Venezuelan-born designer Maria Busquets is the founder and managing director of luxury childrenswear brand Cashmirino. Maria was educated in England from the age of 11 alongside her older sister, the fashion entrepreneur and investor Carmen Busquets.
After school she moved back to Venezuela to volunteer at a children’s hospital, before continuing her education in economics, finance and marketing in Canada, Barcelona and then Geneva, where she started working for wealth management firm Merrill Lynch.
Busquets turned her attention to childrenswear when she moved to Italy, after the birth of her first child Sofia in 1999. Wanting a more colourful alternative to the pale cashmere baby clothing she could find, she started to design her own for family and friends, working with ateliers in Shanghai and Inner Mongolia.
Gradually she built up a customer base through word-of-mouth and in 2008 opened the first Cashmirino store in Milan. Now based in London, with a store in Burlington Arcade, she continues to design high-end childrenswear, handmade by artisans in Inner Mongolia, Italy and Peru using only natural fibres.
With a love for jewellery as well as fashion, the designer shares the most precious pieces in her jewellery box.
Leda Codecasa Flower necklace
This is one of the first pieces of jewellery I bought, and is still one of my favourites. I bought it from Leda Codecasa who was not only an extraordinary woman, but also one of the most creative people I’ve ever met. She used to have a store in Via Gesu, Milan, and I have many happy memories of visiting her there, chatting over a bowl of lovely clementines.
I completely fell in love with this necklace: it’s so romantic. The amount of work that has gone into it is incredible. It’s like a garden all around your neck, it’s really an outstanding piece. Although it’s big it’s still very refined and intricate so it feels feminine.
Leda’s artisanal work is now being carried out by her grandson Tommaso Codecasa, who learnt her unique techniques and aesthetic flair after years spent working at her side.
I bought the bracelet and a matching cuff and sometimes I’ll wear both together. The necklace looks great underneath a silk blouse: it adds a feminine touch to more masculine styles.
CoutureLab turquoise ring
This was given to me by my two adorable and amazing sisters as a surprise on my 40th birthday. One of my sisters had a similar one and I always told her how much I loved it, so she took the hint!
I adore everything about it – the stone, the colour, the ornateness and exoticness of it. The ring slides comfortably onto the finger and the chain attaches around the wrist so that the big turquoise drop sits on the back of your hand.
It’s another very feminine piece; it reminds me of the colours of India and how feminine Indian women are. When I’m wearing it, I feel like my whole hand is dressed to dance and flutter.
Pasquale Bruni diamond sun necklace
This is another piece that has a lot of sentimental value. I have always loved the Pasquale Bruni sun motif. My mum gave me this necklace in hospital when my youngest child, my son, was born. I had always said that when I have a boy I’d like to get the sun, because of the play on words, and we’d always joked about whether the son would ever come!
I was also given jewellery when my daughters were born, which I plan to give to them when they get married. The sun has even more symbolism because usually for boys, especially Italian boys, their mother is like their sun. The day he gets married, his wife will become his sun – so I will give this necklace to her.
I can imagine it will be hard – not to give away the necklace itself, but the symbolism of it. I will pass being his centre, his sun, to this new women. I will have to step aside…just a little bit.
I love this ring because of the memories I associate with it. My father and I travelled to India for a business trip and had a few days off, which we spent in Mumbai. It was the first time I’d travelled with him alone and we had a wonderful time. We stayed up all night, until 4am, talking about the past, sometimes arguing, sometimes laughing, sometimes crying: it was a magical evening.
The next day we went shopping and saw this ring. My father said he wanted to give it to me to remember the beautiful time we’d spent together. To remember that night is to remember our whole lives and all the emotions we experienced.
So the symbolism of this ring is hugely important – whenever I wear it I feel like I’m back there in India with my father. Sometimes the meaning of a piece of jewellery is more important than the thing itself.