“Scandinavian bling” is how the Danish jewelry designer Sophie Bille Brahe jokingly describes her new spring/summer 2017 collection, which will be presented in Paris tonight.
Though she is best known for designing elegant single earrings —most notably a crescent-shaped style with a row of white diamonds — this season, for the first time, she will offer them in pairs. One such style, the “Kelly Boucle” hoops, are cast in gold and capped at each end with either Japanese Akoya pearls or diamonds. Named for the rapper Chris Kelly, one-half of the ’90s hip-hop duo Kris Kross, they can be worn back to front — just like the drop-crotch reversible pants he made famous. In true Scandi style, Sophie, who trained as a goldsmith and works exclusively with gold, has kept the “bling” tastefully light, employing only a minimal amount.
To bring the collection to life, the 36-year-old designer approached her younger brother, Frederik Bille Brahe, chef and owner of the hip restaurants Caf Atelier September and Restaurant Havfruen in Copenhagen. Together, they’ve conceived the idea for an intimate, candlelit dinner for 30 people, where food and jewelry will appear side-by-side. Inspired by Sophie’s opulent new collection, Frederik, who has flown in to Paris for just 48 hours, has sourced ingredients for a decadent yet simple menu. There will be boiled eggs with caviar to start, followed by risotto lavished with gold leaf and shaved black truffle — “I bought half a kilo from Italy,” he says, his eyes lighting up. Like Sophie’s designs, each of Fredrik’s creations centers on one precious ingredient. “The whole essence of what I do is high-quality produce, cooked as it should be cooked,” he says. “There is always one hero product — it might be a beautiful tomato marinated in honey and served with herbs, but the tomato is the centerpiece.”
Sophie acknowledges their shared approach: “I like a cleanness in my materials: If I use a diamond, I want it to be the purest diamond; I don’t want it to be decorative,” she says, “My brother works with produce in the same way.”
For the presentation of her collection and the food, Sophie has spent weeks scouring antique stores and friends’ basements in Copenhagen for unique tableware. She’s pulled together a pastiche of porcelain, in a palette of deep rose pink and faded green, which will offset the gold jewelry displayed on cake stands in the center of the dining table. For each of the guests, Sophie has also plated antique demitasse spoons in 14-karat gold and set a freshwater pearl in the spoon’s bowl. Wildflowers and fresh fruit, spilling over platters, will complete the picture.
Such homey touches are important to the siblings, who aspire to create a familial setting that will encourage guests to slow down and savor the experience. This evening’s desert, for example, a lemon pie inspired by one their mother always makes, finishes the meal on a very personal note. As Sophie puts it: “People attach feelings to jewelry like they do with food — both are always associated with memories.”