Artemas Quibble: From Antique To Adorable

Vintage has long been the mainstay of the the avant-garde and adventurous. When worn well, it elevates the wearer to a level of effortless chic and leaves modernity for dead. In response to this niche demand, enigmatic Philadelphia-based designer and artist A. Jason Ross is leaving the fashion world gagging for more with his accessories line Artemas Quibble and the Creatures of Mme. du Barry.

Ross “fell” into accessories work when an art director friend and muse took a leather choker he had gifted her and promptly flashed it around town as a bracelet. Before long, the orders started coming in thick and fast, prompting Ross to produce several for the Free People ’07 catalogue. The rest, as they say, is history – literally!

Ross’ inspiration derives from ancient objects, thanks to his rigorous and enthusiastic study of archaeology, furniture, clothing, accessories and scientific instruments—illustrating an idiosyncratic reverence for objects that may not be typically considered beautiful. He believes firmly in the use of only “found” items, stating: “All my pieces are different from each other, modified and changed, as though excavated from an archaeological site.”

The current collection features cufflinks from 18th and 19th-century leather book covers, decoupage boxes engraved with turn-of-the-century engineering journals, leather cases made from African hunting bags, necklaces adorned with modified eagle finials, rings made from the latch of a 19th-century Chevalier glasses case and buckles cast from a bronze clock pendulum.

The allure of Artemas Quibble is indeed spreading—even the indomitable Donna Karan borrowed some of his one-of-a-kind items to accessorize her autumn/winter ’08 lookbook. The goods can be sourced in New York at John Derian, In God We Trust and Blackstones.

For more on the range, go to

—Candice Rafferty

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