Meet Madina Visconti
Hey There Pretty birds,
I came across Madina Visconti di Modrone’s jewelry line, OMV di Madina Visconti, one Summer in East Hampton when my mother-in-law and I were rinsing our eyes on all the gorgeous goods at Tomas Maier. Of course my mother-in-law was already hip to the brand, hey she knew who Prabal Gurung was before I started talking about him, LOL. That following Autumn, I met Madina at a cocktail party back in Milan and was immediately taken by her style, gorgeous jewelry and color-tipped hair – she cycles through colors and donned peacock ends on the day of our shoot. Born in Milan to influential design and art world parents, Madina spent her Summers at the family’s country home in Grazzano, near Piacenza. There she blended all the splendor that nature generously provided with the lessons that her parents offered during life in the city, saving up these early creative impressions for the day she would join her mother in her atelier. We shot the images included in this post at said atelier and were totally inspired by how both women have sublimely blended their art. Ready to experience the chicness that abounds? Please enjoy getting to know Madina and her jewelry.
Tamu McPherson: What is it about the memories of your garden at your childhood home in Grazzano that inspire you the most?
Madina Visconti di Modrone: When I was little I would run around the garden in Grazzano picking flowers and leafs to put in my hair. I used to love it. I became fascinated by everything in the garden: the pebbles, the grass, the ivy. Everything. So when I started designing my first collection it was only natural for this passion to come out.
TMP: When did you realize that those memories were the perfect foundation for your jewelry collection?
MV: When I would go to Grazzano while growing up, I would be really amazed by the difference in all the plants and flowers depending on the season. The colours changed a lot and due to this you can find some of my pieces in different coloured enamel.
TMP: Your mother is a huge source of inspiration for you. Where can we find her in your collection?
MV: As I work alongside my mother you can find a part of her everywhere in my collections! We ask each other for advice and suggestions and sometimes I’ll take an old piece, which she designed years ago, and develop it further. For example she designed The Snake Bracelet and I took that idea and designed The Snake Ring later on.
TMP: How does your father’s work as an influential gallerist guide your approach to creating?
MV: My father has influenced me but in a different way than my mother. My father’s influence has been mental rather than physical: he taught me about the art world and all that happens in it and I think that growing up in this environment gave me an extra “something” that comes out while I’m designing.
TMP: I remember your stunning bracelet inspired by Leonardo da Vinci. Are you often inspired by art?
MV: That bracelet and belt were designed in collaboration with yoox.com. It is one of my favorites projects, because I had the chance of working on Leonardo da Vinci’s original drawings, which are conserved at the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana.
TMP: What does Milan mean to you? How does the city influence you and inform your work?
MV: I grew up in Milan so obviously it’s a very special city for me. It’s quite an international city and the fast pace and the “buzz” give me the inspiration and motivation to design.
TMP: Who is your muse?
MV: Iris Apfel. I find her incredibly inspiring and sometimes if I’m thinking that some of my creations are too colourful or too much I think of what she would wear and just go with it!
TMP: You have many interesting friends… do their personalities or personal style inspire you?
MV: A lot of my friends are creative types as well so I like to talk with them about the business aspect of our work. I also like to get feedback from them once my pieces are finished. I take their opinion into consideration as I have a lot of respect for them.
TMP: Describe how your jewelry is created?
MV: Inspiration. Then I start working on sketches and start solving technical problems. Then when I have a clear idea of what I want to achieve I start moulding the wax. Then the wax goes to the foundry where artisans, after a long process, turn them into gold or silver. This process takes more or less 5 days. When it’s finished I take the pieces to the goldsmith where he adds the finishing touches such as putting the pieces together, mounting stones, applying enamel or adding gold or silver plating.
TMP: What do you love about the process? What’s the most satisfying aspect? Is there a frustrating aspect?
MV: I really enjoy working with wax, because it’s the first time you see the idea, which was created in your mind, in real life. But I also like working with the goldsmith because they are extremely experienced and specialized and I always learn something from them.
TMP: If you could create a custom piece for a historical figure, who would that be and what?
MV: I would love to create little gold butterflies with colored diamonds and different enamels and stones for Marie Antoinette’s hair stylist.
TMP: Who are your favorite artists or designers? Why?
MV: I like Marco de Vincenzo. I find his work incredibly cool and different.
TMP: If you could live in any city in the world, which one would it be and why?
MV: I would live in a city, where it’s summer all year round. But at the same time international, where I can still work on my jewelry.
TMP: What has been the biggest compliment of your work?
MV: I think being appreciated by women who have the possibility of spending a lot of money on jewels and choose me is always very flattering.
TMP: What advice would you give to young designers starting out?
MV: Design what you would wear.
TMP: What has been your biggest lesson?
MV: When I was 21, I spent a summer in Peru building houses for a charity. This experience taught me a lot. And when I look back, I realize how lucky I am and that my problems are not nearly serious as the problems of those who are less fortunate than myself. It helps keep my ” feet on the ground .”