Swiss designer Veronica Antonucci wants you to fall in love at first sight. Antonucci, who started her brand last year, produces eye-catching accessories with inclusivity and sustainability at their heart. For this photo series, a collaboration with photographer Nils Sandmeier, Antonucci spotlights her vibrant, unique earrings influenced by the Swiss Pop Art movement of the 1960s. But there’s more to these earrings than meets the eye — each piece is made of recycled PMMA, also known as acrylic or plexiglass. Tying all of these images together are the stylings of Stephanie Klaproth, whose politically-influenced reinterpretations of classic design staples make for a striking, memorable series. Here, Schön! catches up with Antonucci to discuss her jewellery design process, working with the team for the editorial and the future of Vanto.
Tell us about your design background. When and why did you begin designing jewellery?
I studied fashion design. As part of the course, we once had to create a small accessories collection; this is when I realised how strong my passion for jewellery and accessories was. At that point, I was already very much into sustainability and adored the fact that we seem to cherish accessories much more than clothes and that our relationship with these items differs too. The symbolism around jewellery is also important – as we adorn our bodies, we highlight/enhance our beauty or want to make a statement, for example, with piercings. So, I decided to dedicate myself to jewellery, objects and accessories.
What’s been your favourite moment of your design career so far?
Being featured in Schön! And the fact that my sustainable product made it to the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven. I can’t wait to showcase my earrings there in October and talk to the visitors about waste and how to give it a new life. Indeed, I think that my products embody a well-balanced dose of innovative design, contemporary craftsmanship and upcycling.
How did you get the idea to use repurposed PMMA?
MIS MAGAZIN, a Swiss publication, offered me the opportunity to create a special edition. As I only had a few weeks to produce it, I was wondering how to materialise this small collection of earrings in a sustainable way. The main questions that crossed my mind were: what is our perception of waste and luxury today? What gives us the feeling of luxury? Is it the weight, the touch, the material, the way it is made, or simply the brand? I was born in the ‘80s and grew up with the habit of repairing; we would throw things away only when they were really wasted.
In my eyes, luxury draws a lifetime journey with your favourite item, ideally for years… I thought of materials I could use and the idea of acrylic glass came up because it’s an atypical material to use in jewellery. I like its appearance, colours and lightweight. I got in touch with people creating these bold neon letters for stores, etc. and started buying their offcuts. Using a laser cutter, I produce jewellery out of this waste.
What drew you to the ‘60s Swiss Pop Art movement, which you incorporate into your work?
I think the main image everybody has from Switzerland is Heidi and the Alps. I once visited a wonderful exhibition about the Swiss Pop Art movement and realised how it is such an amazing and nearly forgotten time of Switzerland. There were many artists, such as Susi & Ueli Berger, Markus Raetz and Urs Lüthi, making amazing art. I was fascinated by it because it showed Swiss people in a different light than they are usually perceived. It was free, bold, loud, fluid and unusual. So I tried to incorporate these keywords in my collection in order to do something unexpected and surprising.
Why did you select the name Le Coup de Foudre for your editorial?
When I saw the images after the shoot with photographer Nils Sandmeier and model Naomy, I was blown away. It was way better than I had imagined. They did a great job, and when I saw the editorial it really was love at first sight. Naomy’s expression reminded me of first loves and the tortures we went through: longing, resisting, feeling creepy, being shy and hoping. It is sensual, fragile and strong at the same time.
Stephanie Klaproth styled this series. How did you direct her to align with your vision for the brand?
Stephanie Klaproth is a fashion designer that I met during my fashion studies. I liked her concept of using something classic such as trousers and a shirt and re-contextualising them, using other proportions and creating tension. She does, in a way, what I do too. The name of her collection is “Resist”; she also wants to express the attitude of being against right-wing politics. I find harmony in her fashion associated with my jewellery. She did an amazing job! I am sure we will hear more from her.
What were some of the other inspirations for this photo series?
As I am originally Italian, and because I am really disappointed by what is going on politically in Italy (and worldwide), I decided to work with a black woman. I got upset when creating a mood board for the shoot, as I nearly found no images with black people. Stephanie’s fashion is also inspired by activists fighting against right-winged politics; we wanted to make a statement. Vanto is for everybody, every gender, every skin shade, as long as we leave in respect with each other. I really feel ashamed of our society when I read [about] what is happening to the LGBTQ+ community, or how we let refugees drown in the sea, or Mexicans die at the border. I want to make this planet a better place, even if it’s just via a small recycled object. The idea behind it is much bigger.
What can we expect from Vanto in the future?
I will keep on working on my PMMA project and sharing information about upcycling and the repurpose of waste materials. I am also planning on developing interior design objects and more handcrafted jewellery made of recycled silver and recycled gold.