During our busy week packed with shows in Berlin, we were lucky to get an exclusive interview with the chief designer of Thomas Sabo, Susanne Kölbli. Due to her exceptional style, which is characterized by highly authentic, unique creations, Susanne Kölbli contributed to the tremendous success story of the brand. Since beginning of the ’90s, the creative spirit behind the brand is responsible for design and corporate identity of the jeweler label. Being significant for her creations is her huge range of innovative ideas, humour and her exceptional talent for aesthethics and trends. Needless to mention, we couldn’t wait to meet her.
Scroll down for our exclusive interview with the famed designer.
How can the typical Thomas Sabo wearer be characterized?That typical wearer does not exist and it’s also not my aim that he or she exists. A stereotyped thinking does not fulfill the complexity of which a piece of jewelry appeals to a person. It is all about emotions, which are awakened, associations, which are highly personal and completely different. What can we say for sure though is that who wants Thomas Sabo, wants Thomas Sabo. The label is always part of the buying process. The affinity to a certain brand should never be underestimated. For that bond, the price is not the main point.
Is it more relevant to fulfill dreams or to create wearable pieces?Both factors are very important: each piece of jewelry embodies emotions and moreover the pieces should affect an universal, wearable liking- that can create a bonding between people. But jewelry is simply private. The most people are buying it or get it gifted for the most important people in their lifes. May it be for a wedding, an anniversary or a birth-jewelry always delivers emotions. At the same time it is highly individual. Likewise a fragrance, it completely has to fit to the person. Therefore it really matters for me to create jewelry that totally fits to the personality of the wearer and can be worn at any occasion as a favourite piece to any look.
Do you have any favourite piece of your current collection?I am highly thrilled about the big, eye- catching trinkets of the artificially manufactured and splendid Royalty series. In this collection, we play with Victorian- inspired designs, typical royal colour combinations and settings- implemented in creations of highest expressiveness.
Monochrome or colour explosion?That depends. Tendentially monochrome, colour is used specifically, for instance to break up a look, for example with an intense turquoise. I’m wearing plenty of my pieces regularly, and there are others which I add depending my daily outfit.
What was the best advice you ever received?You have to be able to laugh about everything. A twinkle in your eye makes life in all its different facets as thrilling, interesting and amusing.
In terms of booking a model, does the presence in social media really plays a central role? Or are numbers of followers overrated?Not necessarily, but it changes the work. In previous decades, trends have been defined more clearly and that most of the times due to magazines. That was printed in black and white. Nowadays it is more complex and it is harder to recognize a distinct boundary, but rather the momentary picture. I do think we have it slightly easier with jewelry than labels that produce clothing. Jewelry is highly personal and is not bought as a fashion accessoire, but way more as a memory for certain moments in life. And such pieces last longer than trends. Those emotions, affections and friendships last forever.
How important is it for you to come to rest and how do you come to rest?Very important! A completely awake, balanced and healthy spirit depends on a well- balanced life. I consciously take time to rest- may it be with yoga, meditation, walks or in my kitchen.
Big city or small city?The energy of a big city is exciting, inspiring, it offers a lot of possibilities, however it can be exhausting. Job- wise I’d say big city. In my private life I am very happy in a small city, as long as it is not narrow- minded.
Rational or emotional? Emotional.
We experienced Susanne Kölbli as a highly authentic, charismatic and creative person. Of course we will keep an eye on all her upcoming creations for Thomas Sabo, find more at www.thomassabo.com.
Originally published in DESIGN SCENE Magazine July 2017 issue, get your copy.