27 Jul. 2020



Interview with designer, Sophie Pfeffer


Interview with designer, Sophie Pfeffer

It has now been 15 years since Sophie Pfeffer began making jewellery. Self-taught, she decided to hang up her lawyer’s gown in order to turn her true passion into a profession and launch her own brand, ‘5 Octobre’. In her Parisian workshop, located in the heart of Saint Germain des Prés, she crafts precious and refined pieces, following her imagination and drawing on a wide range of sources for inspiration. Gold, silver, emeralds, gemstones - the designer likes to enhance the essential nature of these stones to make them even more unique. We interviewed this designer who has captured the spirit of the times.

“Jewellery is, above all, a question of passion and desire, one of creating beautiful things,” begins Sophie Pfeffer. “Only a love and passion for the craft fuels this creative energy and allows you to spread it around you.” For the designer, inspiration for her collections comes from antique jewels and vintage pieces, as well as contemporary art, sculptures, paintings and fashion, all resulting in pure and contemporary pieces. The idea of her creations having a ‘personal history’ is what really interests this designer, which is what she strives to recreate through her choice of stones and metals. She aims to give soul to jewels through use of precious materials, combining their history with that of their new owners: the personal history of a piece of jewellery. This is the story of ‘The Necklace’, just as it inspired Guy de Maupassant all those years ago.

The spirit of 5 Octobre’s collections is, therefore, to combine ancestral raw material expertise with the dexterity of the modern artist. “When I design, I start with a drawing, a concept or even the material itself. Each collection corresponds to an imagined world, a precise theme. There is always continuity throughout my creations and collections,” explains Sophie Pfeffer. The designer increasingly offers limited editions and unique pieces. It is a return to pure luxury to be the only person to wear a certain piece. For now, the designer produces in small quantities and on an order-by-order basis. She explains: “We’ve had this philosophy for our business since we started. This is more than a philosophy born out of trends - it’s a DNA which corresponds neither to a marketing strategy, nor to an illusory greenwashing aim.” Behind this expertise and these refined compositions, where the stone remains the star of the show, are a chain of craftspeople, all of whom share a love of beautiful and precious objects. All of 5 Octobre’s creations are, therefore, a celebration of craftsmanship in all its splendour: the rough, the bright and the shiny.

The world is changing: consumers, overloaded with years of mass-marketing and consumerism, are gradually coming back to a culture of beauty and slowness. “We have to recreate the dream,” Sophie Pfeffer tells us. “What’s more, we have to give objects back their value. There is a real responsible approach within creation. Lead by example, don't overproduce and don't create things that aren't useful in the end." However, when it comes to art and fashion, utility should not trump creativity. For what is art, if not the will to transcend reality? “Of course, fashion, like art and any quest for beauty, is futile… But we also need to give meaning to what we create. Our jewellery reflects our image, values and vision of the world.” It’s this little bit of extra soul in Sophie Pfeffer's designs that could also play into her old-fashioned charm and almost nostalgic romance. Looking at these precious pieces of jewellery, we can imagine the raw stone; the Parisian workshop and the elegant designer who draws inspiration from books, works of art and her own thoughts. Then we think of the hands that make them; the long hours put in by these craftspeople to create them… We can’t help but be mesmerised. A story unfolds: the personal history of the piece.

This is a story that the designer has shared with Premiere Classe since starting her journey fifteen years ago. “Times change. For example, the internet has arrived. However, Premiere Classe remains a very relevant trade show, and an essential presence in the fashion industry. This human contact is necessary as the internet evens out the playing field and puts everyone on the same level. Only these face-to-face meetings enable us to create meaning within design. Artisans, designers and even buyers must meet in person. They must come down from their ivory towers,” she concludes with a smile. At Premiere Classe, dialogue between professionals remains essential as they come to discuss the market, techniques and good procedures. Conversation between designers is equally important; they come to gauge reactions to their new collections, with a selective and sharp-eyed audience. This is an essential first step before commercialisation, as attested by the many designers who gathered at this edition.

“Giving meaning to creation is what brings humanity to our world,” concludes the passionate jewellery designer. In giving meaning to her jewellery through responsible production and personalisation, Sophie Pfeffer consistently revives the tradition of a unique and precious piece of jewellery, rich in history and symbolism. From gemstones in unusual colours to vintage pieces, from rough sets of jewels to minimalist compositions, these pieces act as an invitation to travel back in time. Moreover, they invite us to live a life as long and prosperous as that of these jewels. Making the most of past lives, something which Sophie Pfeffer is so fond of, is a luxury so often lost today, despite having everything to gain by doing so.

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