Tell us about splitting your time between New York and Bali.
HOLLIE BONNEVILLE BARDEN: I joined John Hardy two years ago and moved from London to New York, which was an easy kind of adjustment.
The bigger adjustment and the more exciting one is the Bali side of the brand. I split my time between New York and Bali which, is what I call my yin-yang lifestyle. You get the intensity and impulses of New York but then Bali is completely different. My home is in New York now but, I spend about 30 percent of my time if not more in Bali.
I’ll go to Bali every few months and it’s amazing. When I haven’t been for a while I’ll get itchy feet to get back there. It’s just a very different culture but, also a different energy that you get there.
Being a city dweller, do you find it challenging to transition back to the Balinese countryside?
HBB: I’m used to living in the city but, I also grew up in the countryside. So from a personal side, I do like peace and tranquility as well. It’s a source of everything that we do. It’s the heart and soul of the brand. All of my design team are there, the production is there. When I’m there there’s a different creative dynamic. Everyday collaborating with the designers and being able to walk up to the workshop to see the progress verses receiving photographs as when I’m in New York. … I guess I need both.
When I’m in Bali, I need to get back to New York because you sort of miss out on the side where you’re connected to the clients and the retail experience. The merchandisers and the rest of the executive team are all based out of the New York office. I think both are very integral with the brand.
Does your approach differ from John Hardy?
HBB: John wanted to create bold, amazing powerful jewelry but, he also wanted to harness the traditional [Balinese] techniques. My approach has been similar. I wanted to celebrate and utilize all those techniques but, at the same time bring something that’s relevant and modernized.
My style is naturally fluid but I always try to balance it with a strength and a power.
My collections at De Beers always spoke about power and grace. That’s always been my philosophy … I brought balance. Recognizing the strength of the brand and the power of the jewelry but at the same time also recognizing its fluidity and sensuality.
What has changed since you took the reins at John Hardy?
HBB: [My appreciation for] the classic chain. Before I knew the brand, honestly, I didn’t appreciate classic chain as I do today. I thought it felt very dated and heavy. It didn’t resonate with me until I actually touched it and experienced it. I realized what a beautiful technique it was, how beautiful it was, how fluid it can be. There is a playfulness with it. I’m seeing things differently now.
Jenn continues the conversation with Hollie Bonneville Barden, here.