Journal — Caves Collect
Caves Collect

CAVES COLLECT CONVERSATION PART ONE – WITH NEW YORK BASED JEWELLER CAROLINE VENTURA

Caroline Ventura and her elegantly understated jewellery embody a thoughtful minimalism that doesn’t go out of style. A proponent of using reclaimed materials and conflict-free diamonds, Ventura has become a go to jeweller for the conscious woman. On a recent, pre-coronavirus-quarantine visit to Melbourne, we had the pleasure of sitting down for a conversation with Ventura. Photographer Peter Ryle came along to photograph her sporting her handcrafted jewellery and some of her favourite Caves Collect investment pieces.

We are so excited to share with you CAVES COLLECT CONVERSATION PART ONE with one of our many muses. We chat with this woman of substance and effortless savoir-faire about style inspirations, investing in quality pieces and making things last.

PHOTOGRAPHS BY PETER RYLE

CC. Your wardrobe is very cohesive and you have a very clear style. Is this something you’ve consciously done in building your wardrobe?

CV. My style has remained pretty consistent since I began dressing myself – I grew up in a family of boys so naturally I gravitated toward wanting to dress like my brother and cousins. I think because of that, dressing with a more masculine slant is what I’m comfortable in, but as I have gotten older I’ve become more comfortable adding in slightly more feminine details and materials. 

CC. Your style has a wonderful balance between the masculine and feminine. When you were at the Caves Studio, you mentioned loving how old men dress. Can you tell us more about that? Do you have any other style inspirations?

CV. Menswear is so classic and really hasn’t evolved much in the last few decades for a reason. I love that era in the 40s and 50s when getting dressed properly was something that everyone did. No pajamas on airplanes or sweatpants to the grocery store (although I’m totally guilty of doing both of those). When I look for style references, almost everything I am drawn to is a smart tailored trouser and materials like linen or silk. I love the way Amelia Earhardt dressed. She wasn’t afraid of being seen as an equal to the men around her and her confidence is what made her style incredible. I’m also quite influenced by the 70s and 80s punk scene that was happening in London. Joe Strummer is my ultimate icon and I look to him often for inspiration – thin suspenders, worn out combat boots, paper thin shirts. He really didn’t give a shit about how he looked, but ended up becoming one of the faces of a really important movement. 

CC. It seems you are very considered in your investment pieces. What are some questions you ask yourself when investing in a piece of clothing, a pair of shoes or a bag?

CV. I always ask myself if this was something I would have loved 10 years ago. As I have gotten older and become more comfortable with spending money on clothing, I’ve learned that I can’t just spend frivolously on something that is trendy at the moment. I find it easy to imagine myself in a scenario where I’m wearing this new thing I want to buy and I get excited. Does anyone else do that? Except, that scenario rarely ever happens, so now I have this piece that I spent my money on and am not wearing it. I try and stick to similar cuts but maybe try something in a new color or fabric. 

CC. Do you do regular culls of your wardrobe to edit out things you are no longer wearing? Do you donate or sell the things you’re culling?

CV. I do! At the end of every summer my husband is usually out of town for a week or so and I use that time to do a big deep clean of our apartment. I don’t usually touch his closet (although sometimes I do, sorry Michael), but I go through every piece of clothing I have. If I haven’t worn something in over two years, chances are it will get put in the to-go pile. Unless it’s something special or vintage, I tend to hold on to vintage and antique items for a lot longer. I used to get really attached to the memories that clothing can hold so I would end up keeping stuff around because it reminded me of this certain birthday, or this wedding, or that one party. Everything I’m tossing gets donated to a charity shop here in NYC called HousingWorks, a non-profit that helps fund housing, healthcare, treatment, etc. for homeless and low income people living with HIV/AIDS. 

CC. We love how simple and refined the jewellery you design is. It has no frills, bells or whistles. It’s very paired back and reductionist. For me (Jo), I’m quite chaotic in my brain, so I love minimalism in my environment, clothing etc. Can you tell us a little about what draws you to a minimalist design ethos?

