At ten, Nina Egli decided she was going to become an actress, and then forgot about it. In the meantime she had circus aspirations—as a tightrope walker. She studied dance, developed her gift for painting… At twenty, she was randomly asked to be in a movie—playing a fire eating trapeze artist. Somehow all her forgotten childhood ambitions were fulfilled in one fell swoop. From the experience, she recouped the acting bug, discovered she was terrified of heights and moved to New York to pursue a thespian life…

There is an element of wish fulfillment in this tale that echoes throughout Toujours Toi, Egli’s whimsically elegant line of jewelry:

Anna Magnani, pirate ships, my old 70’s storybooks, ports from France to Mexico, shiny dance floors, freshly washed lace, my grandpa’s sneakers, Swan Lake, the Swiss Alps, Harold and Maude, dark forests, high tea, the daybreak in Barcelona…”

Handcrafted and eclectic, the pieces from Toujours Toi tend to convey a sense of recovered childhood dreams, fleeting memories, lost daydreams…

Egli has always made jewelry:

“I was always doing it, I wasn’t even really aware of it.  I had my little wooden case (actually the same one I still use) with all the little things in it and I would just make it— but I never thought of it as a profession.”

She took it up again while she was studying at Lee Strasberg in New York. A friend suggested she do it commercially— then it took off “really fast and I didn’t think so much about whether it was a good choice, I just did it…”

It certainly helps that she’s a favorite with stylists and her pieces have appeared in the pages of fashion magazines like Nylon, Vice, Elle and Lucky—and on rising pop icons like Neko Case, Mischa Barton and Regina Spektor…

But enough about them; Toujours Toi, as one might suspect the name indicates, is really all about you:

“With jewelry you can always be very creative and so I kind of want to give women or men the possibility to be creative with what they wear and become more of a ‘character’ or something not so tame—become a little bolder perhaps… It’s also about the inspirations: the music and the films–it’s always the stories…”

The music and the films—cinema is king in Toujours Toi.  You will find in Egli’s collections (often cinematic homages) moods, themes and fragments from her favorites: Harold & Maude, Woody Allen classics like Manhattan, and Annie Hall: a red and black knitted sweater on Diane Keaton, or the drama and danger of the Tsar’s ball in a black and white version of Anna Karenina, a fox amongst the bacchantes in Giuletta degli Spiriti, Dr. No: Honey Ryder rising out of the sea holding a conch…. all distilled into intricate loops of hoops, dangling hearts, crystal crucifix mojos, patisserie colored charm bracelets, wolves, handcuffs, daggers — miniature narrative assemblages— sometimes witchy, other times fanciful, always elegant, playful spells you cast upon yourself.

Egli loves the 70s, it’s films and style icons like Bianca Jagger, Diane Keaton, Loulou de la Falaise—natural beauties with a strong individual style, but her main design influences are from the 60s: Ossie Clarke and her mother—Kaya Kayana, who was also part of the Swinging London set:

“My mom lived in London in the 60s and she worked for the Beatles store so she was really part of that the crazy clothing scene—and she did a lot, had a great career —I really love her stuff, she’s my favorite!”

Nina's mother, Kaya Kayana, in London during the 60s

There was no swinging London for Egli and her sister, though,.  By the time she was born, her mother Kaya had long moved back to Switzerland. Egli and her sister grew up near a forest above Lake Zurich, surrounded by the old photos and their mother’s wardrobe and constant creativity at home. But it’s no surprise that both daughters have found themselves in the fashion world—Egli’s sister is a textile designer.

Kaya and Nina in Zurich

In the future, Egli would love to try her hand at more expensive materials like gold and rubies:

” I love rubies! I really want to work with gold and make fairy tale jewelry—and go crazy with it! I loved those romantic Czech fairytale movies; they were a great inspiration… But it’s also very important to me that women can afford my stuff. So I would always keep this line, Toujours Toi, affordable.”

May the fashion sprites make it so.

To find out where you buy Toujours Toi or get more information about the collection (and Nina Egli) visit