The Jeweller Working With Michèle Lamy and Elizabeth Taylor

Courtesy of Aurora Lopez Mejia

As she presents a series of new pieces at Selfridges’ Lamyland, we speak with Aurora Lopez Mejia, an artist creating pieces for some of fashion’s greatest icons

It’s not difficult to see why the work of Aurora Lopez Mejia caught the eye of the late Elizabeth Taylor. The solid gold pieces the jeweller has been making since the 1980s, inscribed with personalised messages intended to empower the wearer, are certainly fitting for a woman with compulsive, magpie-like tendencies and strength of character alike. Unsurprisingly, then, Lopez Mejia also counts Michèle Lamy as one of her clients. “I have seven ear piercings but only really use three. I wear one titanium piece plus one small 22-carat gold Aurora Lopez earring which says ‘life is beautiful’ and one at the top of the ear, from Dubai,” Lamy once told AnOther, in an article outlining her own obsession with jewellery.

Lopez Mejia was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, yet moved to the United States decades ago. It was there in Los Angeles that she first met Lamy, but the artist now calls New York, where she works in her SoHo studio, home.

This month sees the launch of Lamyland at Selfridges, where a corner of the Oxford Street store has been given a radical makeover by Lamy, inspired by her love of boxing. It includes new, large-scale pieces by Lopez Mejia, specially designed to act as personal armour. Here, we speak with the jeweller about some of her ‘superhero’ collectors, and her plans to make public sculpture to be dotted around the globe. 

 

On treading the line between jewellery and art…
“I have been making pieces since the late 1980s. They conventionally look like jewellery, but I am an artist first and foremost, with a background in making large sculptural work. My work is all about creating constant reminders of different aspects of life that anchor us. I use jewellery like talismans, to mimic the way in which ancient cultures wore pieces to act as reminders of courage, of love, of faith. To give you an idea of what I mean, it’s kind of like a wearable tattoo. Instead of writing on your arm, you wear it, the metal inscribed with a personal message. So when I started making these pieces and personalising them with words, they were originally just for myself and for my friends. I was surrounded by a lot of creative energy; we were all artists, whether working in art, music or film. Every time something happened in our lives and we wanted to document it, I would make a new piece.”

On working with Michèle Lamy…
“I’ve known Michèle since I was in my early 20s and we’ve remained close ever since; I’ve made her pieces ever since too. When she was working on Lamyland at Selfridges, she called me and said it was a no-brainer for me to be involved, especially with the whole aspect of empowerment that is so key to the project, and which is what my work is all about. So, I made some large pieces, in silver and bronze, although I usually work in solid gold for Michèle. They’re very heavy in gold! It reflects Michèle’s strength of character – it is like personal armour.”

On her ‘superhero’ collectors…
“There’s Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, Usher, Elton John, Barbra Streisand, Elizabeth Taylor… The list goes on and on! It’s like a cult following. It’s all word of mouth from one circle to another. If I was to put all my collectors in a room – including Michèle – if they had just one thing in common it would be that they’re all superheroes! They’re over-achievers, they’re game-changers. We’re collaborators, too, which is why I’ve always been very discrete about my relationships with them all. I’ve also done charitable work with Madonna, when she was out in Malawi. We made a piece together which raised money for the Raising Malawi foundation, to give back to the children and to empower them to become the superheroes of tomorrow.”

On the future…
“I’m very excited over what we’re about to launch – it’s been five years in the making. I’m going back to concentrate on my art, which is why I’m not selling to retailers anymore (although I made this exception with Lamyland). This is so I can truly focus on my sculptures, which are anywhere from 3ft to 16ft in diameter. I’m going to put them in public spaces all over the world, as permanent public pieces. I’m working with some of my collectors to inscribe messages for each work, relevant to the city, and commenting on the current global political landscape.”

Lamyland is open at Selfridges, London until March 25, 2018.

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