Meet Bouchier – the new-on-the-block fine jewellery label On Pedder has taken a serious shine to. The fun, adaptable, one-of-kind label is exactly what modern women want to wear now. It’s also a clear reflection of Bouchier designer Melinda Zeman’s own vibrant personality and unique heritage.
FOR THE THRILL OF IT
Here, we sit down with Melinda to talk about growing up in Hong Kong with a multi-cultural background, and her love for nineties R&B.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE NAME BOUCHIER?
“I always knew that I wanted a name that had an East meets West component to it as this really embodies who I am. Through sheer luck, I stumbled upon a man named Guillame Bouchier, a French goldsmith that travelled from Paris to the East in the 1200s, bringing Western craftsmanship and technique to the East. His story really resonated with me, especially since quality, craftsmanship and style are our core values. Hence the birth of Bouchier the brand.”
BOUCHIER STARTED ORGANICALLY FROM A FEW DESIGNS. CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT HOW THAT HAPPENED?
“I’ve been a jewellery enthusiast for as long as I can remember. Everywhere I travelled I would try to bring back a piece of jewellery as a memento. However, since having four children over the past few years we have travelled a lot less. I started to look for jewellery for myself in Hong Kong and found it hard to find pieces that represented who I was. Something that was fun, different, playful, and that can be worn and enjoyed every day but can also be dressed up and dressed down. So I decided to make my own. What originally started as a few pieces for myself became an entire collection.”
YOU HAVE A TRULY UNIQUE HERITAGE. CAN YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT THAT.
“I’ve been extremely lucky to grow up in Hong Kong, which is such a melting pot of different nationalities, cultures and religions. I’m Chinese, of Ghanaian descent, and also Jewish, which is really as multi-cultural as it gets! I went to an international school here in Hong Kong so I didn’t speak Chinese at school, but I only spoke Chinese at home, and I was raised by my grandmother who couldn’t speak a word of English. In hindsight, I am so grateful for that because it taught me to learn fluent Chinese.”
WHERE DID YOUR JEWISH BACKGROUND COME FROM, AND WHAT ROLE DOES THAT PLAY IN YOUR LIFE?
“My husband is Jewish so I converted to Judaism when I got married, because we wanted to raise our children in a Jewish household. I didn’t have any religion before I met him, and now after marriage and children I have such a deep appreciation for it. Judaism plays a huge part in our lives because it gives it a lot of structure, which I never really appreciated the importance of before having children. For example, there are certain foods we don’t eat. It’s amazing how when you’re consistent with something with children, how they really do learn boundaries. I wish I had told them that candy wasn’t kosher because that would have been extremely convenient! I think the Jewish and Chinese communities share a major similarity of placing importance on family. For Chinese families, there’s a whole week at Chinese New Year dedicated to visiting your extended relatives. For Judaism, we do a Shabbat dinner on Friday night – a tradition that has been passed down for centuries. Without fail, no matter what happens, the family is together on a Friday night for dinner. Traditions like that have become important to me.”
YOUR LOOKBOOK FEATURES LYRICS FROM R&B AND POP STARS FROM THE NINETIES AND EARLY NOUGHTIES. HOW HAS THAT INSPIRED YOUR DESIGNS?
“I grew up during the golden age of MTV in the nineties with bold colours, head to toe in loud matching fabrics, lots of bling, lots of gold, and chain necklaces for days. The opposite of minimalism in many ways. As a result, we love adding colour wherever we can as you can see in our signature enamel pieces. I believe many people also look back on the halcyon days of that era.”
Bouchier Jewelry: https://bouchierjewelry.com/
This interview has been edited for length. Read the original on https://www.onpedder.com.
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