CV. Same! My brain is a mess so I tend to keep all of my outward offerings really simple. I think living in such a busy city is a huge influence on the simplicity of what I create. I used to be really self conscious and thought that maybe because I was creating these very pared down items it meant I wasn’t talented or wasn’t a good designer. It took me a while to truly appreciate the idea that quiet simplicity holds a lot of power in an otherwise overwhelming world. I find I am often drawn to things that have elements of something you didn’t notice at first glance –  a little stone hidden here, a little dent there where I hit my hammer. 

CC. What are your 5 current favourite pieces of clothing that you rely on and wear to death?

CV. Vintage denim. I used to steal my dad’s jeans when I was in high school, not because it was trendy (I actually probably looked not cool in them), but because they were so worn in and comfortable. The perfect pair of vintage jeans are really a cornerstone of my closet.
High waisted trousers. I really really love a smart trouser. My favourite cut right now is one that is nipped in at the waist but has a nice straight leg. Bonus if it has a crease. There’s a line in a Sam Cooke song where he references dancing with “the chick in slacks”, and I just love that line. The chick in slacks is always the one you have to watch out for ; )
An old vintage T-shirt. I have one from the early 2000s that I got at a flea market that is my one piece I would take with me during a fire. It’s a 999 tour shirt from 1978 and it’s full of holes and becoming really delicate so I can’t wear it as much as I used to, but it’s the one piece of clothing I own that I love the most.
Men’s brogues. I wear these with everything. Trousers, dresses, paired with socks and shorts. They’re my favourite style of shoe to wear. 
A men’s blazer. Easiest way to class up a regular look. Lately I’ve been into a shorter boxy silhouette, but a traditional blazer will never go out of style.

CC. What is your oldest piece of clothing?

CV. A vintage Christian Dior v-neck sweater that I bought at a thrift store in Los Angeles when I was in 9th grade. I was going through a bit of a grunge phase and it’s still something I wear from time to time. It’s perfectly oversized without drowning me and it brings back so many good memories.

CC. Do you repair/alter your clothing?

CV. All the time. Any piece of clothing that’s made well can be tailored to fit you, even if it isn’t your perfect size. And once you have something that fits you the way you want, it’s super easy to tailor similar silhouettes to match. And shoe dying! A lot of times I find vintage shoes that I love, but the color might be off, so I dye them in a tone that I like better. I change out buttons on things as well, which is a really quick way to personalize something and make it your own. 

CC. Do you have any tips for laundering or repairing clothing, shoes or jewellery, to keep them in good condition and make them last longer?

CV. My shoes get wrecked living in NYC, where the weather can be a bit shit sometimes. So getting my shoes resoled once a year, or patched up in places where the leather has cracked open etc. is really important to help make them last longer. I always add extra soles to the bottom of my leather shoes to help keep them in better shape. And just because something has a hole in it doesn’t mean it’s no longer wearable. I think having mended patches on garments makes them have that much more character. 

CC. TELL US WHAT YOU’D WEAR FOR THESE OCCASIONS:

CC. Lunch with friends at a cafe : CV. High waist linen trousers , a vintage ribbed T-shirt or tank top, woven leather sandals

CC. A day in the studio: CV. Jeans and a ratty T-shirt with converse, or an old boiler suit if I’m working on a painting and making a mess

CC. Your birthday drinks at a bar: CV. Ooh maybe some kind of suit. Black trousers with a blazer and a little camisole underneath, black leather brogues.

CC. Presenting at a conference : CV. I’m going to throw a curveball in and wear a dress. If I’m on some type of panel, I don’t want to be sitting in pants – sometimes sitting in pants isn’t the most flattering (I learned this the hard way once), so some type of flow-y dress is nice. Maybe I would make it a little more masculine and throw a cropped sweater on top. And if I’m not sitting, a breezy skirt is nice on stage as you walk back and forth. But would definitely balance out the feminine up top with some men’s shoes on the bottom.

CC. Going to the farmers market followed by a day reading at home: CV. Some biking shorts layered with an oversized button down on top. I like this look with a shirt that’s really long so the shorts are just barely peeking out the bottom. 

