Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Elke Kramer: Shake of Ophelia

Elke Kramer has been a designer I certainly admire and have for a number of years- it must be the curly pink hair that has a cloud-like appeal as well as her knack for creating and crafting jewellery from resin and jasper that has a twentieth century and art deco appeal but rebirthed in new modern materials and more fantastic colour combinations than you can imagine. 

'Shake of Ophelia', the first collection as far as the online archives from the website will reveal of S/S09/10 was full of gorgeous accessories such as jewellery and amazing and classy bags- never before had I held on to hope down in my bosom for an old collection to still have stock available. I know I had already commented on the new collection of bags from Deadly Ponies and while Elke by Elke Kramer has been a brand I have known about for years, never before had I familiarised myself with the range of evening bags in extravagant details. A dangerous effect mistake I made in the past that I assure you will not happen again.

It gives me great pleasure in presenting the cylinder trap bag that reminds me so much of the showmanship of a magician- it must be the combination of black leather, theatrical cords that remind me so much sound-blocking curtains covered in tassels in wine as well as resin beads. It's the perfect evening bag to hold around one's wrist for a night of alcohol fuelled mayhem, especially when one is surrounded by trustworthy friends.

It breaks my heart that the Cylinder Trap Bag shown above in Flesh, the softest shade of baby pink has Sold Out especially with the lovely contrasting beads shown in dalmatian jasper and deep shade of marbled red. The black and white striped wristlets as well as thread attached to the zipper tag sets the distinct boundary of this bag's opportunity as a day bag only but I wouldn't be able to resist wearing this with a cute little black dress if I had the chance to buy it. It's a case of too little, too late but maybe one day I'll be the luckiest girl of the world and strike it lucky in my respective field and be able to afford special things for myself and the ones I love. Splashing out on the Elke Kramer online store would be high on that list of priorities since it seems to be a well-kept treasure.

The Circle Smocked Bag came at twice the price of the Cylinder Trap Bag but still managed to sellout of this black variety. It reminds me of the colourful characters I knew so well to be my grandmother's old cushions and throw pillows littered around her house as well as the textured appearance on the front. I'm not sure I fully approve and support the textured and ruching affect and a deeper shade of black could have been used as a more glamorous effect but the rope cord and resin beads and tassels is certainly theatrical and eye-catching.

The Flesh colour for Elke Kramer's line of accessories and in particular evening bags has proved to be quite popular since once again this variation of the Circle Smocked Bag has sold out as well. Once again the use of black and white striped and intertwining cord and Dalmatian jasper has been used for this colour variation which has one over the love and adoration of the Elke Kramer fan base. I just wish that one day I'll be able to get my hands on one of these bags before they all sell out and are never to be seen again but there's also two other collections from Elke as well as collaborations with Sportsgirl and future released to enjoy when they rear their head.

The Accordion Bag certainly does seem to evoke some gypsy flair with the use of chunky beads gorgeous and romantic tassels as well as heavy cord- all props that seem to fit in the booth of your local travelling fortune teller. I rather like the stone coloured bag and the contrasting beads in dark emerald green- it's the finder details that can really add some life to a piece of clothing or accessory but at six hundred dollars I'm not sure the bag fully measures up to my expectations. I would however, like to see more pictures of this piece including a side-profile and also the bag at its fullest. Does it indeed extend and shrink like an accordion when playing different notes and tunes or is there only one setting of fullness to this beast? It's sadly a mystery, I would hope that it wasn't but it appears it will be unless I'm lucky enough to find a second hand and pre-loved piece on eBay (unlikely).

It seems my prayers have been answered and the numbers of stock of a bag from Elke Kramer's early collection, 'The Shake of Ophelia' has been left unravished and there are some left in 'Flesh'. For anyone who has seen the Titanic movie, Ophelia was the tragic heroine who faced a brutish husband and marriage in order to save her family and herself from falling from grace and in order to keep them firmly in the lap of luxury. As many collections do, 'The Shake of Opehlia' creates and weaves a story of its own with another heroine named Ophelia- a name perhaps familiar and synonymous with luxury as well as some of the most coveted jewellery in all the world.

