By definition, the word ‘panache’ means ‘ornamental plumage on a helmet’ and harks back to the Middle Ages. Seoul-based designer Cha Sunyoung felt it was a fitting moniker for her fine jewellery label, P by Panache, which she launched after graduating from London’s Central Saint Martins in 2008. She felt that the duality between the sturdy, masculine surface of the helmet and the delicate romance of decorative feathers exemplified her aesthetic. ‘My jewellery might be crafted from metal, but it possesses a beautiful softness. I love that combination of contrasting elements,’ she says.
For her autumn/winter 2017 collection, Cha drew inspiration from the curvature of the human body. ‘I found it fascinating to draw lines in the negative spaces of the body, such as the inner ear,’ she reveals. ‘Those lines then naturally became three dimensional and structural,’ she adds. Cha riffs on the theme throughout, offering undulating double and triple hoop earrings, barely-there chokers and exquisite ear cuffs that resemble gilded doodles. Elsewhere, she employs a playful spectrum of coloured gemstones and diamonds to enliven sculptural rings and extended studs that bridge the ear lobe in a dazzling linear formation.
Her personal highlight, however, is a relatively subtle pair of interlinking silver hoops. ‘The ear is located in between the two circles, but they still communicate with each other,’ she notes. ‘They create a beautiful shadow on the neckline when worn.’ She also considers her sleek ‘Curve Bracelets’, crafted in rose and yellow gold to be a key style. ‘They sit perfectly – ever so slightly raised – on the back of the hand, even when you move,’ she adds. Despite her modern outlook and technical ingenuity, each piece retains a timeless quality, which she deems highly important. ‘Jewellery is an emotional expression, passed down through generations,’ she explains. ‘I’ve realised that we never actually posses it, we just participate in its time – and that’s a wonderful thing.’