Thalassa Familia r is the new brand from Akiko Tanaba who silver jewelry aficionados will know as being the head designer at Bloody Mary and Konron between 1999-2009. She is a designer I have an awful lot of time for, not only is she the only female Japanese designer of note, but her work with Bloody Mary was the only Japanese led brand to challenge the American masters such as Chrome Hearts, Bill Wall, Starlingear, Gabor and Travis Walker during the 2000s. I remember showing some Bloody Mary and Konron work to Paterson Riley – the designer of the Great Frog on Carnaby street back in the day (before his son took over) and he literally could not believe how clean and precise the work was. When you stop a man who has been making silver for decades in his tracks, you are probably doing something right.
Having said that, despite how impressed I am with Thalassa Familia r’s early work, it still feels like a young brand. The work may be perfect in every way, but because it is so simular to what she did at Konron and Bloody Mary that it just doesn’t quite have a distinct identity yet (ironic though that may be). Either way, the best thing about it being a young brand is that they are still small enough to have a close personal relationship with their customers and if you pop along to their Daikanyama flagship, not only can you choose stones, change chains, etc, but they are also more than happy to take on complete custom work for you from the ground up.
This is the approach that she is hoping will define the new brand – working directly with people to create jewelry rather than the faceless monolith so many hugely successful brands become. Together with the ex-manager of the Bloody Mary brand, fashion designer Chiyuki Asano (who makes amazing dresses for the elite Ginza hostesses) and illustrator Kana Shinmachi, they are a formidable creative force and it will be interesting to see how they go on from here.
For now indulge yourself in their current work:
The scales and Neo-Japanism touches clearly mark this one out as being designed by Akiko Tanabe, but the vibrant cabochons keep it fresh.
The work is minimalist and altogether more feminine than here past work at presence and therefore less likely to appeal to me! Still, I do really appreciate the craft here and I hope you do too.
Having said that – this will do nicely!
A nice bit of gold gilding on silver – real gold is available on request.
The other feature that marks this brand as distinct is the use of natural stone beads in the necklaces and bracelets:
And there you have it, I would be interested to see what fellow fans of the Bloody Mary brand think of this so feel free to get in touch through the comments or by email (as a surprising amount of people choose to do!).
To see more of Thalassa Familia r’s beautiful, feminine Neo-Japanism world view then head on over to the official homepage and stay tuned for more Japanese silver on Tokyo Telephone very soon.