There is primitivism and there is modernity, glamour and sophistication, hints of hard New York chic evolving and softening into effortless LA style.
New York and Los Angeles are often characterised as two worlds separated at once by a continental landmass and radical differences in culture. Sophie Buhai knows both, having made the coast-to-coast pilgrimage from LA to New York as a teenager to study at Parsons School of Design and, on graduating, co-founded cult brand Vena Cava. More a decade spent in the fastest echelons of fashion later, it was time to leave New York and come home:
“I was ready for a change. I was feeling very drawn back to California. There is an amazing energy here right now – it’s a pioneer spirit, people work in a very out-of-the-box way.”
The shift in location has been marked by a shift in creation – away from clothes, now jewellery. Buhai creates sculptural works in silver and wood, inspired by her family’s collections of Mexican and mid-century Scandinavian silver, focused through the American West’s deep connection to the metal. These are pieces of heft and heritage, earthy shapes fashioned from pure materials that evoke a timelessness and longevity that sits well with Buhai’s new environment.
Sophie Buhai Mapplethorpe Cuff
Sophie Buhai Classic Hoop Earrings
“Moving back to California my life became a lot more casual and simplified. I wear the same thing every day. I don’t really keep up with trends. Here it’s more about simplifying your life and having a uniform of well-made, classic pieces. We are all tired of how much is constantly pushed in our faces, we want to find calm amid the noise.”
Sophie Buhai Egg Pendant Long
The resulting pieces – the Egg pendant, the Mapplethorpe cuff, the Wilke earrings – evoke this sense of relaxed luxury, along with the sculptural influence of Buhai’s heroines – Georgia O’Keeffe, Barbara Hepworth and Hannah Wilke. There is primitivism and there is modernity, glamour and sophistication, hints of hard New York chic evolving and softening into effortless LA style. An extended, thoughtful design process results in adornments that heighten the every day, and pieces that will last forever.
“I think people are looking for things that are well made again. The backlash on fast fashion has to be coming…