The creative director talks Boudici, Van Eyck and the Queen.
"A start-up luxury jewellery company is a bit of an oxymoron,” jokes Ivonna Poplanska, as she poses in the Forest Room at London’s exclusive Hospital Club. But she is the creative director of just that: new London brand Boudici.
With a keen eye for colour and detail, Ivonna has carved out a stellar reputation as a designer during her 10 years in the industry, and winner her the role of creative director for diamond jeweller Van Eyck Jewelry in Hong Kong.
Things shifted up a gear for Ivonna in 2012 when her Eternal Dove brooch design won the British Jewellers’ Association’s Diamond Jubilee competition, and ended up decorating Her Majesty the Queen’s Christmas Day ensemble.
In the years since, she has racked-up commissions from other leading dignitaries and international royals, before being tasked with designing a 90ct diamond necklace. Staying true to her elegant aesthetic, Ivonna admits: “Despite the amazing carat weight the piece is not at all gaudy. It has a restrained power, elegance and femininity. It is among my best work.”
When she’s not travelling or representing Boudici at trade events, Ivonna can be found at her Southbank offices happily refusing to take a day off. “It might sound severe but this discipline has coincided with the greatest successes of my career.”
Sitting alongside her is her partner Theo, who she describes as her “biggest inspiration”. “We’re both what you might call binge workers. Neither of us is afraid to go without food, drink, sleep, weekends, holidays or Netflix when there’s work to be done. He’s the most productive person I know, and we try to bring out the best in each other.”
With the put-together air of someone who leaves nothing to chance, it’s perhaps surprising to hear Ivonna talk of industry competitions with such enthusiasm. Her advice to young designers is to enter every contest, explaining “even if you don’t win every single one, you will meet some great people along the way”.
She reveals she had won five competitions, been shortlisted for dozens and entered hundreds of awards before she won the BJA’s Diamond Jubilee competition. “The relationships I made during those competitions have been invaluable in my career,” she says.
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