D’Heygere: the accessories brand keeping it surreal
A bracelet made in the likeness of an unlit cigarette; ear studs crafted to resemble diamond rings; bucket hats which double as hand-held totes and a cross-body bag solely intended to carry sunglasses. These are just a few of the pieces in Paris-based accessories label D’Heygere’s A/W 2019 collection.
The brand’s playful raison d’etre is unsurprising when considering the background of its Belgian founder, Stephanie D’Heygere. ‘I studied fashion at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp and garment construction dictates my accessories,’ she says. The Royal Academie is responsible for nurturing the talent of avant-garde design group the Antwerp Six, of which Martin Margiela is an honorary member. After graduating, D’Heygere would go onto work at Maison Margiela’s accessories department, before stints at Dior and Y/Project.
D’Heygere founded her namesake company in January 2018, winning the ANDAM Fashion Accessories Prize the same year. ‘Everything I make has a reason to exist – there is always a lot of thought put behind it,’ she says of her concept-driven philosophy. Nonetheless, D’Heygere favours traditional – and wearable – materials (jewellery comes in silver, enamel and brass, with wallet-holders and gloves designed in leather). ‘We work with factories in Italy so everything is produced to the highest quality.’
Much of the label’s aesthetic stems from taking banal objects out of context to strange and alluring effect. ‘At school, I was really into surrealism,’ D’Heygere explains. ‘Margiela was my first job so it was a big part of my education. But also many of the artists I like have been so influential on my work,’ she continues, citing Marcel Broodthaers, Marcel Duchamp and Elmgreen and Dragset in particular.
Currently operating on a small level (its core team consists of just three people) but there are plans for expansion: ‘I would like to broaden what we offer – I’d really like to create eyewear and also shoes,’ says the designer. A pair of sunglasses to put in that cross-body bag certainly wouldn’t go amiss. §