Pre-Fall 2012 collection. Still, I can buy one of these for nearly two hundred dollars, whereas the Olympia Le-Tan book clutches can cost thirteen hundred dollars. I should bide my time and save my money in the meantime though- I've bought to Yves Saint Laurent Rings in the last month and need to sell a few things to get my money back to the levels of prosperity they once had.

May I present the slave bracelet in a combination of dalmatian jasper as well as ocean resin with a brass hinge. I think the name of this product and the style of the design is very clever as it incorporates the hinge, is reminiscent of musty old treasure trunks filled with love letters and combines the meeting point of the two materials nicely. For those of us who can't wriggle out wrists through the opening of a bangle or if you simply wish to be playful and romantic with one's lover then this bangle can certainly accommodate it. There's such a thickness and generous amount of dalmatian jasper and resin you wouldn't need to layer any other bangle with it- it's quite the knock-out piece existing on its own.

Of course my favourite variation of the slave ring from Elke Kramer's collection 'The Shake of Ophelia' has sold out in store, but that's only because I have such an impeccable eye for clothing and know what's the best looking pieces of jewellery out there. It was absolutely perfect- featuring another hinge but this time in glamorous rose gold as well as a combination of Casati and dalmatian jasper. One thing I continually admire about the design of Elke Kramer's pieces is their strong sense of geometry and clean-cut lines as well as the bold colours and materials used in her collections. There's such wild and wonderful stones used as bloodstone, Picasso jasper and dalmatian jasper- all materials I seldom see in jewellery design but would love to see more of. There's a hidden talent about the designer and I'm sure it's only a matter of time before everyone else discovers her and all her old collection pieces sell out too.
The holiday spirit can be so infectious at times and although it is only February, I can't help but feel Christmas and good-will towards all men when seeing a combination of red, green and yellow. This slave ring has a brass hinge, red bloodstone (one of my favourite semi-precious stones) and Beetroot resin. Not only is Elke Kramer's 'Shake of Ophelia' collection a fest for the eyes, it's also a learning experience trawling through the names of all the exotic types of jasper and resin named dreamed up by the designer of the self-titled label, Elke Kramer herself.

As well as strong the strong rounded lines of the slave ring, bracelet and earrings their the jarring contrast of sharp geometric pieces held together in the Hexing Bracelet shown here in petite Dalmatian Jasper. The brass shackles and hardware, as well as the engraved Elke at the back of the bracelet and contrasting pieces of ocean coloured resin are what attracts me to this piece. While things in single colours made as a bold statement of their own are nice, I think I prefer the strong design of the bracelet shown above and multi-faceted nature of its construction. 

Another glorious edition would be the Hexing Bracelet Oversized which features more tiles and pieces of resin beautifully crafted together in a design that mirrors a complicated and expensive treasure chest. I like the three-dimensional quality of the larger green pieces of resin, they remind me a bit of a cuboid turtle shell as well as glorious Bakelite pieces from the Art Deco period. I'm sure that Elke Kramer was the reincarnation of a gorgeous flapper girl from the 1920s if the wasn't descended from one- there's such a strong sense of vintage and reminiscent style in her pieces as well as their theatrical and showy nature.

Not confined to using one material and one single colour in their design-  I think Elke Framer has done well to establish a fashion identity and strong sense of self when creating pieces whether they be pieces of jewellery or handbags. The use of resin, Dalmatian jasper as well as geometric pieces of beads threaded together to create bold and striking designs has really become a trademark of Elke and I love to see pieces of hers featured in the windows of Fat4 in the city as well as great online stores.

Earrings aren't largely my forte but I do love the metal and structured frames around the edges of these Ritual Earrings- the pair above in beetroot and ash resin would have been all the more lovely if there were rose gold fixtures. Ah well, a girl can't have everything and I think I'm quite content to be without these earrings in my life. They would look wonderful on the assistant of a magician with large eyeshadow and eyeliner for even more magic and alluring appeal. I can't apply eyeshadow to save my life and I'm rarely in the mood to apply eyeliner unless there's a special occasion of some kind so I guess I'm better off without them. You should only wear dangling earrings when you can tie your hair up in a neat bun and keep away all the fly-aways.

