Juliette Mallet is a Paris-based creative who goes by Coucou Suzette. After studying art for 6 years at ENSAD (Ecole des Art Déco de Paris) and a stint in Tokyo where she fell pretty hard for all things colourful, kitsch and cute, she settled back in Paris where she now splits her time between a job in the music industry and the Coucou Suzette studio creating unique jewellery. Named after her little cat Suzette, and ‘Coucou’ which is French for ‘hi’, the brand is a mix of bright colours and glossy contrasts handmade from clay and glazed ceramic. Each design is predominantly one of a kind and packaged with love, care and Parisian flair.
Spending the best part of her free time producing her playful designs, Juliette first began making glazed beads and unique brooches at a little ceramic workshop. She began experimenting with clay and created elegant pieces of jewellery which proved to be very popular, however, it was all a little to serious for her. ‘I wanted more fun!’ she says ‘Instagram has been integral for what I do now. I started posting kitsch pieces that I had made just for fun for myself and for friends, like the boobie ring. Then people started asking me to sell stuff. This is really how it all started, because of boobs.’
Discovering that her pins and small pieces of jewellery seemed to offer a good combination of process and playful subject matter, Juliette continued to create her brilliant accessories. Inspired by Japanese kitsch, fabric patterns and colourful food such as iced cookies and bright candy, not to mention sushi, her designs had a dedicated Instagram community totally hooked. Her influences are myriad and reveal the way in which her formal studies and deep love of pop culture have perfectly intertwined. ‘I love the Congolese painter Cheri Samba, and the Japanese artist Takayo Kiyota’s who makes super fun sushi art.’ She says, ‘I also love Kate Jenkins, Hipotastitch and Marianne Battle’s quirky embroideries and beadworks. I’m also a comic lover, I read so many.’
Juliette is a big fan of living in Paris, and who wouldn’t be? With tonnes of exhibitions, inspirational events and craft shops around every corner, she tells us she finds great joy in finding new rad stuff to work with and from travelling, exploring and sometimes, even getting out of the city to see somewhere new. In a slightly messy workshop filled with beads, confetti and boxes of craft materials, things can get a little hectic so usually she starts with a doodle to create a sense of calm and work on a plan. ‘I always have a notebook with me where I note my ideas and sketch all the time. After I’ve had an idea I can then try to choose the most adequate medium. I love clay because it’s basically like 3D illustration. I love shaping and painting my final designs.’
A super-cute feast for the eyes, Juliette’s creations and her bright snapshots of them, are everything we want for our jewellery collections. A mix of big blue eyes, boobs, sushi, pizza and a few more of our favourite things all brought to life in vividly coloured clay and edged with a nice slice of gold or silver, Coucou Suzette is just the coolest. As each piece is basically limited edition, as no two are identical, these pins, necklaces and earrings are even more valuable to us, however, they won’t break the bank. Juliette tells us, ‘It’s important to me to make jewellery that stays affordable and that I love. I don’t do things just because I think people will like them, I create things that I could wear and that I wouldn’t be able to find in existing stores.’
Currently creating delicious new pieces and working on a new collaboration with a rad Parisian DIY Studio, Juliette is hanging out on Instagram as usual and chatting to potential stockists this year. You can find all of her wonderful pieces in the Coucou Suzette Etsy shop via her website, on Facebook and in a few creative Paris stores that are probably as fresh as they come.
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Words: Emily Beeson | @younggoldteeth