Michele Lamy on Her Jewellery Obsession

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Michele Lamy at home
Michele Lamy at homePhotography by Danielle Levitt

Rick Owens' wife and collaborator speaks candidly about her burgeoning jewellery collection

"On my fingers, I always wear seven, sometimes eight, rings. The eighth is a large rock crystal which I wear on my right thumb but I can't type in it so it's only worn for special occasions. The rings are the first things I put on in the morning; even before I make a cup of tea. The only time I take them off in the day is at the gym.

At the moment, the rings are a mix of HUNROD, with Loree Rodkin, and fab cheap rings from Istanbul Bazaar. I don't have an engagement or wedding ring – it would be hard to find a spot! In fact, Rick has never given me a ring. I've always worn rings since my late teens – they have of course changed with my mood and the times. I inherited a few from my grandmothers but they are now all gone – stolen or lost. My tattoos and dyed fingers are part of the story – similar to the way tribal woman wear jewellery. I once figured out a way I could dye nails and skin with black hair dye. I have always hated nail polish but I do love black nails.

"I've always worn rings since my late teens – they have of course changed with my mood and the times"

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. I wear a lot of bracelets, and these have been inherited – my grandfather designed accessories for Poiret and I have an early collection of Galalith bangles. At the moment, I enjoy wearing old ivory pieces (two together) that I found with Rick in Portobello ten years ago, along with bronze and silver pieces from Christiane Billet, a French artist who shows at the Parisian jewellery gallery Naila de Montbrison, a gold resin bracelet. My favourite piece of all time is a Zulu bracelet given to me by my friend and artist, Liza Lou. I'm customising it at the moment. The bracelets together are noisy which I enjoy. I wear a lot of noisy pieces around my neck too. And I love name tags.

My best pieces are in my teeth! It all started in LA about 20 years ago, when I tried to replace some fillings. I visited a New Age dentist who used a holistic kind of gold with diamonds for light enhancement! And it went on from there! I have since had gold and rock crystal, and gold and coloured diamonds. I even have a mouth guard for boxing – this is removable, the teeth are not."

One usually hears Michele Lamy before one sees her – her spectacular collection of bracelets, necklaces, earrings and rings clattering against one another. A conversation with her is even more spectacular – she is enthusiastic, humorous and passionate; her aesthetic, personal predilictions and mannerisms are unforgettable and unique. Lamy was born and grew up in France during the Second World War, and later moved to Los Angeles where she ran the Les Deux Café. It was here she met Rick Owens, her now husband, creative collaborator and business partner. She has a daughter Scarlett, who is also passionate about jewellery, and lives in Paris with Owens.

Lamy's latest project is a collaboration with the Chicago-born, Los Angeles-based jewellery designer Loree Rodkin. The pair both met when Lamy first moved to LA. "We are both fans of each other," says Rodkin on the eve of the jewellery launch. "Michele was wearing a piece of jewellery next to one of the rings I made her and I suggested we do a piece in the Rick Owens vein. It became the backbone of the HUNROD collection. Michele and Rick were my first choice to do a collaboration with." The collection, described by Rodkin as a mixture of "fashion forward, tribal and found objects" launches exclusively at Dover Street Market London tomorrow.

Text by Laura Bradley