For fall, jewelry designer Eddie Borgo was inspired by hidden New York: those cogs and gears that click and hum just below the surface to make our city work.
He started with the work of Steve Duncan, a Brooklyn-based photographer who explores the "undercity" (Duncan's word for it) of New York. "I found out about him because I wanted to do a collection based on expansion joints for a really long time," he said. "I find them so interesting from an engineering standpoint and when I was doing research on these types of different pipe networks and expansion joints I found his photography." Duncan's photos were photocopied and pasted on mood boards propped around the apartment Borgo uses as a showroom in Paris.
Borgo was so excited, so passionate about his new collection and New York-as-inspiration that he even made me miss the city--not an easy thing to do in Paris.
"The idea from season to season is to take elements from the street and from the subculture of our city," Borgo explained. "They are things that maybe upon first thought are not covetable, when you think of them you may think about the gritty aspect and then we take that and refine it through pave crystal or using a really beautiful finish or doing two tone plating." For example, a cuff that looks like a manhole cover.
More specifically, Borgo looked at engineering systems--centuries old--but still working right below you. Bolt and plate systems, coil networks, the piping in the waterway networks--you can see all of it in his fall collection (below).
And because Borgo's iconic pieces--those spiked bracelets and rings--are so often knocked off, I had to ask: Does it bother him? "At first I was flattered," Borgo said. But then he realized it was hurting his business. By cutting into their bread and butter core collection, Borgo loses funds that would otherwise go to making innovative, progressive show pieces like the ones I'd just seen. And then where will the new ideas come from?