Pandora’s creative directors, Francesco Terzo and A. Filippo Ficarelli talk their approach to designing and the new Gen Z-focused collection.

Francesco Terzo and A. Filippo Ficarelli
Francesco Terzo and A. Filippo Ficarelli

When pondering the wonders of the modern-day jewellery scene, one name that instantly comes to mind is Pandora. Famed for its array of personal charms and subtle silver cuts, the Copenhagen-based brand is one adored by many. And, two names responsible for ensuring that this legacy continues to persist is creative duo, and Pandora’s VP Creative Directors, Francesco Terzo and A. Filippo Ficarelli.

Having made their start in menswear, the pair of mavericks quickly looked to explore their life-long passion for jewellery, a focus they were able to flourish into a wildly successful career as collection consultants at the hand-finished jewellery brand before shooting themselves to the helm of its creative team. And, their most recent foray into the dazzling world of jewellery? Francesco and Filippo unveil the Pandora ME collection.

Sure to have the social-media-crazed youth of today thoroughly obsessed, the designers have crafted a cute-yet-cool line, filled with thick chain-like link bracelets, pearl necklaces and infectious smiley face motifs. And, with the pair also receiving the backing of pop sensation Charli XCX and beloved TikTok star Addison Rae, it becomes all the more evident that Pandora ME has been crafted with Gen Z in mind.

When commenting on their latest collection, Filippo claimed, “We understand the urgency that the youth of today have to communicate who they are becoming. This collection taps into this and tells people, ‘don’t hide, it’s your voice and express who you are with it’. So this is a collection that wants to tap into this, as we had that same urgency.”

On the evening of the glamorous Pandora ME relaunch event, the creative directors sat down with Wonderland to discuss the ethos behind their new collection and what we can expect from the future of Pandora. Head below to enjoy our interview with Francesco Terzo and A. Filippo Ficarelli.

Francesco Terzo and A. Filippo Ficarelli Pandora ME
Francesco Terzo and A. Filippo Ficarelli Pandora ME

Hi guys, how are you?
Filippo: It is super lovely to be here! I just mentioned to Francesco that it has been two years since we have been to London, so we are so happy to be back!

So I want to start with the moment you guys fell in love with jewellery? Can you picture that moment?
Filippo: My grandmother was involved with jewellery, and she was using jewellery in a super personal way – I am actually wearing one of her broaches here! She was always telling people stories about the jewellery that she had bought. There is an immediate emotional connection between jewellery, the people who own it and then the people who reuse it. So, the idea that you can buy something and then really connect with it is amazing. My grandmother transferred this idea of universal feeling and emotion to us, and I was fascinated by this immediately.
Francesco: I don’t remember the actual moment, but when I was around 13, I started collecting different pieces of jewellery from my family. So I started getting piercings here and there, and then I think I started growing very close to jewellery.

Is there a specific material that you’ve worked with that was precious to you or memorable? And why was it so valuable to you?
Filippo: Jewellery has an extensive universe of materials. We like to play with different kinds of material, however, such as petals from flowers. We notice the delicateness and try to transfer that idea into our craftsmanship. So, we are inspired by materials that are not so obvious. One of the most memorable was our flower collection, for which we literally started with the petal of a flower and tried to capture its fragility-

Francesco: -and strength, at the same time. When we work with nature it is super interesting to have the real flower or leaf on the table in front of us. These are things that we also like to go and find ourselves.

How do you view the relationship between a designer’s identity and the pieces they create? And how does that inform your collection’s personal identities?
Filippo: We like this question because we believe that the relationship is crucial. As designers, we are in the process of discovering our identity, so this connection between who we are, who we are becoming and what we want to be is fundamental to our design process. This makes for something personal because we are obviously working to take care of the brand, but we also need to add in something that represents us.
Francesco: We are sort of curators for the brand. We need to understand the brand and who they are, but in order to project things to the next level, we need to inject who we are into the brand while also respecting its DNA and history.

You work as a pair! What is the most exciting thing about working together and the hardest thing?
: I think the two are linked! The most exciting thing is the ability to share an idea with someone immediately. But, the difficult part is when the other party doesn’t agree immediately. So, we have a rule between us where we both need to agree on whatever it is that we are doing – so sometimes we have to convince each other! But, the good thing about working as a duo is we get to share the stress as well as ideas, and we can support each other.

Is it the same for you, Filippo?
Filippo: Yes. It is a natural approach and we can share our growing identity. It is so nice when something touches us and we are able to immediately share it with each other. We are a team, and the spirit of the team is fundamental. On the other hand, there is the risk of being too open because we are very transparent with each other, so someone may be like ‘oh my god, this is really exciting’ and the other may say, ‘that is okay’. We mirror each other so we cannot hide from each other.

