Plastic Fantastic is a whimsical collection of jewellery inspired by the spirit and the glamour of the 1950s pool party.
When economic prosperity returned to America in the early 1940s, lavish hotels featuring pools with luxurious amenities began to spring up across the country. These pools showcased a whole new way of affluent living, coining the phrase ‘hope floats’.
Set in steamy Florida, this collection is a story about sunshine, candy stripes, tropicalia, polka dots, penguin waiters, sweetheart necklines, baby-doll silhouettes, cat-eye sunglasses, vacationland, cabana-culture, jell-o, creamy cocktails and the promise of something better.
And just as mid-century America embraced life in technicolour after the war, this collection of jewellery sees a bold handling of shape and form in myriad rainbow hues. Bright canary yellow, soft pastel lavenders, Barbie pinks and vibrant turquoise blues echo the tones of 1950s Florida: the cadillacs, the swimwear, ice cream sundaes, gumball machines, Art Deco architecture – and plastic.
The use of plastics here is intentional. Mid-century America saw a boom in plastic production as home industries battled to meet an ever-expanding demand for customer goods. It became the most popular material to work with in all sectors as it was novel and free from pre-conceptions regarding its use. It was, in short, very cool.
First manufactured in the 1930s as a protective coating for glass, the clear acrylic plastic that we know as lucite became a wildly popular material for costume jewellery in the 1940s and 1950s. Plastic Fantastic is comprised of a combination of vintage lucite pieces (re-cycled and here reborn as new designs) and home-made resin jewels, hand-crafted by Tessa herself.
Whilst plastic is not commonly associated with fine jewellery, Tessa hopes to show that this material can be used in sustainable and innovative ways by reusing old plastic pieces to create beautiful, timeless jewels. Her technique of setting precious gemstones into resin (as seen in her American Sweetheart Earrings) is – as far as she is aware – completely unique and the result of two year’s experimentation leading up to this launch.
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