These pearls have nothing to do with stream-line status symbols and bourgeois soberness.
Pichulik is a handcrafted Capetonian brand inspired by cross-cultural ideas of self-discovery and womanhood. It celebrates the cycles of ebb and flow existing both in nature and in the female body, the intimate relationship women share with their jewels, and the talismanic value of ornaments as praised by myths and traditions all over the world. Pieces are both warm and sophisticated, characterized by a distinctive use of chunky shapes and natural materials while signature styles include hoop earrings made of rope and a range of pendants, cuffs, and braided chokers, all garnished with non-ferrous metals, pearls, pebbles, and wooden beadwork.
The fall/winter 2017 jewelry collection, “Ama”, designed by founder and creative director Katherine Mary Pichulik, translates as “women of the sea” and was inspired by the ancient tradition of Japan’s pearl divers, “women who have been free-diving for over 2000 years, holding their breath for minutes at a time and relying on no more than a rope tying them to a buoy” she explains.
Photographs from the 1930s portray these women smiling on a beach, as if self discovery had begun with a free dive and sharing the extraordinary challenges and rewards of their daily hazards were nothing short of vital, in a culture that didn’t allow for women to be independent of their fathers and husbands. Today “like the Ama pearl divers, women have to dive deep into their subconscious to discover who they are before emerging with the pearl, so to speak.”
The influence of eastern esthetics is also evident in the choice of materials that acquire a patina over time. Made of wood, bronze, and brass they evoke ideas wabi-sabi, the Japanese concept that celebrates imperfection and accepts transience. Upon closer inspection, even some of our favorite pearls reveal themselves as hand painted wooden beads (Enso line).
Somewhat complementary to Ama, spring/summer 2018 designs are all about seasonal rituals and festivals rooted in nature’s inherent luxury and abundance. Brass cast shells, sculptural formations, and honey-colored tassels are strung on dangly rope structures creating an interplay of shimmering shapes and negative spaces.
For the Harvest collection, Pichulik also teamed up with ceramic artist Michelle Legg who embellished the brands signature chokers with Abalone shells and porcelain.
Pin-striped linen and hand-dyed hemp apparel by Katherine Mary’s accomplice, Nadya von Stein enhance both jewelry collections. FW17 garments are characterized by oriental silhouettes—power dresses with kimono-like sleeves in shades of mustard, blue, and red are the key pieces—, high necklines, low backs, and beautiful Mungo prints that exalt the label’s African lineage, while SS18 reinterprets Britain’s Land Girls attire during World War II, taking its cue from and the kind of versatile tailoring that heralded first steps in women’s emancipation throughout the 40s.
It’s no longer a secret that Œ has a fondness for women in decision-making roles, even more so when artists and designers with complementary visions team like here to create something so striking. We are certainly excited about what’s coming up next!