[Image credit: Mickaël Kra Jewellery featured in Ghubar Magazine]
Whilst on my MA course, in-between perusing the university library shelves for reading material I would often find myself wandering down isles that did not directly relate to my subject area but proved too irresistible to bypass and during one of my wanders stumbled across the book, ‘Mickaël Kra: Jewellery Between Paris Glamour and African Tradition‘; and was introduced to a jewellery designer who has been hailed as one of the most important jewellery designers in the world today Mickaël Kra was born in France and raised first in Switzerland, then Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire where he left to study Fine Art in New York City, and in embodying the spirit of the global citizen, has divided his time between Abidjan, Paris, Dakar, New York, and at last count was based in Cape Town.
From a young age, Mickaël learnt to appreciate beauty, art, and fashion, and from his mother, Mickaël learnt to respect what is handmade and the impact that adornment, along with hair and makeup has on a woman. Greatly inspired the history of body ornaments used across the continent, and by his Ivorian background; the rich heritage, local design, creativity, and materials; Mickaël continuously adapts traditional styles to suit his contemporary design aesthetic, and uses materials such as; gold, silver, molten glass, crystal, clay, coral, terracotta and ostrich shells for his luxury masterpieces.
Mickaël Kra’s designs are lavish; dripping with strand upon strand of luscious shimmering beads and sparkling jewels that are intertwined, woven, and strung together with traditional beads and ornaments, and sensuously adorn the head, neck, wrists, and body. His first collection saw the adaptation of gold weights used in the ancient Ashanti Kingdom, entitled ‘Queen Poku’ the collection brought Mickaël recognition for his creativity and talent, starting an illustrious career that has seen him work with some of the world’s leading haute couture houses creating the jewels to complement the clothes. The level of detail and workmanship has resulted in some truly stunning creations.
Throughout his career, Mickaël has been an advocate in bringing African style to global audiences and made a commitment to helping the preservation and promotion of Africa’s cultural heritage. Amongst other initiatives, this commitment has seen a collaboration with the San of the Kalahari that resulted in the development of a contemporary line of jewellery made with Ostrich eggshells and was intended to help generate ongoing revenue streams for the communities involved.
[Image credit: Mickaël Kra Jewellery]
Not afraid to experiment, Mickaël Kra’s designs are dramatic yet still retain a sense of sophistication that reflects regal African princesses with the strength and glamour of urban warrior chic.
…afroglam at its finest
For further information about Mickaël Kra visit:
Francine Vornese, Annette Braun. (2006). Mickaël Kra: Jewellery Between Paris Glamour and African Tradition. www.afribd.com