I want to move on to Pandora ME now. Let’s start with what inspired the collection! Is this part of your vision for Pandora’s future?
Filippo: Definitely, yes! This is a mix of Pandora’s DNA and our vision for the future because we were super inspired by the idea of creating through jewellery, especially identities. In our minds, personalisation was key – the idea of being yourself and having a voice is linked to our identities. Going back to the question of how it plays into our identity, there is a lot of what we believe is us in this. So, the idea was to create a new universe in which you can self-express. The aim was to empower, and I think with this jewellery you can do something very special. It’s a kind of playground, you can be very fun but also very relevant so you can tap into cultural things as well!

And the collection is focused on the youth of today. But, does this collection also tap into your own aesthetics from your own youth?
Filippo: Absolutely, because when we talk about the above, we understand the urgency that the youth of today have to communicate who they are becoming. This collection taps into this and tells people, ‘don’t hide, it’s your voice and express who you are with it’. So this is a collection that wants to tap into this, as we had that same urgency.
Francesco: And, even if I didn’t understand that jewellery was one of the ways for me to express myself at the time, I remember that there was a need for me to say something about myself. When I started collecting jewellery and getting piercings or just changing my look, it was because I had this need to say something. So now, we are encouraging people to use jewellery to represent their life.

You’ve put a lot of yourselves into the collection, but I know it must have been important to also reflect Pandora’s ethos in it. How did you approach Pandora’s history, DNA and craftsmanship when creating the collection?
: Absolutely!
Francesco: It was fundamental! Pandora is famous for its personalisation, and here you can personalise your necklace, your earrings and everything else. Pandora is also very popular for its work with silver and precious materials, and this collection is made from silver and rose gold, we even use freshwater pearls. We also take a very interesting approach to craftsmanship, which you can see if you look at the details. When creating, we start by asking ourselves, who is Pandora?
Filippo: When we design we were looking for codes, and the most interesting of Pandora’s codes, for us, is personalisation. This element transfers into the Pandora ME universe. The new aesthetic is younger but with old techniques, like the paintings on the pearl taps into this cross-contamination of elements.

So Pandora’s history does inform a lot of the designs, but I also know that your native Italy informs that as well. When you do sit down to create, what is your design process, how does it go from start to finish?
: We are Italian, so we are bonded with the church and are fascinated with rituals. So we have our own rituals from the beginning [of the process]. As we are a team, we try to talk a lot as well as write things down. At the beginning of each collection, we have stories to tell so we write things down, and then we talk, and once we have talked we also sketch and collect images and pieces that are not just jewellery, and then all of these elements become a mood board. We have a very interesting team around us, and we love working with them. The outcomes of our rituals become like the base for another conversation with the team, and that is another element for us that is super important in the creation process.

Francesco: And then we start sketching – the sketching part is super interesting as we are very obsessed with the details of the jewellery. And then we go into the development.
Filippo: The ritual behind the creation is a bigger conversation because we talk about what we want to achieve. For us, it’s definitely much more than a singular piece of jewellery. You buy jewellery because you want to create an emotional connection with something, and so we want to transfer this idea into every single piece we create.

Francesco: We always start with why we are doing things which is why we like to write and collect images. We need to first convince ourselves of the story.
It’s quite a personal process, and that translates into the jewellery. How do you want the wearer of the jewellery to feel when they buy it? Is there a specific emotion that you’re trying to translate to them?
: Confidence to feel cool!
Filippo: Confidence, for us, is a super interesting word because we want them to feel confident enough to tell their own story. And then, through confidence, we are enlarging the other emotions, such as empowerment to use their voice or love. For us, jewellery can really help people to be more confident in who they really are. We are obsessed with the idea of expressing ourselves, and it is a very interesting topic during this time period.
Francesco: It is expressing identity but in a cool way. The idea of cool is at the base of this collection.

I also wanted to quickly touch on the exciting fact that Pandora is planning to go carbon neutral by 2025, which is amazing to hear! How important has sustainability been in your design process and also the future of design?
: For us, it’s fundamental. We really believe in the cause and we are applying it to our universe. I think that approaching the use of materials in a conscious and innovative way is something that is completely transparent in our conversations, and I’m sure that the whole jewellery industry will be influenced by what we do. The youth are very keen on these topics too, and it’s a conversation that we authentically embrace because it’s also a part of us. So for us, it is about continuing this conversation, and we are super happy that Pandora is completely open to this.

That is amazing to hear, and finally, what can we expect from the future of Pandora and more generally for you as well?
: This is amazing because we share something in common with your magazine, you talk about culture, and we love this about your universe. For you, culture is super important, and for us as well. Soyou can expect this from Pandora. We understand and want to become a catalyst of cultures, and we want to represent culture in a very positive and inclusive way. All of these elements that we are talking about, you will be able to physically see in our jewellery. This is our code for the future of Pandora.