PICHULIK FW 17 Collection // embracing the qualities of Wabi-Sabi - Bubblegum Club

PICHULIK FW 17 Collection // embracing the qualities of Wabi-Sabi

Katherine-Mary Pichulik, owner and designer of PICHULIK, enjoys going through her great-grandmother’s trousseau. It allows her to connect to her female lineages and understand the journeys that have informed the woman that she is today. One particular photograph that she found became the foundation for the direction she took for PICHULIK’s FW17 collection. It was a photograph of a woman her great-grandmother had met in the ’50s in Japan. On the back of the photograph were the word, “Mother”. This forensic investigation into the kind of woman her great-grandmother was, and this connection to Japan, inspired Katherine-Mary to look to Japanese aesthetic practices for this collection.

The culture and sense of community among Japanese Ama pearl divers was one main source of inspiration for the jewelry collection. This 2000 year old practice of women free diving in the ocean without protective gear or oxygen has an immediate connection to the PICHULIK brand. The women tie rope around their waists during their dives and rope is the main material for PICHULIK accessories. Originally a practice to forage for shellfish, over the years the practice has become one which involves diving for pearls. “What was so inspiring is the bold courage of these women to go deep under the ocean,” Katherine-Mary explained, “What I also found exciting is that these pearls also symbolically represent women.”. Katherine-Mary also explained that there is an association between pearls and the moon. The Ama collection brings an awareness to the connection between the moon, the ocean and the feminine.

Women are always the protagonists in the conceptualization of PICHULIK collections, and so the story of the divers, the pearls and the brand amalgamate perfectly. PICHULIK is about, “using jewelry and ornamentation, the oldest modalities from the Neolithic period, as a conduit to share empowering messages to women as well as to share stories cross-culturally that show female self-inquiry, bravery and alchemy of sorts.”.

In addition to their main material, the collection uses base metals such like brass and bronze. Katherine excitedly explained that these materials oxidize due to exposure to salt water or exposure to oxygen, and the PICHILIK pieces embrace the true nature of these materials. “So the pieces are not only dripped with pearls but they also age with time and take on the qualities of Wabi-Sabi”; an aesthetic practice that shows appreciation and acceptance of imperfections. Wood also features as another elemental force which can be seen in their Haiko earrings and Pagoda neckpiece.

The Japanese flower arranging practice of Ikebana is another source of inspiration for the collection, which can be seen directly in their FW17 lookbook.

Under the PICHULIK umbrella is the fashion side designed by Nadya von Stein. Having grown with the brand since graduating from fashion school, Nadya combines her Italian-style tailoring with the creative direction of the brand. For the FW17 collection they worked with fabric from Mungo, a hand-loom company based in Plettenberg Bay. Re-imagining their Mungo’s first run of patterns, Nadya designed power suit combinations that reference ’80s maximism. The rest of the garments are constructed from hand-dyed hemp in rich colours such as deep reds and maroons. The fashion and jewelry collection speak to one another in the way in which they are designed to celebrate ideas of self-love and feminine energies.

Looking at classic and non-traditional Ikebana arrangements, and referencing beautiful portraits of Ama pearl divers, the lookbook has a slightly cinematic feel, marrying ’80s opulence with Japanese minimalism. “[We wanted] you to feel as if you had gone on a journey or process of some kind,” Katherine-Mary explained. Contrasting elements were compiled together, with satin gloves and Ikebana arrangements alongside over the top embellishments. Shots by the ocean connect back to the influence of the ocean and create a dreamy, sci-fi feel.

The evolution of PICHUIK over the years has seen the team pushing towards building a community around the brand’s message. Encouraging empowering dialogues and authentic conversations with women, “supporting and celebrating ideas of self-love, self-actualization, self-inquiry, [and] self -nurturing” continue to be the foundation for PICHULIK’s creative direction.

Lookbook credits:
Stylist: Gabbi Kannemeyer
Photographer: Alix-Rose Cowie
Videographer: Maxine Thaysen
Ikebana specialist: Cynthia Fan
Model: Gwen Lu
Make up: Sandra Bensoussan

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