Sexual anthropologist, author, and designer, Betony Vernon on joining function and luxury to create jewelry that serves an intimate purpose.
What made you decide to introduce an erotic aspect to jewelry?
It was an organic process that occurred thanks to the Sado-Chic pieces that I was designing for LVR in 1992. I realized that jewelry could serve a more functional, intimate purpose and the possibility to reinforce an intimate bond. Being bound to each other is an empowering experience in itself. The collection developed into a response to the erotic market, which at the time made no consideration whatsoever to durable, luxury objects. My challenge was also to add a functional aspect to the value of jewelry and this became my signature.
I like the challenge of making metal correspond to the softness and sensuality of the skin.
Function is evident in your designs, can you tell us a little about your creative process?
I have an issue with designing things that don’t serve a purpose, and the purpose of my jewelry is to empower the wearer with the power to please. The pieces could be referred to as prosthetics where my aim is to enhance our power to provide sensations. They allow you to incite pleasures that could not be experienced through human touch alone.
What are your thoughts on the connection between sex and fashion?
Fashion serves to either exalt the body, its shapes, its forms and all that sparks the desire centers of the brain, or it is made to hide the sexual aspects and almost negate them. It’s as if your choice of clothing represents your relationship to your sensual self or not in any given moment. Fashion is a form of communication.
All of my works are inspired by the body, enhanced pleasure and intimacy – the art of loving.
Describe your ideal aesthetic
My aesthetic is more associated with style than fashion. I like materials that age well and that can be worn over and over again and that transforms over seasons, I guess you can call it a durable aesthetic, the durable aesthetic of style.
I want you to feel like the jewels are an extension of your body, without them you feel naked.
What was your first piece of iconic jewelry?
The Sado-Chic Collection that will celebrate 25 years in 2017. It became the foundation of the Paradise Found Fine Erotic Collection that now is composed of about 400 pieces of jewelry.
What is sexy to you?
Self-confidence, I also find anything that leaves a bit of wonder or mystery sexy… Often what we don’t see is sexy. Flaunting it all risks to be vulgar. Kindness and good manners are sexy, respecting each others space, listening to each other, communication whether by words, presence or touch, this is sexy.
What do you want to give to someone wearing your jewelry ?
I want them to feel secure and strong… I want them to feel empowered and sensually in tune with themselves and others, I want them to feel gorgeous and unique.
Special thanks to Betony Vernon
Images and Video courtesy of Betony Vernon
This interview has been edited and condensed.