‘I am interested in people’s obsession with their appearances. We try to make ourselves look better or become someone else by means of make-up, cosmetic surgery and editing photos. I wanted to express this tendency with my jewellery practice, then came up with the idea of creating facial jewellery to substitute it for make-up.’
Meet Akiko Shinzato, the young Japanese Londoner whose uniquely striking collection of jewellery, Another Skin, is worn – as much jewellery usually is – on your face… but not in a usual way. You won’t need a single piercing to enjoy it for yourself.
Created as part Shinzato’s degree in Jewellery Design at Central Saint Martins, Another Skin explores society’s obsessiveness when it comes to how we look. Instead of touching the skin, jewels and precious stones that conceal eyes, noses and lips are clipped into position using metal braces looped over the head or around the neck, or clipped onto the nose or under the chin. Images of lips, noses and eyes conceal the wearer’s real features, with jewellery studding the leather canvas instead of the skin.
‘We treat our appearances according to how we want to be seen by others,’ explains the designer. ‘And put this alternative veil of identity on the faces. In other words, our appearances can be modified and manipulated as we wish.
‘In this collection I am using the aesthetic and structural idea of a pair of pince-nez as an element of Victorian attire that attaches and detaches to maintain the self-esteem of the wearer. Each piece of the collection partially hides the facial features of the wearer whilst revealing a whole other identity.’