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GENERATION TOMORROW:
BEEPY BELLA

Feel the fantasy in Isabella Lalonde’s jewellery-dripping fairyland.

Jump into our new series featuring fresh faces who are on the way to define the sounds and aesthetics of the, not so distant, future. The cultural revolution is happening now. We don’t want you to miss any of it. Let’s push boundaries together.

Beepy Bella is more than a jewellery brand. For Isabella Lalonde, a fairy godmother and mastermind behind it, it’s an embodiment of her hand-crafted utopia fuelled on fun and experimental fantasies. A universe ruled by magical mysticism and natural symbolism where our childhood wishes are finally granted. It’s quite a big scope for an imagination like Anne of Green Gables would say. Though decades and worlds apart, Anne and Isabelle are soulmates. What Anne was fascinated by, Isabelle made in her NYC-based studio, collaborating with other creatives and comparing mythologies. 

Since 2019, Isabella has pushed boundaries between jewellery and art, surrealism and functionality when working with diverse mediums, both digital and physical. She wants to fix the wrongs of the commercial industry, shift focus to craftsmanship and innovation in her practice. In Beepy Bella’s dimension, the trees will talk back to you and fairies are real. Over lockdown, the brand blew up and suddenly everyone wanted to escape into this cotton candy, cottagecore reality. Among the most dedicated fans, there’s plenty of celebrities from Grimes, who wore butterfly ring to this year’s Met Gala, Bella Hadid, Dua Lipa to Pete Davidson.  

As if taken out of Salvador Dali’s paintings, Beepy Bella’s designs are bouncing off anything absurd and grotesque. Isabella was the one to start the colourful, form-flexing revolution before the streets caught on the trend and the craze for copycats has begun. It doesn’t matter though. Isabella’s imagination knows no limits. Today, it’s a meadow of mushrooms and pearls, tomorrow something completely else. For Isabelle Lalonde, only one thing is a constant: boundless creativity. 

What is Beepy Bella? 

It’s a universe. It’s a fruitful, boundless world of imagination where anyone is free to interpret it as they wish. Every voice is valued and heard especially creatively. I think about it as an ecosystem or a living breathing movement that we’re all part of: the artists I work with, the creatives that collaborate with. My background is in fine arts so I’m always really obsessed with working with other artists and making sure that shows through the product. 

Your designs are balancing on a verge of surrealism and functionality, how would you describe your aesthetic? 

It’s experimental. I’m not really held back by past projects I’ve done. I’m always on a voyage to discover new methods and new forms of design and different ways I can marry two unconventional objects and make them functional. A lot of my work is actually not considering the visual outcome but more so the process behind the scenes. For instance, the hair clips that I made. We had all these leftover beads in my studio and hair clips from a really old project in quarantine. I was getting so frustrated because I hate having leftover materials around. Some of the pearls weren’t usable. They had messed up holes. I didn’t want to just throw these out because I paid for them, someone worked to get them to me. That shouldn’t be wasted so put them on hair clips and made this art collage with them. My aesthetic is more in the unprecedented outcome of my process. 

What was the highlight in your career so far? 

There’s been a few. I personally have always loved Grimes’s music so when she wore my stuff the first time it was awesome. She worked for that new TV show ‘Alter Ego’ and then she decided that she wanted to keep the pieces and wear the rings all the time. That’s really special to me when you give a gift to someone or send something to someone and they end up really loving it and wanting to keep it and wear it many times in their own way. I love when items become part of an everyday uniform that I’ve made. That’s a really big privilege as a designer to see someone love your work so much that they’ll wear it all the time. Even with Bella Hadid that was major or Dua Lipa wearing the caps all the time this summer. You can’t even plan for that. You can’t ask for that so when it happens it’s just incredible.  

It must’ve given you a lot of drive to keep on doing it. What else motivates you to create? 

I’m always really inspired by nature. I know that’s a very blanket statement that a lot of people say but I’m inspired by magical mysticism within nature. Whenever I’m in a park and I’m really feeling connected with natural elements around me, that’s when I feel like fairies could be real, magic does exist. Like I could talk to trees and they would hear my thoughts and I can hear their thoughts. There’s just this really beautiful synergy as a human to coexist with our earth. I’m always really inspired by that because it’s very surrealist and it’s very innate within all of us. There’s this sentiment that all of us feel when we’re in nature that we feel more connected and more relaxed. We can regroup. I think that meditative internal introspective look that nature allows us to get as a human in modern-day society is something really special. It’s almost like a luxury. That moment keeps me going and keeps me wanting to integrate magic into my designs. I would hope as a successful designer that I can give that to others. 

Since you’re from a fine art background, what is your earliest memory connected with your craft and creating jewellery? 

