In every woman’s wardrobe lies a box where she keeps her family’s heirlooms. A ring that her mother bought next to the necklace her grandmother wore to her own wedding. While these items represent her ancestors’ favourite jewellery findings, she also adds an item of what would become part of her daughter’s heirlooms.
Pearl necklaces, diamond earrings, and cocktail rings are always a fundamental part of every treasured box. While some trends come and go, a jewellery statement is a major investment that all women understand.
Norine Farah, Egypt’s promising fashion star, joined forces with a name that has managed to become a stable part of everyone’s heirloom box: Tony Vangelli. The duo collaborated to create a capsule collection of pure statement.
“I sat with the jeweller, Tony Vangelli from Christo Vangelli. We wanted to do a mini collection regardless of the exact theme. Accordingly, I came up with three different mood boards and we sat together to discuss the main direction. We both favoured the 1920’s art deco direction and that is how ‘Chicago’ came to life,” said Farah.
The capsule collection is made for true jewellery collectors that aim to capture attention with precious details. “Chicago” includes eight chunky pieces, including one choker, one necklace, and a few cocktail rings. Farah and Vangelli followed their inspiration to create pieces of valuable art that rouse to their standards.
“I have known Tony since I was almost 15 years old and back in Alexandria. He has been calling me for the past two years to do something together. Nonetheless, the initial idea was for me to design dresses to go with his jewellery and then organise a small cocktail event to launch both,” said Farah.
Despite Farah’s lack of expertise in the arena of jewellery design, she did not want to settle for the expected. Instead, she wanted to experiment with a new type of design and tap into a new market.
“I thought, why should we follow a traditional concept rather than create a non-traditional project, which was to create a mini collection with both of our collaborated ideas,” said Farah.
After a few weeks of research, the duo started pouring out their ideas to reach one theme and a few one-of-a-kind pieces. According to Farah, the collection only needed two months of studying and sketching as well as a month of production. “The overall process was very smooth; nonetheless, we faced challenges with a couple of pieces,” said Farah.
While Farah is a designer that never follows the herd, Vangelli is an experienced jeweller with a solid base of loyal clients. Accordingly, the two had to overcome a few creative discussions before choosing their direction.
“I wanted big, chunky pieces. Meanwhile, he believed that they would be too expensive due to their gold weight. Nonetheless, we only had one serious argument regarding one particular piece. I wanted to create a ring in a certain geometrical way and he thought that it would look ugly,” said Farah.
The controversial ring is one of the biggest items in the collection; meanwhile, it carries many details adorned with a rare hot pink stone. Despite Vangelli’s concerns, Farah managed to convince him to carry on with the design without any alterations to tone it down.
“I had to tell him that if it does not get sold, I will buy it. Accordingly, I won at the very end. He loved it when he saw the final result; it is actually one of his favourites,” said designer.
With that said, the two had to consider many aspects along the way. From the weight of final pieces to current trends and customers’ feedback, Farah and Vangelli had to use all of their knowledge and creative skills to reach “Chicago”.
“I do not wear jewellery quite often. I only wear statement pieces that I get every once and a while. They are always big and nice, and to me they are a true investment. I was infatuated with collar pins; nonetheless, they would have been too heavy so we could not move forward with them,” said the designer.
On the other hand, Farah found herself obliged to add a choker regardless of her personal preferences due to the market’s high demand. “I am not a big fan of chokers. They are overly done. It is a trend that needs to slow down. We added a choker because it is the season’s biggest jewellery trend and we had to add at least one of them,” said Farah.
As for the rings, they fairly dominated the largest part of the collection as they clearly represented the collection’s aesthetic statement.
“My second favourite type of jewellery is rings. I am not a big fan of earrings or necklaces. Rings always look good, such as when you are holding a glass or smoking a cigarette, they are always prominent. I am more of a simple person; accordingly, I believe that wearing one statement ring is quite enough,” said Farah.
The designer’s love for straight lines and architectural-inspired designs come out loud and clear through “Chicago”. According to Farah, she was never truly capable of demonstrating this aesthetic through clothes due to the market’s preferences; however, this capsule collection gave her the chance to finally follow a geometrical direction.
As for the stones, the duo used amethyst, emerald, coral and rare vintage stones that Vangelli’s father bought back in the 1980s. As described by the designer, the hot pink and yellow stones are semi-precious vintage finds that are not commonly sold nowadays.
“We have already received a lot of positive comments and many people like it. However, the jewellery industry has a major complication in the local market. When buying jewellery, the majority of consumers look at resale prices. They do not appreciate the price and importance of the design, concept, and brand name,” said the designer.
After her first experience with the local jewellery market, Farah found that clients have many questions related to the items’ weight in oppose to the brand’s name and the designs themselves.
“If you were to buy a high-end piece of jewellery, its price will probably be equivalent to two other gold items; nonetheless, the brand’s heritage and design are a major factor in the pricing along with the weight of gold and precious stones.” Farah added: “jewellery is difficult in Egypt; especially from a marketing perspective. The local market still does not fully understand stones and their real value.”
With that said, the two wanted to create true statement pieces that spoke to a very limited type of customer. Therefore, they only created one piece from each design. Meanwhile, Farah added that this collection is considered a tool to test the market before taking any related future steps.
“Tony was amazing. I gave the direction and then we designed everything together; it was a real collaboration. We did everything together; he used to add when I am stuck and vice versa,” said Farah.
Following her constant aesthetic, Farah designed this collection with a goal to create something that personally represented her not a collection that would generate mere profit.
“This collection took a lot of time and effort, and it was created with love. It is not a commercial collection that aims for direct sales, as it is more of my personal take on jewellery. I would personally buy the one Tony said would end up being ugly. It is my all-time favourite piece of jewellery,” said Farah.
On the other hand, 2016 has truly been Farah’s year, with her many projects, top-selling collections, and a star-studded list of clients. “During 2016, I have tried boxing shorts for the boxing team, swimsuits, belly dancing costumes, upholstery fabrics, and now jewellery,” said Farah.
After the continuous track of achievements, the designer now aims to try new types of design and reach to a wider spectrum of clients. “I would love to experiment with shoes and bags; yet, I do not have the time to find the right factory where I can produce. Meanwhile, I am currently scouting for ready to wear factories to create my own fabrics and manufacture my first collection,” said Farah.