Guy Bedarida, jewelry connoisseur and creative director for John Hardy, sat down with Avenue for a quick chat about style, travel and a few of his favourite things
Who: Guy Bedarida
Claim to fame: Head Designer and Creative Director for John Hardy
Location: Holt Renfrew
Occasion: A personal appearance to show off dazzling pieces for an exclusive trunk show
Guy Bedarida is an authority on everything that sparkles. The creative backbone of John Hardy’s timeless jewelry collections graced Holt Renfrew with his expertise and impeccable style last week to present a 500-piece trunk show.
Bedarida grew up in Paris with a Florentine mother and French diplomat father and his extensive travels, as well as spending the last 12 years in Bali, are reflected in all his collections. From this year’s quintessential Naga (dragon) collection that celebrates 2012’s Chinese astrology to the Fall for Morocco line inspired by Bedarida’s childhood in North Africa, each piece is handmade, steeped in anecdotes and history, and would be an unforgettable addition to anyone’s collection of keepsakes.
How did you get your start in jewelry design?
I always loved jewelry. In my family, jewelry was something very familiar because for each occasion my mother received a new piece of jewelry. My father was a diplomat so there was a lot of moving here and there, a lot of beautiful parties with ladies dripping in jewelry. I was a designer all my childhood, drawing all the time, and when it was time for university I went to the University of Design in Rome and I chose to specialize in jewelry design.
For me, jewelry is not about the value of the item; it is about the story behind it. When I design jewelry, I always make sure it is comfortable so a woman can wear it all the time and it can become like a companion.
Do you pay attention to trends while you design?
I think subconsciously I am influenced because I go out, but when I design, I do whatever comes naturally. There are many elements of inspiration in Bali, particularly from nature: pebbles, bamboo, the dragon. I also take inspiration from ancient civilization. Balinese is one, but it can be Burmese, Indian, Chinese.
Do you take a lot of notes?
I do a lot of sketches. I always carry a sketchbook with me, a Moleskine. And things come to me all over the map. Colour is definitely very important, but also the shape and proportion, the materials.
What’s your personal approach to style?
There are a few things I think about. First, I want top quality of product. For me, it’s better to have less, but incredible quality. Then, I want exquisite design. I always look for design that I would not find everywhere on everybody. I’m not interested by the fact that everybody is wearing the same thing. And I’m not especially about brand; I try to find smaller brands that are special and good quality.
Is there one item you can’t leave home without?
I would say my Naga bracelet follows me everywhere. I feel that it really brings me luck and strength. In Bali there is a mythology around the dragon. It is the symbol of eternal love, prosperity, and protection. I think it’s the most iconic item I’ve designed, and brings much more than just beauty.
Do you have a favourite restaurant?
Absolutely. Le Voltaire in Paris, named after the philosopher. They have some incredible things; a cold consomm, which is very interesting and unusual, and the best foie gras in the world.
If we turned on your iPod, what would we hear?
If you could only wear one outfit for the rest of your life, what would it be?
It would be a Balinese sarong. I have one that I really like which is a cloud print and in the middle of the clouds you can see a dragon. It’s in different shades of blue, which is very beautiful and very unusual for Balinese design. Typically they use colours like red and black and brown.
Who is your favourite stylemaker past or present?
I think Marie-Hlne de Rothschild is an icon. She was an incredible woman with many talents. She discovered YSL, she discovered Nureyev the dancer and she had wonderful style.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I really like to entertain. Whether it’s in Bali or Bangkok or Paris or New York where I have homes, it’s one of my passions to entertain my friends.
So you travel a lot…
Never too much. I love people. I love human beings, and I always discover new ones wherever I go.
What’s your top travel tip?
Be interested in the people who are where you go. Listen to their traditions and their happiness. Don’t go somewhere and bring your way of thinking, go there to listen and understand someone else’s way of thinking.