Forget the A-list celebrities downtown designer Jules Kim has outfitted with her exquisite head-turning jewels; this bohemian flower child trapped in the body of a supermodel inspires all of us to adorn our bodies with her edgy new collection, Il Futuro. With the opening of her flagship showroom in the belly of the Bowery, Bijulesterie, you can experience an appointment-only jewelry consultation. “There’s a tension that builds as you descend into my new showroom,” explains the designer. “You let go of the stress of your day, and once you start trying on the pieces …” Jules flashes me a coy smile, and I can see how clients fall under her spell. “The client has an intimate, undivided collection of moments inside my four cool walls. It’s not an ordinary retail experience, which is based on the client being vulnerable and then experiencing satisfaction,” explains Kim. “And I don’t design based on the season or trends. My jewelry will last forever. You could bury it and dig it up in 1000 years.” For years, Bijules jewelry has primarily been about gilding the body with ornaments, but with the opening of her showroom, the designer is taking the brand beyond the flesh and creating an organic, inventive, and artistic experience. She calls her Bijulesterie a “spatial interpretation of the work.”
Aside from her innovative aesthetic in jewelry, which has been worn by Beyonce, Rihanna, and Rooney Mara in the 2011 film The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Kim is a savvy businesswoman who is well aware of who is ripping off the designs she showcases on her website. Of this, she dismissively says, “My clients know where to get the real thing.” Subsequently, she’s known as being tough in the business. But, she points out, when you’re dealing with male-dominated diamond vendors, some who won’t even shake a woman’s hand, Kim says, “What do you expect me to be?”
Additionally, she has an extensive silversmith background because, as she explains, “You have to understand your medium, how the metal moves.”
So far, her signature pieces are the Nail Ring,™ Handlet, (a bracelet for the hand) the Bar Ring, and the Bony Knuckle Ring. One of my favorite pieces of the Bijules brand is the Nail Ring™ Bling Privee, which has a concealed diamond (facing the person wearing it, as opposed to a traditional diamond ring, where the diamond is facing the public). “It’s like lingerie,” says Kim. “Only for you.” What’s fantastic about the Nail Ring™ is that it’s totally functional and won’t slip off, and Kim will customize her pieces to meet each client’s personal aesthetic.
Here’s a quick Q&A with the designer:
BG: What’s your inspiration?
JK: Different parts of the body.
BG: What goes into creating a collection?
JK: People can become super obsessed with what they wish they could have. I like to make things that will become peoples’ icons.
BG: For the jewelry novice, what’s your advice on how to build a jewelry collection?
JK: Respect the element of comfort. You must be comfortable with the jewels on your body. Start simple, going one piece at a time. There’s a world of opportunity in the art of adorning yourself. Then, gradually, learn how to diversify. Push the elements of style and play with different shapes and colors.
BG: How should people store jewelry?
JK: That’s up to you. I have a porcelain lotus flower candleholder by my bedside. But my whole apartment stores my jewelry; I have a coo-coo clock with necklaces hanging from it.
BG: What’s the best way to care for jewelry?
JK: Every piece is different based on how your body chemistry works with the metal. But, a great trick is to use a soft bristle toothbrush, soap, and warm water. The piece will look new afterwards.
To make an appointment at Jules Kim’s Bijulesterie, send your name and contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org or meet the designer in person at Select Summer Fridays, a party hosted by Kim and Katie Longmyer at Le Bain on the rooftop of the Standard New York 3-8 PM through August 31.