Jewelry designer Maripol on Fiorucci, Grace Jones, and Madonna
A bundle of French energy, Maripol whirled into New York city in 1976, and soon began assisting photographer Jean-Paul Goude. Finding gaps in available accessories, she began designing her own jewelry, which was spotted by Fiorucci shortly thereafter. They not only ordered her earrings, but sent her on a trip around the world to research a line of jewelry. That led to the formation of a Hong Kong manufacturing company.
The original model for her popular rubber bracelets was Grace Jones, in 1977. “My concepts is really junk jewelry, mass media,” says Maripol. “A rubber bracelet today is like the mood ring of the ‘60s.” But she isn’t bitter about the plastic knock-offs found on every street vendor in Manhattan. “I’m not flattered because the quality is so bad,” she says, “but I’m not worried either. They don’t have any more ideas, and I do.” In 1982 she formed her new company, Maripolitan P.O.L., and this year signed a licensing deal with Madonna for a line of jewelry. “I believe in mass market, very low prices. I want every kid who loves Madonna to be able to afford something, to feel like they’re buying a little bit of her.” Maripol now has backing for the first time and looks forward to being able to concentrate solely on the creative end of the business. “It’s time for me to move on to a bigger level,” she says, “and not to have to take care of every detail. Now that the production end it being taken care of and my jewelry is in stores, I can focus on new ideas.”
A longtime habituee of New York nightclubs, from the Mudd Club to The Reggae Lounge, Maripol is a natural candidate for innovative rock ‘n’ roll design. She was the artistic director and executive producer of New York Beat, and her jewelry can be seen in numerous videos, as well as on magazine covers and in advertisements. She would like to get into merchandising with other rock stars and has been approached by several. “My dream would be to design for David Bowie,” she says. “I’d like to do big pins for him, brooches. He’s the cultural translator of our time, an eternal youth. Sometimes I wonder if he’s even human.”