We love jewelry. No, that’s a bit of an understatement—we seriously adore jewelry. Gaudy costume pieces, delicate chains and blinding diamonds are absolute essentials in our wardrobe. So when we saw the large statement necklaces at Vilaiwan we couldn’t help but think that we needed those pieces, immediately. With a new campaign and collection for the season, the brand is branching out with trunk shows at Neiman Marcus and blockbuster movie collaborations. While statement necklaces have been slipping in and out of popularity (one week it’s all about thin bangles the next it’s the biggest collars you can find), we think any piece that makes a true statement is here to stay.
Designed by Joe Polthakorn Viboonviriyawong, the brand is a cultivation of his years of study and practice starting in his father’s own diamond business. As a second-generation jeweler, he began designing pieces for his family’s business at the age of 14, creating avant-garde styles that displayed his creativity and understanding of the art. Leaving his native Thailand, he moved to Los Angeles and attended the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising to pursue his passions. After graduation he freelanced for brands both stateside and across Asia, designing high-end window installations that were known for catching the attention of both shoppers and the famous brands that called upon his services. In 2005 he returned to jewels and opened his fine jewelry boutique.
He began garnering attention for his details and designs; his larger-than-life pieces were instantly favorites of fine boutiques, museum stores, editors, stylists and celebrities in-the-know. Used in editorial shots for international magazines, in films and on runways, his pieces stood out, catching the eye and drawing attention with their unique arrangements and surprising materials. Entirely hand-crafted, his pieces are made from precious metals and stones, shells, and other materials that he finds to be relevant or worthy of his work. Most recently he worked with Disney, creating a collection to go with their movie Oz the Great and Powerful that consisted of emerald jewels, heavy, dark metals, and took inspiration from the Emerald City, the yellow brick road and of course, Dorothy’s ruby slippers.
His latest collection campaign features model Jacqueline Depaul shot by Raoul Beltrame. Posing in the Vilaiwan designs, Depaul captures the look of each piece through color and style, ranging from the seemingly casual to the most glamorous. While the collection refuses to settle on any one set of shades or structure, the overlying theme is bigger is better, with necklaces and earrings that are seemingly more resplendent than the next, and gaudy pieces that couldn’t be demure even if they tried. But that’s what we like about them; even in a world of oversized baubles, these pieces are one-of-a-kind, attention grabbers.