Though often disregarded, there is a delicate divide between ‘loving’ and falling ‘in love’ (with a style). But Ludivine Machinet and Frederic Baldo of the quixotically avant-garde French adornment brand Nuit No.12 showed us how intoxicating the latter can be. See, back during the S/S ’13 shows, despite the instant attraction we developed for the dark fantasy worlds that Rodarte and Ann Demeulemeester manifested, it was Nuit No.12’s romantic interpretation of the motif (think: metal rings sculpted into skeletal angel wings) that transported us to an uncommonly beautiful place where we were left gasping for air, wanting more, more, more.
Perhaps then, we should call Machinet and Baldo our lovers? Let’s see what the designers have to say about that (Hint: it’s heart-wrenchingly poetic.).
How did you decide to launch the brand?
Ludivine Machinet and Frederic Baldo: Following our career path in fashion, it began to feel essential to materialize our universe -- our desires -- by creating our own brand. The birth of this creative process through the accessory, which embodies the epitome of a style and the subtlest part of the silhouette, allows us a great freedom.
What does the name, Nuit No. 12, represent?
LM & FB: We wanted a name that would be very evocative, very dreamlike, and expressed the desire to see our jewelry embody a fantasy world.
You collection is said to take inspiration from the Wunderkammer. What is your dream Wunderkammer like?
LM & FB: Our ideal “Cabinet of Wonder” would take place at Hotel de Lauzun (Hôtel Particulier in Paris from the time of Louis XIV), and be filled with drawings by Max Ernst, Hans Bellmer & Felicien Rops; a totally deformed Christ from Wim Delvoye, William Burroughs’s original writings, Daido Mariyama and Pierre Molinier’s pictures, two of Christian Martyrs’s skeletons from Waldsassen Basalica, sculptures from Richard Stipl and Carolein Smit, David Cerny “Guns” installation covering the ceiling, an unmarked silver gilt mounted Nautilus of the 19th century, porcelains from the manufactory of Numphemberg, ancient weapons….
So is the bad angel/ Goth rebel vibe of your collection intentional?
LM & FB: Not really, our inspiration comes mainly from our muse: the night, a time when silence, darkness, and spooky shadows seize the city. It is then that imagination breaks with reality and awakens, offering us access to visions, dreams and fantasies. Mysterious and elusive -- full of promises and lies -- it gives us the illusion of an infinite field of possibilities, and emanates an intoxicating sensuality.
How do you translate your concepts into tangible pieces?
LM & FB: We enlist the help of the scores of skilled French craftsmen well versed in the most luxurious materials. Our creative approach highlights complex techniques and experimentation; our work is really close to ‘haute couture’ in the sense that we test the limits of jewelry design, with some very limited edition pieces.
The first step in production is digitizing the patterns and designs in 3D so we can cut and engrave the metal. Next, the metals are shaped and assembled by our welder, then polished, and covered by a finishing. And finally, depending on the piece and the fabric, other craftsmen take part (leathering, wood carving; working with horn and Mother of Pearl, enameling) in the process.
What is your expert styling advice for the collection?
LM & FB: The idea is to adorn! A waist surrounded by metal, a neckline enhanced by a metallic collar, an accumulation of bracelets and large cuffs…
Who do you envision wearing Nuit No. 12?
LM & FB: An unconventional, non-conforming person. Perhaps a hybrid creature, somewhere between Anita Berber, Medea, and Ian Curtis.