Transient nature: Keef Palas’ living jewels
Eugenia Oliva and Claire O’Keefe are the two young, bright minds behind Keef Palas. The former worked for Elie Saab and the latter made a name for herself as a fashion stylist, while also creating costumes for theatre and dance.
Yet, Keef Palas started far from Paris and the fashion crowd. During a friend’s wedding in the Balearic Islands in the summer of 2016, Oliva spotted buckets of flowers filled with olive tree branches. She brought them back as souvenirs, and when home in Barcelona, she contacted O’Keefe with the idea of making earrings out of them. Wearing them in the streets, people stopped her to ask about them. ‘Wearing plants triggered something special, an almost magical feeling!’ Oliva says.
Surrounded by their creative, bohemian friends in Majorca, the duo set up a ‘lemonade table’ and started selling their ‘naturally made’ earrings. Keef Palas was born. ‘We decided to focus on Mediterranean plants, and source species from our natural environment, such as immortelle. It was Salvador Dali’s favourite flower and comes from the region where I was born. Today, we handpick plants, flowers, cereal grasses and leaves for our designs’, Oliva says.
The duo use magnolia leaf for the way it ages over time: it evolves from green and shiny to dry brown-grey, while the back of the leaf turns velvety. The oat and wheat earrings are part of Keef Palas’ gently humorous Intolerant collection: ‘they reflect on intolerances in a broader sense, on our way of being social or antisocial, of embracing differences’.
Their magnolia leaves, chilli pepper and immortelle flower earrings all come vacuum packed, with a life expectancy of one to three months. The earrings can however be kept in the fridge a few months prior to opening. ‘Once open, you should wear them as often as possible for they evolve like a bouquet of flowers, taking the natural way of growth and decay. Each pair has a life expectancy of its own!’