It seems that for their cheap price of less than a hundred dollars, dangling brass chain fixtures and bauble like appeal the Soul Quiver Earrings managed to be one of the runaway successes of the Elke Kramer 'Shake of Opehlia' collection. Orbs and little spherical gems are one of my favourite shapes in terms of unusual jewellery since they're a motif and object that doesn't occur naturally in nature and it demands perfection. Unearthen has some lovely orb rings but they're lacking in earrings- I think the unique thing about these earrings is that they're not suspended from chains- but instead lattice brass metal strips.
Due to proudly being a member of Generation Y and growing up around the book and movie releases of Harry Potter whenever I see something sophisticated and in emerald green I instantly think of the Hogwarts head of house for Gryffindor, Minerva McGonagall, her tight prim bun of hair as well as watery blue eyes when played by British actress Maggie Smith. For one reason or another it seems that the only green I incorporate into my wardrobe are green skirts in a flirty and long flowing lengths and various materials but it seems I won't be able to get my hands on these Belief Earrings. They were made of bloodstone resin and were fitted with brass fixtures and pearls.

The mythical tassel earrings remind me of Chinese Lanterns bathed in red and golden Chinese characters but the flowing silk and avoidance from red and bloodstone gives the design of this stone and tassel combination a Western appeal about them. Appropriately named the Mystical Tassel Earrings, the brass pyramids hanging at the top of the gem stones are a gentle introduction to the bold design and sharp geometric shapes of these gem-like resin pieces. They cost one hundred dollars exactly when they were available which I think is a rather reasonable price when you consider the versatility of these earrings and how you could easily wear them for a formal occasion.

Mythical Tassel Earrings


Drop earring with faceted resin bead, short silky braid tassel and gold hook.
Tassel Length: 45mm Bead size: w 20mm x h 20mm

Rose gold, speckled and flecked Dalmatian jasper pieces uses silk tassels all in the shape of a Chinese lantern in miniature hanging from one's ear lobes? Yes please, I love these earrings to death. Since I should really be saving money and thinking about moving out, owning a home and everything else I suppose I'll have to wait till my birthday and see if I can get these loosely earrings then.

The Double Ceremonial Tassel Pendant is certainly an apt name for this glamorous necklace featuring a silken cord with rose gold aglets (metal sheaths) preventing the fraying of the ends of the cord as well as an orb of beetroot and dalmatian jasper at the centre of this necklace. Ceremonial cleverly incorporated into the name of this necklace immediately directs my attention to the sultry tone and voice of one Ms. Florence Welch who has dyed red hair and an album of the name of Ceremonials. Coincidence? I think not!

Above we can see the lovely Shamanic Trance Pendant, sold out of course but it's still a small dream of mine to one day fins this beauty in ash dust and ebony resin second hand one day. It really does look like a small trinket from a bygone era, like the small galaxy and pivotal plot point in Me In Black or even possibly something belonging to Anastasia from the Disney movie of the same title. It must be that alluring and invigorating combination of brass with vertical darts, red silk cord, black silk tassels and a piece of ash resin sandwiched wonderfully in between.

Ring of the Fallen Curse may have deterred the superstitious with the hyjinx of its name but I can assure you the large gemstone like piece of resin as well as rose gold plated band of this ring is luring me in with its sophistication and design. The colour of resin used within the universe of this collection is known as Ocean resin and with its overtones of teal it's perfectly complimented by rose gold. I'm a large fan of rose gold and I really can't understand why more designers don't use it for their jewellery- although a little tricky to get the right rich tone of the copper there's something unique and rare about it.

The Ring of Souls is another eery and spooky name for such a bright and beautiful piece of jewellery but maybe it too has also deterred some potential buyers. I personally love Dalmatian jasper from Elke Kramer because they are many other brands that are unwilling or simply haven't explored the avenue of opportunities for this semi-precious stone which has so much character about it. Although I am an animal lover it's the flecks of red and black through the beige like stone that catches my eye as well as all the little shapes in a variety of sizes that bounce of the rounded and polished stone. It comes again with a rose gold plated band which has simply got me hooked but I really should be careful- I  have two cocktail rings at the moment and I'd like to prevent the numbers from rising at the moment.

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