Timing in life, like most things, has a big effect on perspective and inspiration,” says designer Rebecca de Ravenel, “I didn’t set out to be an accessories designer, it just sort of happened.”
Her foray into jewelry—specifically her confectionary colored earrings called Les Bonbons—accidental or otherwise, put the Paris- and Lyford Cay-raised de Ravenel on the map. The dangling earrings, which are made of silk cord, are simultaneously light to wear and heavy on impact, became a de rigueur staple of society women, celebs and cool girls of all stripes, including Lupita Nyong’o, Lauren Santo Domingo, Kate Hudson and Leandra Medine.
Tirelessly chronicled in the ne plus ultra glossies of Vogue, Elle, WWD, Vanity Fair, etc., the designer could easily have coasted on as a flash in the pan accessories designer, but de Ravenel has assailed any notion of being a one-hit wonder. Last September, the designer debuted her first ready to wear collection which is set to hit hangers this Spring at The Webster, Bal Harbour. Characterized by polka dot silk skirts and dresses, hammered silk caftans and block-printed linen pieces, the designs look as though they would have been favored by Gauguin’s subjects (had they worn clothes). No matter the material or medium, de Ravenel conjures a loose, feminine and exotic romanticism in her work, which is undoubtedly a product of her upbringing.
“Living between islands and cities has had a big impact on my style. The Bahamas is home and I think that I live my life through island colored glasses,” she modulates, “On the other hand, living in Paris and being around that kind of sheer beauty and history has shaped me a lot, especially my passion for interiors.”
Prior to launching Les Bonbons in 2015, de Ravenel worked as an interior designer for Amanda Lindroth. “My father had an antiques shop and I would sit in the window as a little girl.” It is through this layered prism that de Ravenel designs, imagining the women who wear her pieces to be as multifaceted as she. “I always say that I would like to dress the divine woman in the divine room,” she says, “I start with fabrics and prints and what this woman does in her life. This sets the tone and mood for the collection. I work in a way where interiors and fashion are very interconnected.”
De Ravenel is particularly inspired by the aesthetic of the 70s and Yves Saint Laurent (one could easily imagine Loulou de la Falaise in one of her numbers) of whom she believes his sense of color is without equal. As for artists, both Klimt and Matisse continue to show up on her inspiration boards. “The mix of colors and prints are somewhat magic,” she says. “I also believe that what can inspire you one year, may not the following.”
De Ravenel designs her work in a boundless cadre, “it is a whole lifestyle,” she says, which has her fans wondering what the erstwhile earrings designer will come up with next.