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Spring 2016: Behind the Design

Today I’m interviewing Giang Doan and Johanna Robinson, two of the inspiring women who are behind our latest collection of Artisan-made jewelry and accessories. Giang leads Noonday’s product team and Johanna is one of our talented designers. Peek into the design room to see how we collaborate with our Artisan Partners to bring the latest trends to you!


Spring 2016 Cover

Noonday Collection collaborates with Artisans across the globe to create two new collections every year. Tell us more about Noonday’s unique design process.

Giang: When we begin work on a new collection, we start by curating inspiration. We look at trends on the runways and we travel to markets in New York and Las Vegas to see how different brands are interpreting these trends.

Johanna: Two of the contemporary designers we love to follow are Mara Hoffman and Isabel Marant.

Giang: Early in the design process, we develop a few creative concepts. Johanna and Sarah, who also works on the design team, curate images and develop color stories. We then share these creative concepts with our Artisan Partners – this is an important part of our Collaborative Design process.

Johanna: For Spring 2016, we focused on two concepts: Safari and Femme de Jour. As we start to design new styles, we have these concepts in mind – but we’re also thinking about creating pieces our customers will love to wear!

I am imagining a Safari in Kenya or Uganda. How do you translate a natural landscape into jewelry?

Spring 2016 Safari Concept

Johanna: This inspiration is all about our world-traveling customer! We are thinking about a girl who loves eclectic, exotic details. She is not afraid to wear a big statement piece or try a bold color.

For spring, our statement pieces are inspired by nature. These pieces are made with interesting materials: seeds, wood, water buffalo horn, hammered brass and paper beads in natural colors.

Giang: The juxtaposition between natural materials and metal feels modern. These pieces are meant to highlight their handcrafted details. They look great styled with neutral colors like khaki, grey and blush pink.

Johanna: We also love pairing these neutrals with a pop of cobalt blue or turquoise. I love the new Captivate Cuff from Peru – the stone accent on the end of the cuff is a trend that we’re seeing a lot.

And then there’s Femme du Jour. What inspired you to bring out Noonday’s softer, more romantic side?

Spring 2016 Femme Du jour

Johanna: This concept was initially inspired by Contempt, one of my favorite movies from the sixties that stars Bridget Bardot. I love filmmaker John-Luc Godard’s leading ladies! As we developed this concept, we thought about what a girl might wear in Paris.

Giang: The inspiration is fun, feminine and pretty, but juxtaposed with a modern edge. It’s classic styling in a nonchalant way. The color story is fresh: bright red mixed with navy, with a pop of mint and dusted rose pink.

Johanna: The pieces inspired by the Femme De Jour concept have sweet, unexpected details – like the tiny pearl on the Navigation Necklace and the dainty heart on the Sea Change Necklace.

What are some of the Spring 2016 trends you are excited about?

Giang: On the runways, we are seeing a lot of chunky necklaces and big earrings.

Johanna: But at the markets, we are seeing a lot of delicate layering – everything is becoming a lot smaller.

Giang: When it comes to earrings, studs are a big trend. We’re excited to introduce two new geometric stud styles into the line: the Illusion Earrings made with horn and metal in Vietnam and the Solitaire Studs made with tagua seeds in Ecuador.

Johanna: We are also seeing a lot of chandelier earrings with a stud instead of a hook. They feel more modern. We embraced this trend with the Flight of Fancy Earrings.

Giang: Another trend is long, shoulder-dusting earrings – like our new Comet Earrings and Tapestry Earrings. These would be perfect with a drop shoulder tee.

Last spring you traveled to Vietnam to work with our Artisan Partners on developing some new materials. What is special about our latest pieces made in Vietnam?

Marble Pendant NecklaceGiang: I love the new Vietnam pieces that feature natural stone, metal and bone. Marble is a new material for Noonday – and I’m excited to bring it into the line. The Marble Pendant Necklace looks really rich. This necklace is made by Artisans from three villages who collaborate to execute something really on trend.

Johanna: Our Artisan Partners in Vietnam are so innovative. They are always ready to experiment with new materials and to overcome challenges. The Etched Marble Bracelet is one of my favorite new pieces – I love the combination of the feminine details and the edgy closure.

Have you had the opportunity to travel to collaborate with any other Artisans this last year?

Giang: Last December, we travelled to India to visit our Artisan Partners. Visiting the Artisans who make the Wayfarer Necklace was very inspiring. Their workshop is amazing – and you can feel how they live and breathe fair trade as soon as you walk in. Most of what this Artisan Business produces is very basic, but their ability to interpret Johanna’s design is a testament to their desire to push themselves forward.

Johanna: I love the Revelry Earrings. The metal on these earrings makes them feel more substantial. And I love the matte metal finish. The earrings add a fun pop of color and a little touch of gold – perfect for dressing up casual style.

Another piece that is really easy to just throw on, or to layer with other things, is the Dreamer Necklace. Sham is the Artisan in India who runs the workshop where this piece is made. We visited this workshop where he works side by side with around 40 Artisans, most of whom are women. Sham’s workshop makes the Dreamer Necklace and the Ruby Wrap Bracelet, an intricately designed bracelet I love for spring.

Noonday’s Spring Collection features some gorgeous new bags. Tell us about one of your favorite new styles.

Great Escape Block Print Bag

Johanna: I have to tell you about the Great Escape Bag. This is a new shape for us. The way the bag is constructed feels really sophisticated. The print on the outside of the bag is hand block printed. The blocks used in creating this special textile are super cool – they are giant. It was amazing to see Artisans working on this piece. Plus the leather on it is gorgeous!

What are you must-haves from the new collection?

2016 Spring Picks in Silver

Johanna: My picks are the easy, casual layering pieces. I love the Half Moon Necklace and the the Tasseled Charm Necklace. I would pair these with the Papel Picado Cuff. And every girl needs the Simplicity Hoops!

2016 Spring Picks in Gold

Giang: I love the new Kenya pieces – especially the Hammered and Angled Brass Cuffs. The clean, geometric lines are easy to wear and go with anything. You can stack them up and create more of an impact!

You can shop the new Spring 2016 Collection right now. Or gather your friends at a Trunk Show to discover your own must-haves – all while changing the world!