One day in Paris...
The Cleopatra's Bling team gathered in Paris for Fashion Week, and the Podcast was born
In February 2019 Olivia gathered together the Cleopatra's Bling team in Paris. Flying in from Florence was our master goldsmith and stone-setter Celeste. She arrived from the sunny countryside where our studios are located. They are in a rural area, a part of the traditional gold-smithing district of that region, a place that has hosted gold-working greats on its famed Ponte Vecchio for over 400 years. Arriving from Zurich, was Ella, who some of our readers may have exchanged emails with in the past. They were joined by Betina from Istanbul, who researches our newsletters and content relating to Turkey, and manages our production there. On any given day, Betina is running from the workshops of the Grand Bazaar to the studio where some of our finest handwork is done.
The team gathered in a sweeping apartment in Le Marais, which was proudly advertised as "sunny" and "with a piano". While none of us could tinkle the ivory, we did set about preparing the lounge as our salon for private solid gold customers; we decked it out in native flowers, large mother of pearl encrusted seashells, and herbal teas for our guests.
By day we would make the trip to the famed Gripoix jewellery store, in the heart of Paris, where our fashion week showroom took place. February can be cold and grey in Paris, but colourful clothes abounded as thousands of stylish individuals took to the streets for the city's celebration of fashion and design. Several days involved us running with croissants in one hand, coffee in the other, and jewellery clattering at our necks, wrists, ears, and fingers, to open the showroom for clients who were arriving earlier than expected, during a week in which everyone's schedules were jam-packed with meetings and the Cleopatra's Bling showroom was a must-visit location.
(Archival footage of the team on their way to the showroom, c. 2019)
These high pressure times meant some good decisions were made (see the podcast), and some questionable ones (a snap choice to get a mullet haircut by one member of the staff being one!)...
Between meetings with buyers from department stores we met with clients from around the world who came by to have the chance to see and touch Cleopatra's Bling jewels in person. Olivia is notoriously good at languages, and put her polyglot status to good use by switching between French, Italian, German, English, and Turkish at a pace that made everyone's heads spin. When some customers from South Korea came in, Ella attempted to do the same but luckily their English far surpassed her mumbled self-introductions in their native language!
In the evenings, over wine and food we cooked and shared with each other, the talk turned to the incredible cross-cultural influences that are a part of not only the history of Cleopatra's Bling, but each member of our team. Olivia pointed out that her inspirations as a designer stretch far beyond the borders of her homeland, in Australia, or the precise category of jewellery or fashion. They extend into poetry, history, art, dance, film, and architecture - and are connected to specific individuals who are experts in their field.
For Olivia, this is at the heart of what Cleopatra's Bling does. It is an attempt to move away from a concept of fashion that is fleeting and trend-based and to reconnect a love of beautiful things to a sense of community, shared knowledge, and a rootedness in broader culture. It is also a broadening of the idea of what it means to be a woman, that defies a societal categorisation as simply a Businessperson, a Mother, a Lover, an Artist. It is someone who can be all these things, only some of them, or any combination of different characteristics that defy narrow definition.
In order to share this with you, the team decided to launch a podcast. A regular show that could lift up some of these uncovered historical stories, delve deeply into myth and culture, help us find ways of applying ancient ideas into our modern lives, and celebrate the traditions of the cultures that the brand is inspired by.
We were lucky enough to be introduced, through our Barcelona-based graphic designer Jennifer, to Lory Martinez. At the celebratory party for our showroom, in between sips of champagne, we discussed our idea for the podcast with Lory, who is an accomplished podcast producer who combines nearly a decade of content production experience for radio, (NPR, UN Radio), publications (Bustle, PopSugar), podcasts (A Poêle, Dinner for One, A Different Tweed…)
Originally hailing from Queens, NYC, Lory is now Paris-based and running the podcast production company Studio Ochenta where she is dedicated to creating engaging content in French, English and Spanish. With all that experience under her belt we knew we could rely on her to find the perfect composer to create music that would represent all that Cleopatra's Bling is, organise and tape interviews, and edit each piece of compelling raw audio into a polished package for your ears.
A year - and much blood, sweat, and tears later - we are finally ready to bring you this first six episode season. We cannot wait for you to listen!
And since we're a few latte art influencers short, we want to hear back from you - our audience - to let us know your feedback on Season 1, and some guests you'd love to hear from, or stories you want uncovered in Season 2. Drop us a line on email or Instagram, or send us a rating or review on iTunes. It helps out a lot, and assists other people to find the show.
It's completely free and you can listen on an app that comes inbuilt on your Apple phone.
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