Dainty and delicate – two words that have fallen under the umbrella of femininity for decades, but in a woke 2019, times are a’changing. While fashion diversifies the stereotype by the day (cue SS20s male stock-broker in the 80s shoulders trend), the jewellery sector still falls culprit to encouraging a marketplace where these definitions thrive.

But championing a new direction for the industry is jewellery designer Dinny Hall (fabled for her hoops), whose collaboration with National Portrait Gallery is presenting a new form of womanhood. The Pre-Raphaelite Sisters exhibit, running from the of 17th October until the 26th January 2020, unveils the untold story of the female painters and their subjects, which has been an inevitable source of inspiration for Dinny’s new collections. “They were quite amazing because they were often ordinary women, and before that the only women that were painted in portraits really were society women,” Dinny explains. “It was very rare that you would take the baker's daughter or the farmer’s daughter and not just paint them, but paint them over and over again”.



Breaking the stereotype of Pre-Raphaelite art, the collection of paintings divert away from traditional Pre-Raphaelite subjects, highlighting the women’s “thick necks and strong hands”, rather than the diaphanous qualities that the women have often been presented with. In Dinny’s hands, the female essence has been translated into two collections, White Pearls, a sterling silver collection drawing on the Pre-Raphaelites obsession with nature, and Sun Beams, which reflects the movements embodiment of the sun. Both collections feature strong, sharp lines and a fixed shape, pushing the conventional image of jewellery back to its dated past. 

As a jewellery designer whose pieces have transcended generations, this collection fits to transcend varieties of personalities. “I think the Sun Beams particularly have quite an edge to them,” Dinny enthuses. “If someone else is styling them, you could really make them quite punky. Or you could play them down, so I quite like that ability to be able to do what you will with them with your own style.. and age!



For Dinny, her ‘female’s empowering female’s’ mindset has been on the forefront of her brand. After a disgruntled Twitter user spoke out against Dinny’s Suffragette collection, this outlook resonated even more deeply than before. “I wouldn’t say we got trolled, but pretty soon after I brought the collection out, someone wrote a stinker on our Twitter saying ‘How dare you use the name of the suffragettes’, I was like ‘Oh gosh!’ because I meant it, you know, I wasn’t doing it just in a fashion empty way, but it did make me think I should really find a way of making it useful to women.” This led to the collaboration between the Suffragette collection and the charity Women’s Aid, where a percentage of the collection’s profits are donated to the charity who are helping women find a way out of domestic violence.

So how does femininity strike in Dinny eyes? “It's however you want to take it. And it doesn’t mean to say that you have to be curly-haired and pretty-faced,” she says. “You can be feminine and not be a woman as well.” And if this isn’t the most emancipating feminist manifesto from a jewellery brand in 2019, I don’t know what is.

Shop the collection via The National Portrait Gallery Boutique and Dinny Hall.


Also on Because Magazine:

+ Meet Anya Hindmarch, the superwoman who makes 'it' look easy... 

+ We spoke to Browns Fashion's Buying Director about their new 'Conscious Edit'.

+ Caroline Issa is bringing back old school glamour.