This year, Valérie Messika is celebrating 15 years of jewelry with her eponymous brand Messika. Forever passionate about the use of diamonds, Messika is inspired by touchpoints like art and design, implementing contemporary muses into the collection’s campaigns. Lately though, Messika is taking time to reflect and respond to the current day—the COVID-19 global pandemic.
With the health crisis impacting people around the world, Messika was touched by one charity in particular: Solidarité avec les Soignants, founded by the French humorist Anne Roumanoff. The foundation focuses on resourcing, ordering, and delivering protective equipment gear (PPE) for healthcare workers throughout France.
To aid in its initiative, Messika made a generous donation to its fund, and launched Messika Solidaire—a fundraising initiative on social media. For each photo posted to Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #SolidaritéSoignants, Messika will make a donation to Solidarité avec les Soignants.
Whitewall spoke with Messika to hear more about this initiative, how she’s spending her time in isolation, and how she’s supporting artists from afar.
WHITEWALL: Tell us a bit about how you’re doing amid COVID-19. How are you spending your time in isolation?
VALERIE MESSIKA: I am currently staying at my country house with my husband, my two daughters and my sister-in-law’s family. I maintain close contact with the rest of my family and call them every day to receive news.
Being here helps, since we have a garden and the kids can enjoy being outside. While home-schooling, it is very important to take the time to explain things. I have further developed patience and persistence. For me, it is preferable to do home-schooling in the morning so the kids can enjoy the outdoors in the afternoon.
WW: Tell us a bit about your recent partnership with Solidarité avec les Soignants. How did you and Anne meet and begin collaborating? Why is this organization a great partnership for Messika?
VM: I met Anne Roumanoff through a mutual friend who told me about her project. Moved by this initiative, I felt it was important to participate. Therefore, Messika made a first donation several weeks ago. I wanted to mobilize all the employees of the house so that they had the opportunity to help by donating, doubled by Messika. Following the donation, Messika launched the Messika Solidaire operation on social media.
WW: Tell us a bit about how the Messika Solidaire initiative is raising funds on social media through the hashtag #SolidaritéSoignants.
VM: Messika Solidaire aims to raise funds through the participation of social media users by responding to the urgent medical material needs of French hospital staff. To support them, we asked followers to simply post a photo on Instagram or Facebook with a sign that reads #SolidariteSoignants and use the same hashtag in the comment or in a tag. For each post, Messika makes a donation to Solidarité avec les Soignants.
WW: Are there any artists, creators, organizations, or activists that are particularly inspiring for you right now, that are creating hope/positivity amid the COVID-19 crisis?
VM: In France, we were particularly moved by Solidarité avec les Soignants, so we partnered with them to help raise money for the French medical personnel. Aside from that, Médecins Sans Frontière’s work is always very inspiring, as well as the French artist JR, who is providing food for people in need.
WW: You regularly travel to art and design fairs in cities like Miami and Milan. As the recent ones have been cancelled or postponed, how are you staying connected with the artists, designers, and galleries that typically present there?
VM: Art has always been very inspiring to me. From photography to painting or other mediums, it is always nice to find inspiration outside of the jewelry world. I have started buying a few pieces—mostly vintage photographs—but I intend to dive into painting when the time is right.
WW: With each collection, you are regularly inspired by fashion, art, and design. Tell us a bit about what’s inspiring what you’re working on now.
VM: I look at things from a new angle and because of COVID-19, I look at my life from a different perspective. For example, I am working with my drawing team on a new high jewelry collection and I took a basic subject that inspires me, but that I now see from a different angle.
WW: Has the pandemic impacted the way you view design moving forward?
VM: It has not impacted the way I view design because I believe that our role as creatives is to still make people dream. Of course, the world is changing and nothing we currently see out there is reassuring, but if anything, this down time sparks even more design ideas.
WW: What are you working on now?
VM: Apart from working on new high jewelry and fine jewelry collections, it is important to keep my teams safe. We are currently rethinking our strategy and ways to return to work.