Well, this Lizzz is feeling good as hell, and so she should be, with the recent launch of her jewellery collection, Elizabeth Hooper Studio. Bold and beautiful, and full of style and sass, much like Elizabeth, each piece is reminiscent of wearable art, designs that intrinsically capture the very nature of organic inspiration.
I’ve known Elizabeth for over a decade now, and when we first met, I instantly knew fashion was her game, she spoke my language. Nothing pretentious, only pure passion, but not in an excited, jubilant way, merely a matter of fact—with knowledge and respect. Some people know fashion, some people pretend to know, and some people wear style with such ease that it’s clearly second nature to them; a continuation of their soul and the latter applies to @LizzzMahone, aka Elizabeth O’Mahony.
The eponymous collection, a nod to her family roots by using her maiden name, debuts during a time of deep reflection. So, I invited Dallas native Elizabeth O’Mahony to chat about life, design, art, and fashion…
Tell me about the design inspiration behind your debut collection?
EH: My designs manifest the theme of tension and deconstruct the relationship between shapes and patterns. Inherent in this process is the exploration of the following paradoxes—how can an object be simultaneously raw and refined, simple and dramatic, elegant and rough, fluid and structured?
I start my design process organically by sketching shapes that exist in everyday life and nature with a focus on how to change that shape’s orientation and perspective and each collection is designed with the intent to tell a story. This results in shapes that are organic, elegant, sculptural and distinctive. The goal is to find beauty in the imperfect. Behind this process is the belief that a piece of jewellery is never complete until it is worn on the body. In that way, the body becomes a component of the design process. I believe jewellery is meant not only to adorn but to accentuate the natural lines and dimension of the body.
My puzzle collection is inspired by the irregular and organic outlines of everything from clouds to tree bark, cracks in the sidewalk, to silhouettes of the human body, this collection consists of single pieces that can be put together to form a cohesive whole. The concept of the puzzle is not only inspired by physical shapes but by how life itself is a puzzle; singular random events that are imperfectly put together to create new experiences. Notions of perspective and orientation are at play here as well as the idea of movement and impermanence; everything has fluidity, evolves, and changes. Our lives are big puzzles; this collection is a microcosm of that notion. In this collection, pieces are made to be interchanged and experimented with to give the wearer various options.
My growth collection is unique because of its unusual yet elegant forms. There is a lot of mystery and curiosity embedded in this collection. The initial inspiration for this collection came from examining tree bark. Each tree has unique bark, and the textures are beautifully layered; bark emerges as a tree grows and expands from the inside out. From that initial idea came organic shapes that are rough yet elegant and artful. The forms are random, but the details are carefully executed. The dramatic, flowing and unpredictable feel of the collection is reminiscent of things in the process of growth; fluid, energetic, expanding, changing.
Starting a new business is an exciting challenge, and the journey is as important as the destination. What was the most inspiring moment of your journey, what was a challenge you overcame, and what are you most grateful about?
EH: Besides a passion for fashion and design, what inspired this entrepreneurial endeavour was my father. He was a business owner and always talked to me about the reward behind the risk of being an entrepreneur. He loved the joy of facing challenges, the process of being independent. Mostly, he delighted in the freedom of doing what you want, how you want. For me, the constant act of creating and working with my imagination and hands is supremely inspiring. I started with zero knowledge or skill; the process of developing my design and skill set has been very rewarding. The challenge has been putting all these various pieces in place, putting together a team to help me realize the dream. I have had to really learn how to be flexible yet persistent while trying to stay true to my vision. I have had to have faith and stay the course. I am most grateful for the support and enthusiasm from my friends and the experts I work with and how they have taught me and continue to teach me. I have found a trusted group of people who have made me realize this endeavour.
What does art mean to you? How does art interplay into your designs, and what artists and types of works inspire you?
