You know why we like Ex Ovo? Precisely because it's outside of our comfort zone. It's usually day in, day out: precious gems, heavy metals, blah blah blah...but the sculptural aesthetic and unusual materials that designer Katrin Zimmerman brings to the table gets our motors running. We're talking leather, rubber, silver, plastic – components that can be used for applications far outside of traditional jewelry. Zimmerman's inspiration comes from her extensive travel and international background: she was born in Germany, and educated in Switzerland, England and China. After studying Chinese and Archaeology, she decamped to NYC in 1991 and has called the City home since then. Now based out of Harlem, Zimmerman bases her designs on both the Far East and the idea of reduction – paring down a design to its basic elements, whether it's stone or an essence. (We are not surprised that mega architect Zaha Hadid is a fan of Ex Ovo. This is no doubt a line admired by those who work in form and function.)
What's your idea of ultimate luxury?
TIME WITH MY DAUGHTER! That, and a vineyard in Umbria – well anywhere in Italy really, where I can stick my toes in the earth and grow stuff.
The gemstone you are currently lusting after is…
A big, overly high cabochon ruby that looks like a fat juicy gumdrop!
If you could have dinner with any artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Alberto Giacometti. His sculptures have been so influential in how I approach my design. I’m not sure how much he would say to me! We could eat a nice cheese fondue though, or goat cheese and Bündnerfleisch.
If you could buy any piece of contemporary jewelry from another CFDA member, what would it be?
Everything from everyone! Are you kidding? We all have sharp tools with us at all times! :)
Where's the last place you visited that inspired your creativity? Give us some details!
A street in East Harlem, where I saw a beautiful life-size flowering tree crocheted to a chain link fence. I’ve seen more pieces of what must be the same artist since, and I just love the whole concept of bringing out beauty anywhere. Just like what I’m trying to do.
If you could sit front row at any fashion show, what would it be and why?
Iris van Herpen. Love her work, her design philosophy, her technological wizardry, her uncompromising excellence! Also, that means I would be in Europe!
If you could be anything other than a jewelry designer, what would it be?
Ah – a professor of design. But then, I am that already too!
Be honest – who is your celebrity crush?
Obama! I just realized it last week, I have a serious crush on that man. Sorry, Michelle!
What's your spirit animal and explain why.
It is the bear. Grounded, protective, lumbering, but lightning quick when needed. Come too near my offspring, I’ll chew your head off. Sleeps LONG periods of time, and then wakes to intense beauty in spring. Cuddly too, and a bit overweight. Sigh.
What does it mean to you to be a member of CFDA?
It means being part of a community that appreciates and actively champions design. It means being appreciated in this crazy effort to make some beauty that lasts. It means that I have a chance to leave my industry a better place than I found it. It means I get to change the world!