It’s actually quite funny because I was doing a lot of performance art. I would build out sets on my own, create characters, outfits for the characters and an entire world. The whole point of it was that I was making every layer. Videographic, editing it and doing the lighting myself. How much can one person do to create an entire universe? I saw jewellery as an extension of that especially at the start because I could have my performance characters dress up in wearable weird art objects that I created and push the boundaries even more with the fashion element of my performance worlds. It just happened naturally from that. I took an experimental jewellery short class at CSM. It was 5 days long. I made so many pieces, more than we were supposed to make. Everyone around me was like ‘you should maybe keep doing jewellery’ and I was like ‘okay sure’. I feel like the approach I have is very unconventional, very flexible and free because I’m not really tied down to a traditional sense of design jewellery at all. 

Every artist has their muse. Who is a source of inspiration for you?   

A lot of the creatives I work with inspire me and just being on Instagram or using social media is a huge part of my business. It allowed me to reach out to other artists that I admire and work with them. Then see how they interpret my fairy tale mystical world and what their take is on it, which goes from other illustrators, video or claymation artists to muses. My friend Coral is one of my most cherished muses. I use them all the time. I have for almost two years now. They see art as a form of self-expression as well. When we just get together, we can make what probably a team of 30 would take to do make. Just us two hanging out, having an alike mind. There’s been really special moments and really genuine beautiful friendships that I’ve made on the basis of us being creatives. 

What should be the role of the new-gen artists in modern society? 

I have a few other friends that are fashion designers as well. We all hang out and talk about what we are doing as a collective because we’re all the same age and in the same mindset. A lot of what comes up is that we’re fixing the wrongs. I have actually worked in fashion and done many different roles in the industry before having my own brand. One of the reasons I wanted my own brand is because I disagree with a lot of the ways that fashion is currently run. It is a commercial industry. It’s not very human-loving and not very accepting of our humanness even though it’s centred around humanness. I’m trying to create healing and enjoyable spaces for everyone involved, from someone that is helping me on set to my top client to a model. I view everyone on the same exact value system. I’ve experienced how people are treated differently within the industry and probably just corporate systems in general. My mission is to try to reverse that and try to put everyone on an equal pedestal and show love to absolutely everyone because when you do that people give you love in return. It’s a perfect way to exist. 

The creative industry is built on odd part-time jobs, free internships, all-nighters and tons of energy-boosters to get through this turmoil of making or breaking it. Was it a struggle to get to this point in your career?   

It was a little bit accidental. I didn’t really have any business training or business background. In terms of being an entrepreneur, that’s been an entire learned lifestyle for me through trials and errors. I was doing this for almost two years which seems short but it was far before the market blew up with these types of handmade necklaces. When I had launched my collection, it was something unique at the time because nothing else like it really existed. One of the challenges has been learning as that became trendy what it means for me as a designer who fixates on bringing newness and transforming overlooked parts of the design into things that are desirable. I could’ve easily banked in on my top-selling necklace and blast it out because it’s trendy now but I’m more interested in learning, experimenting and showing people what I think is new or unique. That’s been an extremely challenging role because I’ve used the symbols of frogs, mushrooms and strawberries in my art forever. That always characterised me as a weirder or more unique person because frogs were not really that popular until social media and loving frogs or mushrooms. It’s been interesting because as it’s become trendier what I’ve noticed as an artist is that the meaning behind the symbols has evolved and changed. Even to put a mushroom on a necklace two years ago was almost grotesque and weird, it felt like something to me. Obviously now, it’s a little bit different. It’s trendier. This symbol doesn’t have the same emotion attached to it which isn’t a bad thing, it’s just a different thing. As an artist, I’m learning how to respond to that. I’ve been figuring it out through especially my handmade glass beads. I feel like it’s completely new and unique to my practice. I find a lot of emotional and spiritual help within my physical craft. 

Where do you want to see yourself in five years? 

I am very much a person who’s in the moment. I don’t plan that much in advance. I never planned to get to where I am now. I could never plan even in a week what will happen because a lot of my brand and especially my art practice is based on spontaneity and just letting it be, letting energy flow around you in the way that it’s supposed to. In five years, I would hope to expand, have a big team and photoshoots every week. I want to give money back to communities of artists and just collaborate with everyone that I can. Just really expand my world into something that a lot of people would know about all over the world. 

Generation Tomorrow features new faces who are on the way to define, not so distant, creative future and shake society up a little. Who would be your choice? 

I feel like every person I’m attracted to is as much of an artist as they are a designer. They’re marrying the two and always doing something that has a little bit more conceptual story behind it. My picks are @sadistitt, @tomikono_wig and @om3telle.  

Follow Beepy Bella on Instagram here.

Words by Alex Brzezicka

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