Fashion

A Conversation With Mariam Yehya

Egyptian Designer Mariam Yehya started off her career in marketing as a brand communications strategist, but soon came to find that her passion truly lied in designing clothes. Deriving from a family of designers, Yehya automatically picked up the pace, hence creating her very own line “Mrs Keepa” and channeling her irreverent taste and talent into her debuting vintage collection.

Azyaamode sat down with the Dubai-based fashion maven to find more about her new line!

You used to work as a media professional in Dubai. Can you tell us about the defining moment when you knew you wanted to be a fashion designer?

I was on my honeymoon walking in the streets of Florence with my husband when I noticed a big shop with a beautiful vitrine designed with playful and colorful fabrics.  I felt the fabrics were talking to me saying “ make of me a design”. This image didn’t leave my mind for almost 2 days and it revived all my dreams of fashion designing. I couldn’t stop talking about it to my husband who looked at me with a BIG smile and said, “ Mariam, I think it’s about time you pursue your dream, I believe you were made for fashion.” I woke up the next day emailing my company with my resignation and shortly after I registered online with Esmod Dubai for their 1-year program.

You got into fashion by putting together an Instagram page with over 60k followers. What made you to go into the fashion world and cross over the influencer/designer bridge?

I never considered myself as an influencer as all my posts are organic with no endorsements or ads. Plus I don’t have a crazy number of followers. I used my instagram page as a marketing tool for the launch of my own brand. Its role was to share with my followers genuine styling tips and keep them posted on what’s happening with my line. Instagram played a major role in my fashion career switch, as the appreciation and support I received from my followers was a great push.

We assume you developed your fashion enthusiasm at Esmod Dubai. How did this experience affect your career?

Actually my fashion enthusiasm started way back, before Esmod and specifically when I was 10 years old, as I come from a family where design and styling runs in our blood. My mother uniquely designed and sewed all of our clothes -a talent she had developed from her mother. She also helped me develop a sense of fashion and an eye for color mixing and styling at a very early stage in my life. My sister is also a renowned bridal fashion designer; she has been awarded the Middle East’s number 3 bridal designer and was recently featured on CNN @maisonyeya. I minored in fashion at university and enrolled in ESMOD to complete my studies and learn all the technical sides of the fashion industry, like sewing, pattern making, fashion marketing and much more.

Could you tell us more about Mrs.Keepa, the brand?

Mrs. Keepa is a pret-a-porter line, of which 30 % is pret-couture; it’s a Boho luxe brand with a 70s era inspiration. The Brand was named after my husband’s nickname Keepa, as he is famous for his goal keeping skills.

You are inspired by boho-chic trends, architectural concepts and childlike patterns. How do you mix-and-match each and every one of these concepts, creating the perfect 70s-inspired combination?

I reflected the 70s mood on all concepts through the selection of the right fabrics. I chose the warm colors for the modern Dubai inspired designs and played a lot with the styling to make sure it all reflects the same mood.

Can you describe the Mrs.Keepa woman in one sentence?

A woman who creates her own edge, dictates her very own trends and is confident of her personal style.

Who inspires you the most in fashion?

I love the fashion diversity and edginess of Rhianna.

Would you say that your daughter played a significant role in your newfound collection?

Absolutely! She was the main inspiration behind most of the collection’s pieces. I came to know I was pregnant when I was sketching for the FW016 collection and I was traveling a lot to get fabrics; so I decided to take advantage of the travels and start my baby shopping and that is when new sketches started to take over. I was so taken by the French baby clothes brands; they are very rich in fabrics, warm in colors and have a twist in their designs to make them playful and happy. I was so inspired by this direction that it became my guidelines for FW016 collection designs.

After launching your first collection, what‘s next for you? What is your ultimate goal?

I have Big plans for Mrs. Keepa, but I am enjoying taking things one-step at a time. At this stage, I want to focus on designing without having to stress about what is next. Luckily I am starting from a good place where there already is an existing brand awareness and great market exposure, thanks to Instagram. For now, I am giving it my all and hopefully the brand will evolve organically.

