Small Brand Spotlight: Meet The 29-Year-Old Designer Behind Dua Lipa’s Favorite Colorful Jewelry
After launching her eponymous jewelry line when she was in her early 20s herself, it’s no surprise that Bea Bongiasca has found fans in young, style-savvy shoppers all over the world. Not least: Miley Cyrus, Leandra Medine Cohen, and Dua Lipa—whose seen wearing Bongiasca’s distinctive designs almost every day. The Daily caught up with the rising Italian star to get the lowdown on her unique vine-inspired pieces and to get a glimpse at what’s to come. Spoiler: the future’s bright!
What’s your earliest memory involving jewelry?
When I was little, I would try to wear my my mother’s jewelry; layering and piling it all on. This was something
she really disliked! She always had very interesting collections: a lot of antique pieces too, which I still admire,. I was always extremely inquisitive of her collections.
At what age did you know you wanted to pursue a career in jewelry design?
I realized that I wanted to be a jewelry designer in my foundation year at Central Saint Martins College in London. You are offered to try out different pathways, like graphic or textile design, 3D, and fine art. I was torn between contextual practice and jewelry design, yet I chose the latter because it could teach me the skills to master a new practice and incorporate elements of art into it. My approach is fine art-based, in a way, because it is conceptually oriented. I find that the ideas are what make a piece unique, as well as what reflects your identity and interests as a designer. Jewelry can be a sculpture that happens to be small enough to adorn your body with!
What made you want to study at Central Saint Martins?
I always knew that I wanted to pursue a career in the creative fields, and as CSM is the most renowned art
school in Europe—I had always hoped to go there. I even used to go to their Easter and Summer courses when I was 16- and 17-years-old. When I was accepted into the Foundation course I was so happy: the years I spent studying there were really special and will forever shape me and my future in the industry.
You founded your line at such a young age back in 2014. What do you remember about this time?
I remember that I was really keen to start and there was so much to do! It took about a year to get everything together—from the logo and the packaging to the designing, branding, and production. There are so many steps and I wanted to be as organized as possible before the launch of the first collection.
What would you say your main influences are?
My inspiration stems mainly from traveling, especially in East Asia, and by the personal experiences that I have had while visiting these magical regions. I try to incorporate the visual language and knowledge that I gained during my travels with my pop aesthetic and playfulness.
How does your Italian heritage influence your design?
As an Italian, I thought that it was very important that our jewelry be handmade in Italy. We are recognized globally for the quality of our craftsmanship and I think it is important to support local artisans and businesses. The atelier where I make my jewelry is in a small town in the east coast of Italy and being close by, I can visit them every week or so and we are in touch daily. It would be hard to build such a close relationship with a bigger factory, let alone in another country or time zone. I am proud that our pieces are made in Italy because each jewel has a little pieces of ‘Italian-ness’ in it!
Dua Lipa has quickly become a big fan! How did this come about?
I hired the number one fine jewelry consultant/publicist in New York City, Francesca Simons, who is close friends with [Dua’s stylist] Lorenzo Posocco. They create magic together!
What other celebrities would be a dream to work with?
Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga, Zoe Kravitz, Alicia Keys, and Ariana Grande.
Can you let us in on what your next collection will be inspired by, or what’s inspiring you in general at the
moment after such a crazy year?
We were meant to launch our new collection during the May 2020 Couture show in Las Vegas, but it was cancelled due to the Pandemic. So, it has all been moved on later in the year and finally we will present‘Flower Funk’ in the next month or so! It is extremely exciting and a real mood booster. Something we all need right now. It was hard to be inspired staying at home, but I think it was more a year to reflect rather than create.
Your pieces are super fun and happy—what makes you happy?
I enjoy good, clean, quality food. I love to travel or better yet, traveling to eat! I miss traveling so much and look forward to when I can travel again.