Prestige teams up with Maison Cartier and designer Michelle Maryam for a special photo shoot and a chat about design and timelessness
When we first met Michelle Maryam in late 2020 for her inclusion in our 40 Under 40 list of that year, we learned how the fashion designer-slash-entrepreneur established her very own fashion label, MARYALLÉ, and then went on to expand the brand’s reach to the far corners of the world. In the year since, a lot has happened. She has moved to Bali, for one, and has big plans for MARYALLÉ.
Recently, however, Michelle returned to Jakarta for an exclusive fashion photoshoot in collaboration with Cartier. Naturally, we couldn’t resist to pick the brain of this designer about her thoughts on the French luxury brand’s designs while also catching up with her latest adventures. Below are excerpts from our second interview with Michelle Maryam
It has been just over a year since we talked with you. Looking back at the past 12 months or so, what are some of the highlights of your life and career during that period?
2020 was a year of self-growth, self-rediscovery and acceptance for me. My highlight was moving to Bali and meeting many new friends – many of whom I now have the privilege of calling family. Career wise, MARYALLÉ just turned seven this year, and we’re growing stronger than ever!
And speaking of MARYALLÉ, any new updates you can share with us? How your most recent collection is doing, for instance…
A lot of exciting things are happening at MARYALLÉ. We are trying to explore further with our designs; we bring more vibrant colours to our collections as a symbol of optimism; we are trying to bring a different stance and more innovations while still staying true to our brand’s identity. We just launched our Pre-Fall 2021 collection, and most of the items were sold out within just four hours.
In our previous interview, we focused a lot more about how you established and expanded MARYALLÉ. And we’re definitely quite interested in the design aspect of your work as well. So, in a nutshell, how would you describe MARYALLÉ’s aesthetics?
A juxtaposition of playfulness and intellectuality, femininity and self-confidence, is what the pieces from the collection aim to project. Our designs are meant to encourage women to let their unique self shine.
What usually inspires you? Where do you usually find new ideas for your designs?
I always find it hard to pinpoint my source of inspiration. Most of my designs project my personal journey, people that inspire me, the places that I have been to, and my emotions. Each season I evolve my collections and myself. I am unable to stay in a mould, so I’m open to letting myself and my work take the course in which it needs to and go with what feels right at the time.
Since we’re collaborating with Cartier for this photo shoot, we wanted to ask you: What usually comes to mind when you hear the name “Cartier”? We are especially interested to hear your thoughts as a designer…
For me, even the name “Cartier” is a legend. When we talk about fine jewellery, Cartier will be the first thing that comes to my mind. More than just iconic, the maison creates highly-coveted jewellery pieces that carry powerful symbolism – symbols of love and eternity.
As you examine and wear the pieces from Cartier throughout the photoshoot, are there any particular design elements or forms that really stand out for you?
I love the dramatic charm of the Ballon Blanc watch. It redefines elegance and sensual simplicity. The watch is also instantly recognizable and can be considered a modern icon, but it’s also simple enough to complement any outfit.
Cartier’s core design principles centre on timelessness and innovation. How do you feel does your own design ethos relate to those ideas?
When I create MARYALLÉ pieces, I imagine that how it would last for a thousand seasons. Not only the design, but the fabrication has to be timeless as well. And just like Cartier, MARYALLÉ is all about craftsmanship with a little room of fantasy. It’s about creating something that will appeal to every woman.
What is your relationship with jewellery and watches? How does it make you feel when you put on jewellery pieces or a watch with extraordinary designs or ones that have a special meaning for you?
For me my jewellery always tells a story. It is more than just a statement piece to elevate my outfits, but there’s always a story behind my jewelleries, whether where I got it or how. It’s somehow like a good luck charm for me. I never leave my house without wearing jewellery.
What would be your, say, top three tips for choosing and styling jewellery pieces?
The perfect jewellery piece can say a lot about who you are. So, I would say: Find jewellery that represents your identity. Second, ensure that your jewellery fits your skin tone and your body proportions. And when it comes to jewellery, don’t mix your golds – like white gold with rose gold. Lastly, always invest in timeless and classic pieces because jewellery should last forever.
Do you have any upcoming plans, projects or other updates that you can share with us at the moment?
A big part of my plans is growing the brand internationally. At the end of this year, MARYALLÉ is going to expand its lines as we will be launching MARYALLÉ Resort and MARYALLÉ lounge. And we are also planning to tokenize our brand.
Photographer Akhmad Zahran Nurrafi | Styling Lintang Hutami | Make Up Kartika Shabrina | Hair Rachel Ayu | Styling Assistant Safina Harys
Shot on location at:
Hotel Monopoli Jakarta
Taman Kemang 12, South Jakarta 12730
(62 21) 2271 5665