Monique Péan‘s extraordinary creations defy description. She is part archeologist, part zoologist…but mostly jewelry-designing genius. Barneys Creative Ambassador Simon Doonan gets the scoop on her new designs for dudes.
How did this collection come about?
Ever since I launched my main collection, men have been approaching me to ask about my jewelry. Men tend to be really drawn to the fossilized woolly mammoth and fossilized walrus ivory! The woolly mammoth has many masculine associations, and the more prominent tusks come from male animals. Who isn’t intrigued by prehistoric fossils?
What was the inspiration?
I have always loved men’s fashion, and my dad’s refined sense of style while I was growing up was a major influence on me. He wears classic suits, which he complements with cuff links and rings that provide an elegant contrast. I wanted to create pieces for men who are sophisticated with a bit of an edge. I was recently in Paris with the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund to show my collection in the “Americans in Paris” preview. I love the street style in Paris and the way European men dress—they’re smart and sophisticated.
Who are some of the most stylish men around—living, dead or fictional?
Simon Spurr and Prabal Gurung have amazing style and always look great in both casual and formal settings. Gianni Agnelli’s style was impeccable.
Are there any no-no’s when it comes to men and jewelry?
Keep it simple. Men’s jewelry is a tasteful way to add some sophistication and make a statement. I’m all about understated jewelry for men.
Which are some of your favorite pieces from the collection?
Our skinny tie bars, men’s wedding bands and our handmade gold pen. Who doesn’t need a recycled gold pen with fossilized woolly mammoth and a black diamond?
What piece is a good “gateway drug” for men who want to try out jewelry for the first time?
Our men’s fossilized jet bracelets are a great accessory for a casual look.
In what ways is designing for men different from designing for women?
Men’s fashion is in a way more complex than women’s fashion as it isn’t as daring, so every detail is even more important. But as a jewelry designer who is obsessed with small details, it’s been a very exciting project!
Tell us about some of your materials.
Some of the more interesting materials found in the collection are fossilized woolly mammoth ivory, including fossilized woolly mammoth tooth root, black and champagne diamonds, natural blue pietersite, fossilized walrus ivory, and vintage ebony. All of the materials in the collection are eco-friendly and sustainable. I’m really excited to have launched our men’s collection at Barneys on Madison Avenue as I’m often in the men’s department shopping with my husband, and I love your editorial selection!