Wearing jewellery is not only the most effective way to make an outfit shine, but it also allows us to associate snippets of memories and feelings with our tiniest, yet brightest, possessions. And that’s what MYEL founder Myriam Elie’s pieces seem to stand for, as well.
Before studying arts and business, Elie’s innate love for fashion and design manifested itself early on. She started designing clothes and accessories at a young age and always wanted to start her own company. But the idea to actually launch MYEL did not come to her until much later, right after some of her most precious jewellery was stolen.
Ever since that first collection came out in 2013, the brand has remained faithful to its minimalistic roots and modern design that have shaped the pieces’ elegant and timeless aesthetic. In this interview with Here & There Magazine, Myriam Elie discusses the inspiration behind her designs, as well as her love for her hometown, Montreal, and travelling.
Konstantina Pyrnokoki: What prompted you to start MYEL?
Myriam Elie: After having my jewellery stolen from my luggage during a trip, I was really sad and realized how emotionally connected I was to these small items and the stories attached to them. I had just finished my studies at the time and moved to Germany with my boyfriend shortly after. So while trying to adjust to this new country, I started making my own pieces of jewellery to replace the ones that were lost. It quickly turned into a passion and I got obsessed with creating better and better designs. It hasn’t stopped ever since.
Your pieces are fuelled by a passion for travel and adventure. Do you incorporate elements from the places you visit into the jewellery?
Yes, my travels are definitely my main source of inspiration. I love discovering little details in artworks, designs or the architecture found in other countries. I really like seeing how people from different cultures are wearing their jewellery or clothes and finding out what that means. I also like vintage objects and I’m curious to know all about how people lived in the past. There’s so much to learn from the jewellery world and that’s what motivates me every day.
What's your favourite place in the world right now and why?
This is a difficult question... I don’t think I have a favourite country or place. I like big cities as much as I like small villages or outdoor hiking and beaches... Although I would love to go to India next! I’ve never been and it looks amazing.
How has Montreal influenced your work?
Montreal is a great city to live in. I have to admit that every time I return from one of my travels, I feel really lucky to call Montreal home. I think Montreal has influenced a lot of my work because of the diversity of the people as well as their openness and kindness. Also, the fact that the city is neither too big nor too small has affected my work style. I like the fact that people are not too stressed about things here.
Which are your favourite spots in the city?
I live in the Mile End, a five-minute walk from my boutique, so I must say I spend a lot of time (maybe a little too much) in this area. My favourite place to shop is Ruse on St-Laurent. They sell beautiful vintage clothes and the owners are so nice. To eat, I’ve been going to L’Express on Saint-Denis ever since I was a kid; every time I go, I’m never disappointed. It’s as if time stops for an evening at that place! Finally, I try doing yoga every day at the Wanderlust studio on Laurier. It’s the best way to start my day and they always have good playlists during the class, so I’m also discovering new music while training.
Could you share the creative process that goes into making your collections?
Usually, I come up with ideas at random times and write everything down. When it’s time to prepare a new collection, I gather all my inspiration and the thoughts that I’ve had for the past few months and start from there. I then draw in my sketchbook and once I’m satisfied with the ideas, I give my drawings to a 3D designer so he can bring the designs to life through his software. When the 3D design is approved, we move on to printing the wax and making the master.
What materials do you use and which are your favourite ones to work with?
I use 14k and 18k gold and sterling silver. I think it’s fun to mix rose gold or yellow gold with silver. I also really love gemstones. I’m thinking about incorporating more of those into my future designs.
Is there any piece you're particularly proud of and why?
I would say my first ring in silver that I made in an intensive three-day class in Germany. It was a bunny ring with a pearl. Even if it was not very practical, the style was cool and I was very proud to go back home with a “real” piece of jewellery.
For your latest campaign, Linsey's World, you teamed up with beauty retailer 'The Natural Curator'. How did you come up with the idea of blending specific pieces of jewellery with different manicure styles?
Gabrielle and Karine from The Natural Curator are friends of mine since high school and we are sharing the same values for our brands. The collaboration came naturally and the idea for the combination of nails and jewellery allowed us to express our creativity through colours, style and beauty. We had a lot of fun creating Linsey’s World!
What should we expect from MYEL in the future?
Many more beautiful designs and collaborations! ■
Words by Konstantina Pyrnokoki
Product images by Samuel Pasquier | Portraits by Jerry Pigeon