ABOVE: LYNN BAN IN NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 2013. STYLING: ELIN SVAHN. CAPE: ANN DEMEULEMEESTER. DRESS: RICK OWENS. ALL JEWELRY: LYNN BAN.
“She’s my type: empowered, strong, and dangerous,” says jewelry designer Lynn Ban of Rihanna, when asked about the sort of woman who inspires her. The pop megastar and her stylist, Mel Ottenberg, share the love; Rihanna once referred to the 41-year-old Ban as “fairy godmother” on Instagram and the name stuck. The New York-based Singaporean Ban first began to cast her spell in fashion with a curated vintage-clothing collection for Barneys New York. In 2011, she launched her own jewelry line, a natural extension of a style honed by her mother, who was a gemologist and collector. Bullets, beetles, handcuffs, razors, sickle blades, ankhs, crosses, and throwing stars are all featured, with white, black, or gray diamonds set in silver or black rhodium (“This black is very sensual and shiny,” Ban says). The cult Lynn Ban piece may be one of her first, a sculptural ring that hugs the hand. When worn in multiples, they look much like articulated armor. Her dramatic cuffs are also signature designs, including one with a gash exposing gemstones, another inspired by an industrial ship propeller.
For her next act, Ban plans to explore using more colored gemstones and working in 18-karat gold (so far reserved for special orders). For now, color is limited to jeweled guitars, smoking lips, and lightning bolts. But while there’s the tendency to dismiss a vintage fanatic-turned-jewelry designer as someone who mines and copies archives, Ban’s sensibility is so well refined that her references are often hybrid allusions. The lightning bolts were inspired by David Bowie’s 1973 album Aladdin Sane and the electric guitars by Prince, coupled with ’90s Gianni Versace Swarovski crystal dresses. “My jewelry is not your typical pretty,” says Ban. “There’s something a little bit naughty about it.”
COSMETICS: NARS, INCLUDING SHEER MATTE FOUNDATION IN MACAO, PRESSED POWDER IN BEACH, LARGER THAN LIFE LONG-WEAR EYELINER IN VIA VENETO, AND NIGHT SERIES EYESHADOW IN NIGHT BREED; MAC, INCLUDING NAIL LACQUER IN DARK ANGEL. HAIR PRODUCTS: BUMBLE AND BUMBLE, INCLUDING STYLING LOTION. HAIR: DENNIS DEVOY FOR BUMBLE AND BUMBLE/ART DEPARTMENT. MAKEUP: MARLA BELT/STREETERS LONDON. MANICURE: RACHEL SHIM/ABTP.SPECIAL THANKS: SHOOTDIGITAL STUDIOS.