by Zeva Bellel
For fifteen years Erik Halley has been handcrafting one-off pieces—triple-tiered shoulder pads encrusted with rhinestones and metal-spiked headphones—in his Parisian atelier for the best names in fashion, e.g. Lagerfeld, Yohji, Givenchy, Mugler, Dior, to name but a few.
His mischievously extravagant designs (headbands with doll faces painted like Kiss for example) blur the boundaries between accessories and art.
Halleyâs big break came in 1996 when Lagerfeld commissioned a collection of catwalk 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. A few years later, he became the first designer to ever stage an accessories runway show during fashion week in Paris.
From feather and metal to leather and crystal, 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.
âIâm a big surrealism fan,â says the designer whose lobster logo is a tribute to the movementâs favorite crustacean . âI love the madness of it and the freedom to do silly things.â
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 designs.
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 (feather earrings) and most recently Beyoncé (a crystal studded degradé bodice designed by Mugler), he does custom commissions for regular people with a flair for extravagance as well.
Prices start at €90, but the sky's the limit depending on design. To book appointments, contact me through my site.
See more images after the jump.