Despite Holloow designer Tetsuya Uejima of Ken Blood fame supposedly releasing his A/W 2011-12 collection as part of last Japan Fashion Week, he has kept the actual work under wraps (outside of a literal handful of publicity pictures) apparently till the last moment when it will actually start hitting retail later this year.  Rest assured that when it does I will be first in line to see it, but till then I thought I would delve deep into his vintage back catalogue and give you a thorough grounding on why I think he is one of the best examples of quality fashion jewelry in the business.

I grew up in the UK on a silver diet provided by Vivienne Westwood (when it was still being made of silver courtesy of the Great Frog), the Great Frog themselves and of course Crazy Pig Designs.  There was a definite divide between those silver jewelry brands and the fun disposable fashion jewelry pack back then and apart from a handful of incidents when designers like Galliano would cross over and make rock / biker jewelry for their collections, there were precious few moments when a “real” silversmith would make something fun and fashiony.  Which is precisely why it was such a revelation to see Holloow’s work in Japan for the first time, here there was bright colours, over the top paving, ironic pop-culture references, but made of sterling silver and with stones that weren’t lazily glued in.  Add to that a bit of quality and quirky design and Holloow quickly became one of the biggest and fastest success stories in Japan and he didn’t even have to rip-off a Chrome Hearts design in the process!

Anyway, I thought I would see how his work has weathered over the years and see if it has the timeless cool that good silver jewelry should have and fashion jewelry tends not to.  I think the most pronounced dating is in the excessive use of paving that was all the rage back in the mid 2000s, but even that is not totally without its charm.

I am still on the look-out for a couple of key designs for my collection and it is clear that I am not alone as Holloow is one of the most keenly traded in the vintage shops of Tokyo.

Even though you would not find me wearing this I am a huge fan of the craft involved in making something like this.  Usually you might expect this to be put out in white gold and diamonds by a huge jewelry house, but Holloow places it nicely in the no man’s land between fast fashion and ludicrously expensive (especially for the subject matter!).

This is one of my favorite designs – it is satisfyingly chunky and there is something that little bit menacing about the horses expression (!) that gives it a touch of credibility.

For the price the detail and quality of paving really can’t be beat – amazing stuff.

This is a very early design and while you can see the quirky fashion leanings, you can see his background as a silversmith coming through.

Into the bling!  The clock-face spins for the record…

I heard you like bling so I put some bling behind some bling…

Even without the glassess the lion still looks quite quizzical!

This in black?  Yes, please.  Pyramid stud paving was really popular in the mid 2000s thanks to Velvet Lounge and I really wish I had picked something up back then.

So there you go, some classic Holloow.  You can still see his late 2000s work over on the official Homepage and hopefully I will cross paths with most of these classic designs when I have the yen that I didn’t have the first time around!  Wish me luck.

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4 Responses to Vintage Holloow

  1. SaffronSugar says:

    I adore the carousel horse pendant, and the pendant with the pavé arm. I’m not a huge fan of pavé jewellery, but when it’s done like this I actually like it! I guess the high street chains have just overdone it to the point where one forgets that it actually CAN be done well.

  2. Samuel says:

    @ SaffronSugar

    Glad you like it too! I think black stones work really well as to be perfectly honest it is really hard to tell the difference between well set black zirconia and black diamonds. I think whatever the stone it comes down to the setting and a cheap off balance setting will always look cheap and if they are just glued in then you are just playing the waiting game till it falls off completely, ruining the item in the process.

  3. Sami says:

    Oh man, I need the hipster lion in my life! XD

  4. Samuel says:

    @ Sami

    Holloow also did at Hipster skull in their 2007 collection, as you have probably guessed the designer wears his glasses with pride (like me!).

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