Jewellery Spotlight: Philomena Studio

Catholic schools and court cases.

The last standing enforcers of strict dress codes.

In a time of ‘smart casual’ over suits, luxury sneakers on red carpets, athleisure absolutely everywhere, and uniforms routinely abolished from cafes and kindergartens alike, one thing has become abundantly clear: we’re ripping up the rulebook.

Sure, it’s a breath of fresh air. Comfort, over constraint. Functionality, over frippery. It seems like a necessary evolution, since it accommodates our new, frenetic city lifestyles. But still, the plethora of sporty gear and the rise of unisex clothing can feel too utilitarian at times. A quasi-Soviet formlessness which instead of feeling effortlessly chic, becomes unflattering, a token of lazy dressing. Sometimes, just sometimes, a girl misses feeling like a girl. In those moments, Philomena Studio is your solution.

Born out of a desire to create an elegant and versatile antidote to the modern condition, Philomena Studio’s twinkly pearlescent jewellery is a love match for every woman. The brains – and blistered hands – behind the brand is Ines Castrillo, who hand-works each individual piece, spending hours twisting brass and silver with plyers in her studio. Castrillo, who originally hails from Spain, spent years living in France and honing her art in Parisian fashion houses, where she perfected embellishments and embroidery on evening gowns. But Ines Castrillo has itchy feet… and an eye for the international.

Her first collection was inspired by her time working for Japanese designers and based off Ikebana flower arranging. Her next collection will draw on the design and rushing spirit of India. In between the two collections, she embarked on what can only be described as world tour, hitting hotspots like Indonesia and Thailand, washing up on shores as far-flung as Panama and New Zealand. This temporary removal from Western society seems to have allowed her to reflect on what women really need, because Philomena Studio is a brand that inherently understands what women want. In the 70s it was the cacophonous, ragged tartan rebellion of Vivian Westwood. In the 90s it was the arching, “pure sex” stilettos of Louboutin. Ines Castrillo captures the mood of now.

We want something that easily matches our wardrobe, without overpowering the outfit. We pine for weightless, comfortable, easy accessories that let us go about our daily life, but still carry feminine charm. All of Castrillo’s pieces have a subtle, light feel that does for your ensemble what a night of sumptuous sleep does for your skin. The simplicity and purity of the designs, with freshwater pearl droplets and the delicate, wreath-like gold and silver, are a minimalist haven, a reprieve from crushing, polluted times. If you’re one for Marie Kondo-ing, Danish ‘hygge’ and meditations, you’ll delight in this brand, whose range fully encompasses all occasions from a Grecian-style tiara (a veritable cornucopia of pearls), to a simple ring of precious stones for day to day wear. For those with ethical concerns, this is for you too. Castrillo’s process is entirely artisanal, with all pieces made from sustainably sourced materials. Her idea is to employ skilled workers when she needs to produce quicker and bigger – but for as long as possible she intends to do the majority of the handiwork, from combing through markets for supplies, to pencil sketching designs, to setting the stones. Each of the pieces has a limited run and is sent out in a numbered box, telling you which sequence it is part of. Each of the pieces can be purchased online now, but ought to be treasured forever.

Castrillo was spurred to create Philomena Studio by her boyfriend, who complimented the jewellery she used to make just for herself. Now that anyone can buy from the collection, it’s time to let it compliment you.

To find out more or to shop Philomena Studio, please visit here

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