 

Cindy Menassa

Share article

Interview with Lucia Boscaini, Bulgari’s Brand and Heritage Curator

After joining the Bulgari Marketing Department in 2001, Lucia Boscaini deepened her knowledge of the house’s iconic designs and stylistic evolution. In 2007, she became Marketing Director and made sure to apply Bulgari’s core values to all product categories. Appointed Head of the Events and Heritage department in 2010, she celebrated the house’s creative codes through happenings dedicated to clients and press.

And in 2014, she opened a new chapter in Bulgari’s story by being appointed Brand and Heritage Curator and planning exhibitions. Luckily for us, we had the opportunity to interview her while in Moscow attending the “Tribute to Femininity” exhibition and here’s what she had to say.

Why did you choose Moscow as a destination for this exhibition?

We were interested in Moscow because it’s a beautiful, cool city. It is so much more modern than I remember it from when I came a long time ago, so we decided to host this exhibition here. Also, this museum is not only one of the top museums of the world, but also one of the most incredible and respected museums for jewelry exhibitions. In addition, they have expertise in contemporary jewelry, and in the last few years they have hosted some of the most interesting jewelry exhibitions like Cartier and Buccellati. So, to me it was really natural to look for this opportunity.

When did the planning for this exhibition start?

The first contact began 3 years ago and I was really impressed with how well they knew our jewelry. After taking a look at the pieces and the plan, they accepted the proposal to host this exhibition and they suggested that we identify a new angle, so we decided to dedicate a special and completely new archive for this exhibition. Their assistance was not only restricted to the selection of the pieces, but went much beyond this because there is the historical background related to each jewel and how the jewels that we see today used to be worn in the past. This exhibition is not only about the jewelry on display, it’s also about their story and the ladies who wore them, and this is obvious through the carefully-prepared setting that showcases them.

As Bulgari’s brand and heritage curator, what is your mission?

Curating an exhibition is a long process of study. We have to really be careful about not being redundant and banal, which is not easy. It’s usually quite a long process as the preparation of this exhibition took a full year – this might not seem a long time but this year took our full energy while choosing the most meaningful pieces from Bulgari’s heritage collection. These pieces belonged to private owners and negotiating with them takes time.

Who takes care of the negotiation with the owners? How do they usually react?

The situations between owners are very different. Usually we succeed in getting their trust to take their pieces for the exhibition then return them. Some lenders feel proud and want their name to be mentioned next to the piece. Although the pieces that are exhibited gain additional value, some refuse to lend them because they want to keep them in the family. There are also collectors that are so mad about jewelry that they buy jewelry with a story, and they love them to a point that they refuse to sell them, and prefer to keep them for themselves without caring about their value.

Can you tell us about a piece that you would really like to have in your collection and you’re still searching for?

There is a piece from the collection of a very special Spanish lady. She is a collector of artworks and a very interesting person and she has beautiful jewels mainly from the eighties that are very colorful and  beautiful.

Why did you choose to display these pieces specifically?

It’s a matter of our own style and Bulgari’s DNA. The color combinations, the cabochon cut, the quality of the stones…. Everything that makes Bulgari’s style so unique. Every single detail is taken into consideration.

Is there a budget for the pieces you get back?

Yes there is a budget. For example, the Elizabeth Taylor auction was pretty memorable as we had to go through a lot of negotiations. We had a very specific budget for the pieces we wanted to acquire.

Is there a special relationship between the jewelry pieces you choose to exhibit and the city that is hosting the exhibition?

As I said before, Moscow is a very cool and modern city. Despite the fact that this museum is very traditional, we wanted to make sure that the city is one that is ready to receive such an exhibition. We wanted this exhibition to be completely different from the previous ones and we wanted it to receive appreciation from the visitors.

