch of her scarab rings. The iridescence of the wings is quite spectacular.
This collection is especially popular with jewelry-lovers, and it’s one of her top sellers. I can see why. I adore this scarab and pearl bangle. Don’t you love the adornments on the scarab’s wings?
Also in line with her dedication to the environment is her use of 40,000 year old mammoth tusks in her jewelry. Found under the Siberian permafrost, this material is completely transformed in Bibi’s hands. These earrings are part of her Pop Art collection. I bet that mammoth never anticipated he’d be decorated with various hues of sapphires.
Her Jellyfish Collection was inspired by a white jellyfish she saw while traveling. She perfectly captures the essence of this creature in solar quartz and sterling silver.
Finally…and I can’t believe I’m including this, as I’m DEATHLY afraid of spiders…but here are two spider/spiderweb pieces. Though spiders really do freak me out, I couldn’t help but admire the craftsmanship in this necklace and ring.
Finally, I also have to mention Auverture, which is a one-of-a-kind online jewelry store, the likes of which I haven’t seen before. It features the work of 14 ultra-talented designers — things you likely won’t be able to find where you live. It delves into the story behind each piece. Bibi is one of the co-founders of the site. (Seriously, does she have ANY free time?) For a little more about its story, click here.
I hope I have now clarified the title of this article, over 1000 words later. Have you enjoyed this glimpse into the work of Bibi van der Velden? I can’t wait to see what she’s showing at Couture this year!