MAY 2010
by Juliet Hutton-Squire

Celebrating the natural world raw magnificence



Dandi Maestre’s passion for design began at a young age and resulted in her achieving early success after graduating with honours from the School of Visual Arts in New York and receiving The School of Visual Arts Rhodes Family Award for Outstanding Achievement in Media Arts. A career in graphic design followed and soon Dandi owned her own company in her native Colombia. After moving to Toronto and having two children, Dandi began exploring a new side of her inner creativity. In 2007 her first jewellery collection was born and it immediately captured the attention of Holt Renfrew in Canada. Within months, prominent designers and fashion stylists were in awe of Dandi’s jaw-dropping pieces, each one hand-made and one of a kind, combining the most beautiful natural materials and designed in a powerful, pure and unexpected aesthetic.

Dandi continues to be inspired by the beauty that is found in nature, from shed antlers to horn, and rare shells to coconuts, amber and driftwood. Her pieces are a celebration of the natural world’s raw magnificence: a tagua nut transformed by Dandi becomes a ring you simply do not want to take off. A series of coral pieces harmoniously created with black horn rings become a necklace so unusual in its composition, you know you have a piece of art around your neck. In her essence that is what Dandi Maestre is about.

Dandi was short-listed for the Ethical Fashion Forum’s Innovation Award in September last year.

Read our Q&A with the eponymous Dandi Maestre:

1. Diamonds or Pearls?
I just started working with irregular pearls mixed with simpler, recycled materials like horn and reclaimed wood.

2. Leather or lace?
Soft, natural, textured leather, for sure.

3. One thing we would never guess about you.
I studied graphic design but never imagined I could be so happy doing anything else. I did not know I had the courage to do it. Reinventing myself has been the best and most daring thing I have done with my life. It is very rewarding each day.

4. What inspires you?
Individuality, uniqueness.

5. Your seasonal ‘must- have’?
My huge magical charms (made of bull horn, amber, antlers, nuts).

6. Favourite City?
The forest.

7. A book you would recommend?
‘A Life of Picasso’ by John Richardson.

8. Most treasured piece of jewellery?
A real gold, pre-Columbian pendant I received from my parents when I graduated from college.

9. Favourite item of clothing?
A fur vest I made from a vintage coat.

10. A pearl of wisdom.
Reinvent yourself daily and enjoy it.