Did you start working on a new exhibition in another city?

Yes of course, there are a lot of beautiful cities in mind. We would love to host an exhibition in Dubai but this is not confirmed yet because we are still on an on-going negotiation with interesting museums that I can’t disclose now. Our plans are quite ambitious.

How many pieces of the Bulgari collection travel to every city other than the ones you add that are linked to the history of the place?

All our jewels are exhibited in Rome because it’s our home city but of course they travel around the world and we select the pieces that will be sent to a certain exhibition according to the theme of the latter.

How many historical pieces are fully owned by Bulgari?

We own approximately 800 pieces, from jewelry to silver pieces, watches or objects such as secret cases. We would really like to buy at least a few hundred more. We are trying to do so through our connections with the Middle East.

Is there a possibility for the pieces to date back to the very old times when the pieces were not branded?

Of course, it often happens and this is why we have the potential of checking what we have and it takes at least a couple of months to validate its authenticity. We analyze so many details such as the manufacturing, the type of stones etc.

Share article

A Conversation with Bulgari’s Creative Director, Lucia Silvestri

Last week, and for the very first time, Moscow welcomed a Bulgari exhibition in the Russian capital entitled “Tribute to Femininity”. While celebrating this sparkling event with the Roman house, Azyaamode had the opportunity to meet Bulgari’s Creative Director Lucia Silvestri. To be honest, we can never get enough of her passion for gemstones – which we discovered while she was in Dubai for the launch of the “Festa” high jewelry collection. However, this time was all about Bulgari’s history.

As we discovered the jewelry pieces on display, we got the chance to dive more into the house’s values and creative assets.

1 – What is your main source of inspiration when creating jewelry?

Bulgari’s archive is my main source, but we always make sure to present new ideas.

2 – Can we say that Bulgari has already worked with every single kind of gemstone that exists on the market today and what is challenging when it comes to the creation of new pieces?

I think we have used all the stones that we can possibly work with. My challenge is to find new stones to use in our new designs and this is not easy at all nowadays. If I find a stone, I have to make sure that it is usable, valuable and beautiful color-wise. We also have to make sure that it is available in quantities, not only to be used in one, two or three pieces of jewelry. In other words, it has to be rare but not so rare that we can’t do anything with it. I remember when we started to use Mandarin garnets, nobody knew about them but now, they have become popular and everybody wants to use them. 

3 – How many stones do you think Bulgari has discovered over the years?

I don’t think Bulgari discovered the stones but rather discovered the way they can be used. Nobody other than Bulgari knew how to do it. For example, stones like Mandarin garnet or tanzanite are ones that everybody knows about, but the way Bulgari uses them and combines them with other gems is what makes them so unique.

4 – Between diamonds and rubies, what is your favorite?

Diamonds are a girl’s best friends but since I love colors, I would definitely choose rubies.

5 – What is your favorite stone from the newly discovered ones?

Spinel is my favorite; it looks like a ruby and it is amazing. It is small but the quality is one-of-a-kind. Nobody knows its value because it’s impossible to find a similar one.

6 – How do you find new gems?

I hunt gems everywhere; I discover and travel a lot. And with our connections, we can create something different because we can work directly with the cutters and the owners of mines.

7 – Can you order a specific cut for you as well?

It’s difficult to tell them to cut the stone the way we want because they want to keep its weight. I can give them some suggestions and now, they trust me so they call me to come and see. We work together and for me this is part of a new experience, that I love so much.

8 – Between commercial pieces and high jewelry pieces, what sells more in Bulgari’s world?

The quality and the creativity. When we talk about commercial pieces in general, we would like to have quality and creativity even if it’s in a small piece.

9 – What stone do you think Middle Eastern women are attracted to the most besides diamonds? Do you think they are more flexible about buying them nowadays?

They definitely love diamonds and they are more flexible, especially with Bulgari. They also love topaz and malachite for instance. So, hot stones are really covetable in this market.

