Photos of atelier by Nicholas Calcott for Paris By Appointment Only™
Erik Halley’s business card should have weekend and weekday descriptions. From Mon-Fri, this adorable Frenchie can be found at his Parisian atelier handcrafting statement-making accessories for the best names in fashion such as Lagerfeld, Yohji, Givenchy and Mugler (to name but a few). But come the weekend, he trades his tools for the turntables as resident DJ of Club Sandwich, the most glamorous and decadent dance party in Paris.
The two jobs go hand in hand, however. The club is not only his front-row seat to the most inspired and eccentric sartorialists in the city, it’s also a stage to test drive his fabulous new concepts and designs.
Halley has been pushing accoutrements out of the fringes and into the fore of fashion for the last fifteen years. Not only has his wearable art been featured in exhibitions, he was the first designer to ever stage an accessories runway show during fashion week in Paris (see video at end of post).
Be they triple-tiered shoulder pads covered in Swarovski stones, audio headphones with embedded metal spikes, or Kiss-painted doll head headbands, his mischievous, extravagant designs blur the boundaries between accessories and art.
Halley’s big break came in 1996 when Karl Lagerfeld commissioned a collection of runway accessories for Chanel. Using a treasure trove of antique pelican and eagle feathers, he concocted a special heat and steam system to shape them into wispy frames for the face.
Sourcing vintage beads in New York, metal trimmings in India, glass beads in Morocco, and antique feathers from old stock suppliers, Halley first customizes his materials in his kitchen laboratory before working them into one-of-a-kind creations. “Various suppliers have passed along technical tricks from the past that I’ve tweaked and developed myself,” says Halley of his DIY designs.
From feathers and metal to leather and crystals, Halley is a maestro of a variety of mediums and techniques. His signature is to mix together contrasting materials for a modern twist on chic, like turning Swarovski crystals on their backs to look like punk rock studs, or transforming Louboutin heels into hats.
His technical and creative playfulness has made him the go-to guy for outstanding embellishments both on stage and off. Not only has he crafted performance pieces for Madonna (an oxidized metal necklace using Indian-inspired trimmings) David Bowie (orchid-shaped feather earrings) and most recently Beyoncé (a crystal degradé bodice designed by Thierry Mugler), he does custom commissions for regular people with a flair for extravagance too.
Prices: 90E-skies the limit depending on design.
Appointments: Contact me to be put in touch with Erik