Born in Singapore but based in Hong Kong, jewellery designer Lauren Khoo runs one of the hottest brands in the business. Having twice collaborated with Oscar de la Renta, her designs are elegantly architectural, fun and edgy. She tells us about her path to her stellar career.
Apart from wanting to be an architect, I longed to run my own contemporary art gallery.
I break down my collections into six categories: Gaia, Khool, Passion, Build, Cosmos, and the X Collection. New designs are introduced whenever inspiration strikes, for example, I could be adding to old collections while working on a new one.
Mostly from my travels. I wanted to be an architect long before taking up jewellery so I’m always in awe of great building design and construction. A design normally begins with an idea that connects to a certain aspect of my life that I’m experiencing, or a past experience. I then do some research, delving into history books and so on, which I then follow with sketches with pencil on paper.
I was lucky enough to meet designers Laura Kim and David Aliperti of Oscar de la Renta and we immediately hit it off. That’s when the magic began: they told me their vision, and I was given their colour palette for the upcoming collection, and right there and then my mind started working at full speed. Laura wanted birds and I wanted birds that symbolised love and commitment, which was when lovebirds and hummingbirds came to mind. The symbolism of both birds were perfect for Oscar de la Renta’s romantic side, and the style in which I designed them was perfect for that revamp that current creative directors Laura and Fernando Garcias had in mind.
I launched my gummy bear collection in September 2018, which has been a huge hit for the brand. I’ve always straddled between bespoke and fun, youthful pieces. Lately, I’ve been focusing more on the playful aspect of the brand. I call them my Khool series. I guess you can say all my pieces are reflections of the mood I’m in during my design process. At this moment, due to the coronavirus, I’ve been more focused on the playful aspect of the brand. I’ve been wanting to create a long-standing collection that draws upon motifs that played a huge role in my childhood. These pieces are more fun-loving and relatable to a younger, more fashionable crowd but also to a wider audience.
Moda Operandi, FarFetch Private Clients and Club 21.
Cartier is my favourite brand. I appreciate the impeccable artisanship and stunningly beautiful design sketches. A great example would be Christie’s auction held June 19th of last year; it showcased some rare commissioned items by Cartier that were made for clients from Sybil Sassoon, Marchioness of Cholmondeley, Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patialaand, and Solomon Barnato Joel (who helped fund the DeBeers Consolidated Mines in partnership with Cecil Rhodes). Another spectacular jeweller I love is Joel Arthur Rosenthal (JAR) with his out-of-this-world creations that push the boundaries of design. He was a man truly in a league of his own. He’s known for his needlepoint past, setting his pieces in a stitch-like arrangement. My favourite fashion designers are Oscar de La Renta, Mary-Kate and Ashley for The Row, Daniel Lee for Bottega Veneta and Cecilie Bahnsen.
For me, craftsmen are rather difficult to find. I had specific movements in my maiden series, and I had to be sure that the craftsmen understood my drawings and vision. My pieces are handmade by skilled artisans in Hong Kong. Sourcing for the right stones is also another challenge. Eventually, I found most from my dealers abroad in India, New York, Japan and Thailand.