And that’s the end! Thanks for reading CAVES COLLECT CONVERSATION PART ONE. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. You can check our Caroline Ventura’s work here.

Stay tuned for more CAVES COLLECT CONVERSATIONS.

SOURCES OF INSPIRATION

At Caves Collect, we strive to design clothing and accessories which wear well, so our pieces will likely be around for a long time. Our hope is that the aesthetic of our designs will be relevant for years to come. We love looking to the past to see what stands up to the test of time. Here are some of our favourites.

Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York, 1968

Le Corbusier

Gio Ponti

Home of architect Poul Henningsen, in Copenhagen

Le Corbusier

Le Corbusier

Appartement 50  in Le Corbusier’s “Cité Radieuse”  Marseille

Anita Calero Loft

Gio Ponti

Katinsky House

Katinsky House

Robert Motherwell

Alan Ginsberg Apartment

Mother and Child, Barbara Hepworth, 1934. The mother and child theme is frequent occurrence concept of Hepworth, after she gave birth to her first son. In the same year where she made the Mother and Child sculpture she gave birth to triplets. The piece is one of her sculptures that symbolise her emotional state of being.

Mother and Child, Barbara Hepworth, 1934.

The mother and child theme is frequent occurrence concept of Hepworth after she gave birth to her first son. In the same year where she made the Mother and Child sculpture, she gave birth to triplets. The piece is one of her sculptures that symbolise her emotional state of being.

Robert Motherwell

Untitled 1964

Acrylic on canvas

The Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden, St Ives, United Kingdom, 1976. The building was Hepworth's home and studio for 26 years until she died in 1975. The museum is now owned and run by the Tate since 1980. The museum accommodates Hepworth's works.

The Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden, St Ives, United Kingdom, 1976.

The building was Hepworth’s home and studio for 26 years until she died in 1975. The museum is now owned and run by the Tate since 1980. The museum accommodates Hepworth’s works.

Untitled, Franz Kline, United States. Kline (1910–1962) was an American Abstract Expressionist painter famously know for his black and white painting. His paintings were interpreted as oil painting painted in confident and free calligraphic style. His paintings have been a source of inspiration for notable sculptors like Donald Judd.

Untitled, Franz Kline, United States.

Kline (1910–1962) was an American Abstract Expressionist painter famously know for his black and white painting. His paintings were interpreted as oil painting painted in confident and free calligraphic style. His paintings have been a source of inspiration for notable sculptors like Donald Judd.

Pierced Hemisphere II, Barbara Hepworth, Tate, United Kingdom, 1937-8. "Body experience... is the centre of creation." – Hepworth

Pierced Hemisphere II, Barbara Hepworth, Tate, United Kingdom, 1937-8.

“Body experience… is the centre of creation.” – Hepworth

Head, Female Bust, Pablo Picasso, Kunsthaus Zürich 1940.

Head, Female Bust, Pablo Picasso, Kunsthaus Zürich 1940.

Photograph of a window by Salve Lopez.

Photograph of a window by Salve Lopez.

Casa O'Gorman, Juan O'Gorman, Mexico, 1929. O'Gorman was a talented avant-garde architect who designed his own house at the tender age of 24. His house was commissioned by Diego Rivera to design his studio-house with Frida Kahlo.

Casa O’Gorman, Juan O’Gorman, Mexico, 1929.

O’Gorman was a talented avant-garde architect who designed his own house at the tender age of 24. His house was commissioned by Diego Rivera to design his studio-house with Frida Kahlo.

Coral Wedge, oil painting, Helen Frankenthaler, 1972. Frankenthaler was mid-twentieth-century abstract expressionism artist in the 50's. She is well-known for inventing the "soak-stain" technique using turpentine-thinned paint onto canvas to create washed appearance.

Coral Wedge, oil painting, Helen Frankenthaler, 1972.

Frankenthaler was mid-twentieth-century abstract expressionism artist in the 50’s. She is well-known for inventing the “soak-stain” technique using turpentine-thinned paint onto canvas to create washed appearance.