EH: Well art is everything, and everything is art, no? Art inspires and guides like nothing else can. I believe art is a powerful tool of unification and is how we operate in a cultural collective; art defines periods of time, makes us ask questions and brings us closer to our own humanity. It doesn’t matter what medium—sculpture, painting, photography, design, performance—art and design are of the times, and beyond the times, it defines the present and predicts the future. My designs have a sculptural quality—with a distinct intention and narrative, I believe those are the elements of art that speak to people and inspires them. I could list pages long of artists whose work inspires me. I will give you a shortlist; Barbara Kruger, Gerhardt Richter, Cy Twombly, Georgia O’Keefe, Basquiat, Bob Dylan, Rainer Maria Rilke, David Bowie, Maria Callas, Giacometti. I have a lot of female artists in my house; Erika Jaeggli, Keer Tanchak, Samantha McCurdy, Maya Ruznik, Dana James, Wanda Koop, Kelly Wearstler. I think all these artists not only have a strong presence with their images and words, but they have a strong narrative about humanity. They are bold, they are unapologetic, rebellious, and they have a distinct style and voice that draws the audience in and makes them pay attention. These qualities speak to me and translate into my designs.
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This newly hatched entrepreneur’s heart is full after last nights launch of @elizabethhooperstudio Thank you @erincluleygallery for allowing us to use your beautiful space and thank you @twelvethirtyfourflowers @ferrahofficial @foreign_collections for inspiring me with your passion and creativity. #smallbusinessowner #jewelrydesigner #creativeentrepreneur #art #fashion #floraldesign
You’ve got some serious style sass! What brands make you tick, and how do you get your fashion kicks?
EH: Why thank you! So many designers make me tick, and all of them push boundaries and have something to say with their designs. I would say my go-to for some time now has been Balenciaga and Demna Gvasalia. He has transformed the brand and taken it to a place creatively that beautifully blends past, present and future. His fabric and colour choices are fresh and unconventional, and the story he tells with his collections are always provocative and visionary. He also loves a power shoulder and the colour pink, which are my two favourite things. I also love Maison Martin Margiela and Alessandro Michele at Gucci for their avant-garde sensibilities and penchant for performance. Shopping for vintage is how I get my kicks! Nothing is more exciting than digging for hidden treasures. Vintage fashion is so special; one-of-a-kind and has a story. I have a small collection of Chanel, YSL, Alaia, Mugler and Ungaro. I think putting a look together is about a mood you are trying to convey and building a look around one piece. It’s always about fun and self-expression and NOT worrying about other people’s opinions. As long as I have on an oversized blazer or jacket and lots of jewellery, I feel put together.
If budget was no big deal and you could create your perfect dream team for a photo-shoot, who would you hire (photographer, stylist, model) and which location would you shoot?
EH: Whoa. This is tough. I have so many friends who are supremely talented and that I work with BUT if we are talking no budget, I would say Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin for photography. They are just epic; their breadth and aesthetic are extraordinary. I don’t know many stylists that are better than my friend Diamond Mahone, but I do love Karla Welch and Patti Wilson at Italian Vogue. Are models even a thing anymore?? My friend Cameron Lee Phan is exquisite, and I would love for him to wear my jewellery. Other than that, I would throw it back to the 90s when models were super; Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss (duh). I also like the idea that they are all older and wiser.
What’s next for you?
EH: First we have to get past COVID-19. I am trying to keep producing, but it is a challenge. Once life and businesses get back to life, my plan is to expand my signature collection. My favourite pieces to design are the ones with stones. I am also working on getting into a few stores across the country; fingers crossed there. Since we have been quarantined, I have been doing live videos with fellow creatives which I have found to be very insightful and fun. I plan to keep that up and possibly expand into a larger platform.
Describe your perfect moment of fun?
EH: I have to be by the water to really relax and reflect. I love the Mediterranean and wine and seafood so I would be anywhere those things are offered in abundance. I love to dance, and I love to sing so I would need access to a dancefloor, a DJ and a microphone. My friends are my family, and I am rejuvenated and inspired by the people I love. I would want my core group of friends there. Aside from getting tipsy and relaxing by with water with music, I would need a pen and notebook to write. I am an avid notetaker, and I love to write. I would also love the opportunity to do something new and challenging. I really do value my time on Earth and understand deeply how short it is.
You visit Ireland often; any destination details you can recommend?
EH: I have been to Ireland where my husband is from 11 times! It is a special place; the landscape is wild and lush, and the people are the most real and the most fun you’ll ever meet. I recommend going to the smaller towns and doing a pub crawl. Everything in Ireland happens in the pub; it is the centre of the culture. Socializing, sports, singing, general good times are all had there. The Ring of Kerry is truly special as well. I have never had my breath taken away by nature the way I have there. It feels magical.
Shop the Elizabeth Hooper Studio collection, featuring 14-karat gold plated necklaces, earrings, rings and bracelets with semi-precious stones, prices range from $175-$1,500 and available here.