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Stacey Chia
Urban, The Straits Times
Tuesday, Jun 24, 2014

7 things in her bag: Jeanette Maskrey

Urban, The Straits Times | Stacey Chia | Tuesday, Jun 24, 2014

London-based accessories designer Jeanette Maskrey.

She may not be as well known as fashion designers Karl Lagerfeld, Vivienne Westwood and Jason Wu, who have all collaborated with Brazilian jelly shoe brand Melissa, but Jeanette Maskrey's collections certainly shine the brightest.

Since 2003, the accessories designer has churned out 16 collections of shoes embellished with Swarovski crystals for the brand.

She was in town last week for a Melissa event. Her collaboration collection is available at B2-03 Wheelock Place. Prices are from $500 for a pair of peep-toe flats and $650 for a pair of sandals. Each pair comes with an extra packet of Swarovski crystals, in case those on the shoes need to be replaced.

"I think crystals bring out the princess in every woman," says the 46-year-old.

The London-based, Hong Kong-born designer began her career as a make-up artist in the 90s. She used to experiment with sticking crystal pieces on models to create temporary tattoos for magazine photoshoots.

Her work appeared in magazines such as Vogue, Elle, i-D and Dazed & Confused, which got the attention of top beauty brands. These brands, including Lancome and Estee Lauder, made orders for her skin jewellery to sell as part of their offerings.

This positive reception led to the launch of her brand J.Maskrey in 1999. Back then, only the self-adhesive skin accessories were available. Now, her product offerings also include sunglasses, kintwear and bags; which are all decorated with Swarovski crystals.

Prices range from $30 for skin jewellery to $3,000 for knitwear and are available on her website www.jmaskrey.com.

The skin jewellery designs range from butterflies to skulls and can last for about a week.

"I think I've always been attracted to sparkly things because of my mother. Growing up, I would sneak into her room and play dress up with her huge jewellery collection," she says.

Although the retail business has been good, she makes more through customised orders from fashion and beauty brands. She has a strong celebrity following.

Last year, she adorned a walking stick with crystals for singer Lady Gaga.

"She had just undergone an operation and could not walk properly, so her stylist called me to place an order," says Maskrey, who added walking sticks to her product offerings after that.

"I think some hip older people will like it, but I've sold only two so far." The walking stick costs about $3,000.

Another memorable creation was a skin jewellery design for Japanese artist Yoko Ono, bearing the name John, after her late husband John Lennon.

It seems that Maskrey's fan base is not just made up of women. Even the members of Irish band U2 - Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr - have worn her skin jewellery.

"But of course they don't wear it on their bodies. They put it on their jeans when they go on stage and I've done some pieces for their guitar straps," says Maskrey, who is in a relationship with a photographer.

These days, she says that her label takes up most of her time but she does make an exception to do make-up for U2. She has worked with the band for more than 10 years.

"They're like family and they're so easy to work with," she says.

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