Aspiring fashion and jewelry designers oftentimes argue that in Egypt, realizing their dreams of design is a sheer impossibility. Design institutes here do not offer quality instruction, and production is always a nightmare; good workmanship is oftentimes not guaranteed.
But along comes a brand named Koukina by fledgling jewelry designer Chloe Hobeika. Still in its early stages of producing a limited number of pieces, it nevertheless shows a lot of artistic originality and promise. It is testament to the education and production abilities that are still present in the city.
It was the encouragement of Hokbeika’s friend Yasmin Yeya — a designer who has appeared on Lebanon’s fashion reality show Mission Fashion and who now sells her new line on online fashion boutique www.style-treasure.com — that suggested to Hobeika she takes courses at that Cairo-based design center that Yeya had first learned at.
Always feeling the urge to be creative and produce things by hand, Hobeika stumbled upon the realization that jewelry design was her calling when traveling.
“I took a jewelry design course here in Cairo a year and a half ago. I wasn’t working and I thought that it would be fun. I was taking 3-hour classes everyday for 4 months. We learned how to flatten the silver, how to make threads out of it, how to weld metals, how to saw designs on silver sheets with a small saw. It’s not that simple, it takes years of experience to be accurate and professional. But it’s definitely fun,” says Hobeika.
“I was inspired my Greek jewelry in the Greek islands and other designer jewelry in the South of France,” she notes. Hobeika, though born and raised in Egypt to a Greek-Lebanese mother and French father, is inspired by the colors of nature from her respective origins, and the symbol of the dove.
“Koukina is my nick name. Danielle [my best friend] always calls me that.” And just as her name Chloe reflects romance, poetry and femininity, as inspired by the Greek myth of that name, Hobeika’s jewelry melds an interesting play of shape, proportion and materials.
Stones set as clusters of beads, and gold bars with sharp angular lines; they look different to other brands in Cairo. Her whimsy is clearly exemplified by the size of the earrings and the delicacy of the details set upon it, a visual contradiction of sorts. The most interesting thing about Hobeika’s designs is the dove which is present in almost all of her unique one of a kind pieces, visual reminder of the symbolism behind the bird: “Its image stills our worried and troubled thoughts, and shows us how to find renewal in the silence of our minds,” explains Hobeika.
Her colors are beautifully paired with the various metals. Nothing is brash or vulgar, and each piece appears so delicate.
“I use semi precious stones, silver and gold plated and red gold plated [metals]. My favorites are bright colors, I love all kinds of blues and turquoise is my favorite. I like playing with colors as I used to paint a lot and I feel it’s a continuation of my paintings, of exotic places I’d like to visit.”
“I like any kind of jewelry or fashion item in general that makes a woman look feminine and elegant. I get inspired by nature, birds and trees, flowers, the sand and the sea, the sky. Every time I design something, I feel like dreaming of a place I’d like to be and the sounds I want to hear, the smells. It’s the best part of jewelry making.”
Koukina is available in Loolies Boutique: 37 Ahmad Hishmat St. Zamalek, Ground Floor Apartment.
Telephone: +2 0167772201 or +202 27353453