Efva Attling designs “Love is in the Air”

AfterEllen.com recently had the opportunity to sit down with Efva Attling, Stockholm’s renowned out jewelry designer, to talk all things glitz, glamour, and, of course, gay. Efva’s life has been filled with accomplishments as a model, musician, clothing designer, TV personality, and now, as a reclaimed jewelry designer with clientele of the rich and famous: Madonna, members of the Swedish Royal Family and Kylie Minoguee among the many.

At the top of Efva’s new client list are the three lucky couples who won Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) and VisitSweden’s “Love is in the Air” contest to be wed in the air while en route from Stockholm to NYC (or vice versa) and then whooshed off to fabulous honeymoon destinations like the Ice Hotel and New York City. Efva has been in a same-sex marriage with Swedish pop sensation, Eva Dahlgren, for over 17 years and is known for a signature “humanistic” approach to her design aesthetic — making her the perfect person for the job of creating the couples’ wedding rings.

The tall, striking blond was confident and luminous with an obvious “no holds barred” point of view. So what’s Efva’s next big venture? If she has her way it’ll be appearing as a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

AfterEllen.com: So how did you get involved with this “Love in the Air” event?
Efva Attling:
It was something I came across on the internet. Someone sent me a link, saying “Look at this, this is great.”  I read about it and thought “Wow, I should really be involved.” And then I received a call from SAS asking if I’d make the rings for them. So that was it, really — Two minds, one goal.

AE: What about the “Love is in the Air” project appealed to you?
EA: Well, it’s another way of thinking from SAS. I think it’s a fun idea, it’s about creativity, and I think it’s a great thing. It’s good for the Americans to just like, “Come on, get loose, get married, come on!” You know, that’s why I do [my piece called] “Homo Sapiens,” dividing the words “Homo”’ and “Sapiens.” It’s a statement. And that’s what I think SAS has done with “Love is in the Air.” I think it’s fantastic. It’s a fun idea but, you know, it also means something. All these small actions can really make something big happen.

SAS could’ve asked any jewelry designer to participate. Why do you think they chose you?
EA: I think because I’m one of Scandinavia’s more successful jewelry designers and also, I’m married to another woman. Another Eva actually — Efva and Eva. We’re “double trouble!” [Laughs] I made our rings, you know, even though jewelry designers aren’t supposed to design their own wedding rings … We’ve been married for 17 years.

AE: Creating someone’s wedding ring is a pretty big deal. Did you design anything special for the three lucky couples? How did you decide what to make for each one?
EA: Well I offered some options to them, I said, “This is what I think we should have,” and then they could choose whatever design they wanted. But it was really funny, you know, I thought “Okay, these are the rings for the guys and these are for the girls,” and, it was totally opposite! The girls chose, “From Here To Eternity,” and the “Soft Ring” was chosen by the Americans — it’s a bit more of a classical design — and the Germans picked “From Here To Eternity” written in script type.

AE: How does Stockholm or Sweden play a role in your work?
EA: I think my jewelry is very Swedish in a way, because it’s very low-key. It’s very simple but it has different movements that make it calm. I’m not calm [Laughs], but also, when I put words into my pieces I can send out the message and then those who receive it can pass on that message and think “Wow, what does this mean?”

For example, I have a ring called “Amor Fati” which means “the love for our destiny.” For me, that means that you have this life, and it’s up to you to make the best of it. It’s not about fulfilling someone else’s wishes, like, “I want you to be a teacher,” and you’re like “But I don’t want to be a teacher, I want to be a bus driver!” So, OK! Be the bus driver! It’s you behind the wheel. For me, “Love for our destiny” is like, “You choose your own life.”

AE: Do you think it’s better to be openly gay in Sweden than it is in the U.S.?
EA: I would say it like this: [my wife] Eva and I were both very famous when we met, which was a hassle because of the paparazzi. But you know, they cooled down. [Coming out] was a bit easier of course , because although Eva was never out, people love her for her music. And when we got married, they couldn’t just put her music away—it  was already in their hearts. For me, I don’t know, maybe my work was in someone somewhere’s hearts. [Laughs] Maybe my son’s!

No, but I think it’s easier for a well-known person — and also for the kids of the family — in the coming-out process because we make examples of ourselves during it and make it easier for everyday people as role models. But people who aren’t famous just have to endure it on their own accord. This is why I like Ellen DeGeneres. She’s fantastic, she has a fantastic brain, how can you not like her? Of course there are going to be different people in different states here that dislike her, they can’t even take it in … That she’s fantastic, because they have such a scared-ness of seeing things for what they really are.