Sink at Caffe Burlot Paris, Dimore Studio, photograph by Andrea Ferrari.

Sink at Caffe Burlot Paris, Dimore Studio, photograph by Andrea Ferrari.

Built-in integrated bench at Woodland Cemetery in Stockholm, Sweden by Gunnar Asplund.

Built-in integrated bench at Woodland Cemetery in Stockholm, Sweden by Gunnar Asplund.

Office 39 by Office Kersten Geers David Van Severen, Buggenhout, Belgium, 2013.

Office 39 by Office Kersten Geers David Van Severen, Buggenhout, Belgium, 2013.

Maison de Verre, Paris, France, 1928–32. Designed by a Dutch architect, Bernard Bijvoet in collaboration with interior designer, Pierre Chareau and metalworker, Louis Dalbet.

Maison de Verre, Paris, France, 1928–32.

Designed by a Dutch architect, Bernard Bijvoet in collaboration with interior designer, Pierre Chareau and metalworker, Louis Dalbet.

Luis Barragán's house, Mexico. Barragán's house was declared UNESCO World Heritage site in 2004.

Luis Barragán’s house, Mexico.

Barragán’s house was declared UNESCO World Heritage site in 2004.

Portrait of Helen Frankenthaler working. "There are no rules. That is how art is born, how breakthroughs happen. Go against the rules or ignore the rules. That is what invention is about." – Helen Frankenthaler.

Portrait of Helen Frankenthaler working.

“There are no rules. That is how art is born, how breakthroughs happen. Go against the rules or ignore the rules. That is what invention is about.” – Helen Frankenthaler.

Wood, Leather and Brass Folding Chair for Sörensen by Hans Olsen, 1960.

Wood, Leather and Brass Folding Chair for Sörensen by Hans Olsen, 1960.

The stairs at Villa Savoye by Le Corbusier.

The stairs at Villa Savoye by Le Corbusier.

Hotel in Marseille in Paris by Le Corbusier.

Hotel in Marseille in Paris by Le Corbusier.

No. 10, Mark Rothko, 1950, Oil on Canvas.

No. 10, Mark Rothko, 1950, Oil on Canvas.

Exhibited in MoMa in 1952 – brought waves of museum “trustee” to protest for its radicalism.

“The progression of a painter’s work, as it travels in time from point to point, will be toward clarity: toward the elimination of all obstacles between the painter and the idea, and between the idea and the observer.”

Central Model Home in Hellerup, Denmark, Frits Schelgel, 1931.

Central Model Home in Hellerup, Denmark, Frits Schelgel, 1931.

Eames House (previously known as Case Study House No. 8), Charles and Ray Eames, 1945.

Eames House (previously known as Case Study House No. 8), Charles and Ray Eames, 1945.

Robert Motherwell, 1973.

Robert Motherwell, 1973.

Frameless Glass Shower

Frameless glass shower.

AD Russia.

Inside the Shokin–tei. Katsura Imperial Villa from the 17th–century.

Inside the Shokin–tei. Katsura Imperial Villa from the 17th–century.

Prince Hachijō Toshihito was the founder of the villa.

Metric Sizing Chart
Size
5
6
8
10
12
14
Bust
77.5cm
80cm
85cm
90cm
95cm
100cm
Waist
57.5cm
60cm
65cm
70cm
75cm
80cm
Bum
84.5cm
87cm
92cm
97cm
102cm
107cm
Imperial Sizing Chart
Size
5
6
8
10
12
14
Bust
30.5"
31.4"
33.4"
35.4"
37.4"
39.3"
Waist
22.6"
23.6"
25.9"
27.5"
29.5"
31.4"
Bum
33.2"
34.2"
36.2"
38.1"
40.1"
42.1"
How to measure yourself
  • It is best to measure yourself in your underwear
  • Pull the tape measure so it is firm, but not tight
  • Bust: Measure around the fullest part of your bust
  • Waist: Measure around the smallest part of your waist
  • Bum: Measure around the fullest part of your bum and low hip

Please email us at info@cavescollectstudio.com for all fit & sizing questions.