Thinking about the word modern conjures up all kinds of images and thoughts and feelings, for all of us. What does it mean to be truly modern? Is it futuristic? Is it free or surprisingly full of antiquated influence? Is it merely what we haven't seen yet or experienced? Hmmmm. Surely my modern will be different than your modern, and your modern will be different than the next person...and so on. One person who might have a very definitive sense of what modern looks and feels like is jewelry designer EK Thongprasert. In fact, I'm quite sure he does. Of Thai heritage but based in Antwerp, Thongprasert has given fashion folk, who do think they've seen it all, until they haven't, of course, a lot to think about. EKT's truly original take on the modern aesthetic has expanded our rather conventional vocabulary to include a brand new take on chic, cool jewels that quite frankly haven't been seen before, yet somehow have. His carefully coordinated blend begins with his material of choice, silicone. His lofty influence remains Elizabeth Taylor-worthy high jewels, like diamond necklaces, extravagant diamond and pearl drop earrings, tiaras and so on. A dash of cross-cultural, tribal-influenced elements rounds out the mix in a way that is wildly sophisticated and yes, totally modern.
The fact that Thongprasert has managed to make the lowly, rubbery material silicone into something so fashion-fabulous is extraordinary. EKT's matte, soft silicone in beautiful shades that range from milky pastels to hot neons and rich, moody hues brings color front and center. Every element of his jewelry is brilliantly thought through, his gemstones are classically faceted and pronged like any proper diamond or ruby. Smooth beads strung like pearls in kooky colors are treated like the precious jewel that they are. It sounds traditional, but worked in this fresh, new way, it's anything but.
As one of the most coveted and copied designers in the world right now, EKT moves forward with some exciting new ideas for spring. Handbags made entirely of silicone with industrial-inspired motifs like nuts, bolts and chains make for a brilliant new addition to his line-up. Oversized collars in structured beaded loops tease with a trompe l'oeil effect. Tropical flowers in funky hot-house colors make for the perfect summery layered lei-look, jumbling up color and shape.
Challenging convention with respect and reverence to tradition is a hallmark of EK Thongprasert's design. It's exciting and fun to watch the push of modern thought forward, particularly when it's realized in the form of a hot pink silicone necklace that sits delightfully around my neck.