Friday, May 23, 2008

Romancing The Stone

Guess what I found in the latest Prestige Hong Kong's an interview with David Yurman. Their Fashion Editor, Vivienne Tang, who also interviewed Nina Garcia, did the interview with him. I like it.....especially the part where he describes how he met his wife, Sybil Yurman, and fell in love with her. It's really romantic. Hopefully my future husband will remember all those details after 30 years of marriage. Anyway, check it out.

Romancing The Stone

David and Sybil Yurman’s aesthetic journey leads them to Hong Kong, where they find Asian refinement and sensibility

DAVID YURMAN WHIPS out his little notebook again to show me the sketches he made today. He writes notes wherever he goes. He can’t afford to lose any of the creative ideas springing from his restless and inventive mind. “Once they’re gone, they’re gone,” he says. “I write notes almost every day if something catches me . . . it could be the skyline, it could be the clouds. The creative part of designing is about allowing yourself to just see and absorb. Don’t do anything with it. That comes later. Just be receptive to it.” He looks out over the harbour. “It’s changing . . . it’s like looking into a fireplace. Do you ever watch fire? It just takes you away.”

David Yurman’s boundless creativity builds the core of his jewellery company, his passion for design singularly expressed in the unique pieces he creates. His name is most often associated with his signature cable jewellery, made from twisted sterling silver ropes. But his label isn’t a one-man show. Behind every great man, there is a great woman. His wife Sybil and he established the company in 1979. Yurman was already designing sculptures in high school, but his career in the arts took off in the 60s, when he met Sybil. He recalls that day, when he was sculpting in Greenwich Village.

“I was in charge of a group of seven guys,” he remembers. “Sybil came to the studio to work as a secretary, and we all stopped. All the torches went off. It was a loft. The elevator was on one end, and she had to walk 75 feet. She had black boots, red laces and little bells. Kting . . . It was like Clint Eastwood, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. It’s like she had spurs. Kting, kting, kting . . . black hair like an afro, and she was wearing a Peruvian Alpaca wool skirt.” Yurman laughs, picturing every detail. “We all said to each other, ‘Did you see that? Oh my god! I’m going to take the day off!’ She was just a knock out.”

The two started a romance and have been together ever since. Sybil, who was an artist, started showing her paintings in galleries. She was a source of inspiration and led Yurman from sculpture to jewellery design. She also helped him organise the business when it started to expand.

“I shipped the jewellery to the wrong customers . . . totally dyslexic, and I couldn’t get things in the right boxes. She said, ‘Let me take care of the shipping. You just get them done.’ ”

With Sybil’s help the company became more structured and better organised, and eventually Yurman took over the business side. It remains a family business today, with Sybil controlling the work and taking on the role of design editor while son Evan is in charge of men’s jewellery and men’s watches.

David Yurman is recognised as one of America’s leading fine jewellers, with 17 free-standing stores in the US. The new Hong Kong store is the company’s 18th and is currently the only one overseas. Others are in the pipeline, including Moscow, Dubai and Macau. Yurman wants to expand and evolve while keeping things small. “I’m not an octopus,” he says. “I’m not an uber-brand, and this is to me as much a commercial as an aesthetic adventure. There is an Asian aesthetic, a certain refinement I had to understand . . . and am attracted to. There is a sensibility that is valuable to absorb.”

For David it’s all about following what makes him feel good, taking the time to watch those clouds, acknowledging considerations and feelings. And it’s important to him to know where his gems come from and who the people are that are sorting and cutting them. “When you are taking something from the Earth, how it gets taken from the Earth means something to me,” he says. “That is in the stone.” – Vivienne Tang

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