My love of Deer Arrow is no secret. I have adored their pieces since my very first brooch collecting days. I’ve always been particularly drawn to their portraits. I love their expressions, their accessories, and not to forget their (often) bright and colourful hair!
I was so excited when Phoebe and Lauren announced that they were going to do another collaboration with the talented Gemini H. You may recall that she was the designer of the first Deer Arrow portrait range a couple of years ago. One of my all-time most favourite brooches, Valentine, is a result of that first magical collaboration.
Valentine. Image from the Deer Arrow website.
As the sneak peeks of the new range of portraits began to be released, I was ecstatic! Such amazing pieces were coming and if I was lucky, I might just manage to grab a few of them. The first pieces to really catch my eye were the Sailors – Eleanor and Freddie. Such perfect old Hollywood glamour in their features and the hints of their clothing. And add to that my love of anything nautical - I knew that they were on my “I’ll just die if I don’t own them” want list.
Freddie (top) and Eleanor (bottom). Images from the Deer Arrow website.
As usual, they are both a nice size. They make a great statement on their own, or if you can find an outfit with a big enough collar, they make a bold statement as a pair.
Now, if you’re anything like me, you have often wanted to know a bit more about Gemini H. From reading about her on her website and Instagram, I knew that she was French and now lives in Korea, but I wanted to know more! How is it that she can design such beautiful pieces? How did she come to collaborate with Deer Arrow? Where does she get her inspiration from? I figured that the best way to find these things out, was to be brave and contact her to find out. I can honestly say that she is absolutely lovely and when I asked if she would mind answering a few questions for my blog she said yes!!
So here is my virtual interview with the delightful Gemini H. J
How long have you been an illustrator and designer? Have you had any training, or are you self-taught?
It sounds a bit cliche but I’ve always drawn, I graduated as a fashion designer (even if it’s not what I wanted to do) so I learnt to sew and about costume history but not to draw, that came with time, effort and perseverance. I started doing illustrations full time I should say 5 years ago when I came to Korea, that sounded like a new start for me.
I first fell in love with your designs a few years ago when you collaborated with Deer Arrow in their first portrait range. How did that initial collaboration come about?
I found Deer Arrow on Instagram via the page of a pinup instagrammer and I sent them a quick and simple sketch asking if they would be interested to use it and develop a brooch from it and they actually loved it and asked me to design our first collection. That tiny sketch was Carmen. Moral? Don’t be afraid to ask, they might say no (and that’s not the end of the world) but they also might accept....and that’s what happened.
Carmen. Image from the Deer Arrow website.
What was the inspiration behind your latest collaboration with Deer Arrow? Do the three of you brainstorm ideas together, or do you design a range of portraits and they choose which ones to make, or does it work some other way?
For the last collaboration Deer Arrow came with a detailed list of portrait ideas, some of them had to be redefined later and adjusted according to the image and the style of their brand. Sometimes if the portrait had too many features then we decide to develop 2 different portraits instead of 1. The great thing about our collaborations is that they leave me quite free, of course then it needs to be turned into a brooch so they need to take some liberty from the original drawing to make it as pretty as possible but they always have the kindness to let me know about the alterations. Respecting each other’s work is the key for a good collaboration :)
When you're designing pieces like Eleanor and Freddie, are you inspired by real people? Fictional characters? Or is it pure imagination?
I’m a huge fan of old musical, one of my fav is « on the town » with Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra, when Deer Arrow told me they needed a sailor I knew what he would look like. For Eleanor, she came from imagination but my head is full of pictures from old Hollywood so does it really count as pure imagination?
Do you have a favourite piece from the latest collection?
I love « the artist » Claudine and she is French! I’m gonna wear it everyday. She was not planned. Her outfit was for the sailor girl but she turned to be too sassy and too frenchy and that was not going in the right direction so we decided to make another portrait of a French artist and Claudine was born.
Claudine. Image from the Deer Arrow website.
How does it feel when you see so many 'broochies' going crazy for your designs?
You know this feeling when you were at school and you had a good score at your exam and you totally didn’t expect it, that moment where you could almost dance on a table in front of all students..?...well got this kind of excitement and happiness that I can’t control..... of course. Each Deer Arrow release needs a small victory dance.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
A HUGE thank you to Deer Arrow team for trusting me and for giving me this first opportunity few years ago.... and to all the broochies that keep supporting Deer Arrow and my work.
So there you go folks. How interesting was that?
I hope you’ve enjoyed the photos and learning a little bit from behind the scenes of some of my favourite Deer Arrow pieces!
Brooches | Deer Arrow
Dress | Bettie Page Clothing
Photography | Imagine Studios
HMUA | Style by Divine
Earrings | Revere Folie
Hair Flower | Borrowed
Shoes | Melissa
Bag | Review Australia
Bangles | Splendette
Petticoat | Laurina Jean Retro