Efva Attling is a true lover of life, a visionary of design not only in her jewelry but also in the way she lives. Efva took a minute to chat with me while she was in Denver visiting the Hyde Park store in the Cherry Creek Shopping Center, home to her stunning jewelry collection. I expected a quick Q&A with a brief handshake and an obligatory smiling photo-op, but what I got was 25 minutes with an absolutely stunning woman whose veracity and vivaciousness left me in awe.
T.B. In the 80’s you were a model, you then had a career in music, television, and as the Fashion Editor of a magazine. Can you tell me about each experience?
E.A. At 17 a Swedish photographer asked if I could come model. Then I met Eileen Ford in Stockholm. I felt like the world was waiting for me. Modeling is a great way to travel the world. I was in Italy at a restaurant where all the models went and I helped a band with English lyrics. I decided to make a demo tape. I am friends with each member of ABBA, so I sent the tape to Benny Andersson and told him I wanted to sing and write pop songs. He told me no, this is no good and I should just keep modeling. I wanted to do this so I found a group, and I named the group X-Models. I wrote the song Two of Us and it was a huge hit. For a time I did a television show with a political journalist who became a friend. The show was Living Life and we had amazing chemistry, in all we did 20 shows together. Then Hearst approached me to write for a magazine. It was not something I had ever considered but I did it. I am open to suggestions and I dare to jump, if you look at my life that is what I have done.
T.B. After a 27 year jewelry hiatus from the time you began training with one of Sweden’s premier silversmiths, what prompted you to launch your signature collection?
E.A. I met a model during my time as Fashion Editor. During a photo shoot she said, “I have to leave by 5 pm, I have to be in silversmith class.” I said, “Whoa, that is what I was going to do.” So I started making pieces and everything I had learned at age 17 was coming back to me. Within three months I was selling pieces to my friends. Now I have 8 of my own stores. It is fantastic to think my jewelry has taken me to places all over, like Denver; I’m here in Denver with my jewelry.
T.B. Is there someone in your life who has helped you to become the person you are today?
E.A. I would say my father and my mother, in different ways. My father said, “You are never going to be a model with those skinny legs.” So one day I came home with a stocking advertisement and I asked him, “What do you think about these legs?” He says, “That is a good pair of legs.” I said, “Well, their mine!” He has always challenged me. My mother supports me. She has always supported the things I have done and I have wanted.
T.B. How is it important to your brand to have your collection in a shop like Hyde Park?
E.A. I think this is the way I can spread my design and so on. To be in a prestigious retail shop in the US, like Hyde Park, is a major focus right now.
T.B. What is the idea behind “Beauty with a Thought?”
E.A. As I used to be a singer/songwriter people after a show would be like, wow, this is really how I feel and you put it into words, it really moved me. I wanted to send the message that it is not only beautiful, it has meaning. I think jewelry is very intimate. It can be a gift, or something to boost oneself, a reminder to change your life, or luck. My jewelry is about giving people an idea.
T.B. Where do you find your design inspiration?
E.A. I look at how I have been trained by life, by my experiences, and in meeting people. Of course I look at Art Deco. A handle can mesmerize me. I am inspired by life. We each have our own story. It is touching to share our stories, our lives and to be part of others lives as well. I also find inspiration in music. Music is the cheapest psychologist you can go to. You can buy a record and you can truly pour your heart out. You can cry, you can laugh, you get energy from music, you get everything from music. I listen to music when I design; actually I listen to music all the time.
T.B. What is your favorite piece in your current collection?
E.A. The Passion Ring, it is a little flirty, fun and sexy.
T.B. Fashion is in your DNA. What do you love?
E.A. Christian Louboutin is my favorite shoemaker. Prada has beautiful fabrics and it is very well made, I love it. Zara and H&M, the Maison Martin Margiela collection for H&M has really great design. My grandmother was a seamstress. I used to design my own clothes and she would sew them for me. I’ve always been interested in fashion.