The Way I Work... Solange Azagury-Partridge
In our series where we look at the things, places and people that inspire a creative’s working life, journalist Marie-Claire Chappet spoke to the London-based designer about her process and creative heroes
The first piece of jewellery Solange Azagury-Partridge ever designed, back in 1987, was her own engagement ring. Since then, the self-taught creative has become one of Britain’s cult jewellery designers, founding her eponymous brand in 1990 and working for three years as the creative director of the historic house Boucheron. Many of her pieces are featured in the permanent collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and Les Arts Décoratifs at the Louvre Museum in Paris. Here, she tells Service95 about her work process, her creative idols and her new perfume, Kiss My Lips, based on her now-iconic Hotlips rings…
On her working day… I like to get up and have my coffee in bed, read the news and do a Wordle before answering some urgent emails. If I’m meeting a client, I like to take them out for breakfast, either to Granger & Co on Westbourne Grove or somewhere down Golborne Road. If not, I’ll go for a walk in the park or around Portobello Road and then head to my office for 10ish. I try to leave around 5pm and regroup to do my final calls and emails from home. That time to myself at the beginning and end of the day is really important to me.
On music… I can’t work with any music on, I need silence, however, the inspiration for my new perfume is the first record I ever bought when I was a little girl. It was Sugar, Sugar by The Archies, which has lyrics about how sweet a kiss can be. For me, the Hotlips woman generally has a funny, cheeky, happy, joyful spirit. I really wanted the perfume to have that happiness about it.
On her inspirations… I try to use abstract ideas as a basis for inspiration rather than something that already exists. For one collection I used the physical manifestation of mathematics and how beautiful that is. This is despite the fact I am terrible at maths!
On her signature scent… I always wear my own perfume, Stoned, which I created about 15 years ago. It just feels like it’s part of who I am. I think scent is such a great partner to jewellery; you wear it on your skin in the same way. It’s another means of accessorising.
On her work uniform… I’m a big fan of finding a style and sticking with it. For me, that’s great blouses in every colour. My favourites are from Tucker NYC and Alice + Olivia. I’m not an experimental fashion person, I leave that to my jewellery.
On travel… I really enjoy travelling for work; I think it’s almost more fun than travelling as a tourist, where I feel you only see the surface of things. When you travel for work, you meet locals and get down into the nitty-gritty of the place. My favourite places to visit are India, Morocco, New York and LA.
On other creatives… I’m a massive reader, so the people I really admire are writers. I love Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Martin Amis and Hanya Yanagihara. As a huge art fan, I have always wished I could devote more time to painting myself. As it is, I have some great pieces. My favourite is a massive Matthew Day Jackson. I would save it from a fire… if I could lift it.
On recharging… I like to literally stay in bed for 24 hours. Read, sleep, eat and watch TV from bed. That is my dream way to recharge.
On career advice… The best thing I was ever told was about self-belief. In order to succeed, you need to have confidence in whatever you do.
Marie-Claire Chappet is a London-based arts and culture journalist and contributing editor at Harper’s Bazaar