Disrupters. Instigators. Trailblazers. Rule breakers. However the world chooses to label those who venture outside of what society deems ‘proper’ or ‘normal’, one thing is clear: the universe is in dire need of more of them.
Colette Marie Neyrey, founder and designer of Los Angeles-based jewellery brand Maison Coco, is no stranger to disruption. As the former executive style director at David Yurman, Neyrey has seen firsthand how the rule breakers of the world can come out not only ahead, but with enough room to turn around and flip off those who tried their best to hold them back.
One look at her Instagram feed is enough to give curious jewellery lovers a taste of the woman behind the label; one who is empowered and fearless, who mixes her love of art, sensuality, design and colour with a bad-ass attitude, four-letter words and the occasional tequila/cigar combo. But how exactly does she pick her poison with so many brands of agave nectar to select from?
“I choose my tequila with the same intent as I choose my jewellery,” she says. “It all depends on my guilty pleasures of the day. When feeling fierce, I go with Casa Dragones Blanco tequila. When feeling adventurous, creative and humorous, I go with Tres Anejo. And when I’m feeling rebellious, I’ll drink anything that can proof 150 and bites f*ckin’ hard.”
Reinventing the past
The eclectic, edgy adornments Neyrey creates and sells under the Maison Coco label are largely reflective of the designer herself. Her designs are made up of multiple vintage and antique jewels, or parts of jewels, which have been “around the block” and are likely accompanied by fascinating stories about what each item has witnessed along its journey through time. Many of the Maison Coco designs are crafted using pieces to which Neyrey feels a deep connection.
“I’m always on the hunt,” states the designer, who recently spoke about her design process at The Jewellery Cut Live. “There is an incredible amount of antique jewelry in the world, but for me, as I have a specific design aesthetic and language, finding the right piece is extremely challenging. I have always felt that by inheriting a piece from history, you have the power to continue its story by bringing the past into the present, maintaining its beauty, and preserving the authenticity of something so unique. But it’s also very important that I always stay true to my artistic and creative expression.”
In terms of the materials, Neyrey plays with a variety that she connects to, giving the jewellery its own unique personality. “I use both precious and semi-precious gems and materials from all eras,” she says. “I do lean towards classical forms using rich regal colours, layered with a bit of rock ‘n’ roll rebellion.”
Maison Coco’s debut collection, Secret Société, not only offers up complexities through its unusual composition of antique and vintage components, each one-off piece also hides a secret message. And those messages are secret for a reason – each one is risqué enough to make your grandmother blush and will most likely include sexual references she won’t get. Some are more obvious than others, such as a heavy gold bracelet with onyx blocks on which bejewelled letters spell out U SEXY MOTHAFUKA. Others use an almost acrostic language of gemstones, symbols and letters to ensure that while its owner will get the messages of sexual innuendo, rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle and highly sassy declarations of admiration and adoration, polite society won’t.
“Once a member of Maison Coco’s Secret Société, the message becomes so f*ckin’ clear,” says Colette. “Let’s just say, #POA.” With the ‘P’ in this case being Perception On Application, rather than Price.
Bold jewels for bold women
Maison Coco jewellery is currently available in the US at the Beverly Hills’ Neiman Marcus and posh Los Angeles art gallery and clothing boutique Just One Eye (amongst a handful of other locations), as well as in the UK at London’s famed multi-brand luxury retailer Dover Street Market, where it has been selling out since its arrival last year. “The Maison Coco customer is a reflection of me,” says Neyrey. “They certainly have something to say, with a strong point of view and need to be heard. This is a client who is confident and independent, never wanting to blend in, yet not afraid to stand out while presenting their own individual and personal style.”
As for how Colette feels about the role a social media channel such as Instagram plays in today’s sometimes overly connected world? “Instagram is a great social platform for engagement,” she says. “It allows me to connect with my following and at the same time to give a visual presentation of my lifestyle.”
One can only imagine the type of life that a woman such as Colette Marie Neyrey has experienced up to this point with all that she’s accomplished and experienced, but for this unapologetically strong, hellraiser of a human being, it isn’t so much about the past as it is about what’s yet to come. “I dream big and see a very powerful future,” she says. “So, stay f*ckin’ tuned.”
Maison Coco founder and designer Colette Marie Neyrey
Maison Coco SEX rings
Maison Coco Queen B. Queen Bitch earrings
Maison Coco Lit As F#cK ring
I have always felt that by inheriting a piece from history, you have the power to continue its story by bringing the past into the present, maintaining its beauty, and preserving the authenticity of something so unique. But it’s also very important that I always stay true to my artistic and creative expression