10 – Are you working on a new line?

I am starting to work on a new high jewelry collection.

Share article

Bvlgari’s Timepiece Novelties Through the Eyes of Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani

Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani is no stranger to the essence of Italian design. With a bachelor degree in industrial design, learning how to look beyond the aesthetics of individual objects came naturally to him, as he began his career at Bvlgari and joined the watch design theme in 2001.

After his career in Fiat Style Center in Turin and many years of experience in watchmaking at Bvlgari, he explains that cars and watches share a similar attraction and emotions: “The shape of a vehicle must suggest its use, its performance, and in some cases a dream; watches have the same goals but with the added, perhaps harder, challenge of fitting all this in a space 40mm across”.

Today, as the Director of the Bvlgari Watches Design Center, what are his thoughts about the house’s novelties? Let’s find out!

Tell us a little bit about Bvlgari’s novelties for 2018.

This year, we will continue to develop our icon pillars – Octo, Serpenti and LVCEA. These pillars in particular are the most important because they are able to explain the brand in a very important way. For men, we enriched the Octo Finissimo family with two new versions, one in steel and the other in rose gold. Moreover, we continue to introduce new world records through the Finissimo Tourbillon, which is the thinnest automatic watch in the world. As for the ladies, we continue to develop the Serpenti and LVCEA collections. For LVCEA, we introduced the new Tubogas bracelet and a new version of the skeleton movement. These two elements come from our heritage and our archive. In fact, Bulgari introduced the Tubogas bracelet in the forties and for the first time this year we introduce it to this collection. It is something that changes a little bit the way to wear an everyday watch made by jewelry makers. The Tubogas bracelet is very simple and soft, and it is almost the same bracelet that you can find on the Serpenti collection, but the inside spring was replaced with an adjustable link. When it comes to the new version of the skeleton movement, the letters are placed on the movement from the dial’s side, so they act like indexes. And finally, the Serpenti Tubogas and the Serpenti Twist Your Time will be also enriched with new executions.

How much of a role do aesthetics play in the decision of making a new watch, be it for a man or for a woman?

There are two different ways of thinking. Men’s watches are driven by technical features and performance, while women’s watches are driven more by taste and beautiful shapes. So the approach is totally different.

Serpenti is one of Bvlgari’s most iconic watch lines. What is the vision behind it and how does it speak to today’s woman?

Bulgari is a different and unique brand with a lot of science in its archive. Our passion is to play with this kind of science in an unconventional way. Speaking of the Serpenti watch, today we have almost seven different ways to wear it and each time for us was an opportunity to reinvent the brand through science. Each time it is different, starting with the Tubogas and the idea of jewelry pieces to the secret watch and so on. Each time for us is a new way to discover the brand.

In your opinion, which Serpenti is the most successful one and the easiest to wear?

I think the Serpenti Tubogas in steel and gold is the bestseller.

Tell us about LVCEA.

LVCEA is the brand’s new baby. It is just 44 or 45 years old. It is an everyday watch made by jewelry makers and it is even more difficult for us because Bvlgari has different ways to play with shapes. Of course, it finds inspiration in the Serpenti.

Obviously the bracelet is key in every watch, but looking at every watch, it is the face that makes it attractive. How much of that comes into the creation of the watch?

I think it is very important. You have to find the right balance because if you put a lot of attention on the dial, you need a very simple bracelet and a very simple case. If you put the attention on the bracelet, then maybe you need the dial to be very simple. Otherwise, the design will look exaggerated and the clients will receive a lot of information in just one product, which scares them.

What about the high jewelry watches?

High jewelry watches are a very important segment for us. They are the core of the brand. And for the high jewelry watches, our focus is on Serpenti because we will continue to nourish this line starting from the high end. In fact, it is one of the unique features of this brand, because for the Serpenti, we produced just the head of the snake in Switzerland and the rest of the body of the snake comes from our manufacturer in Italy. So this is a perfect combination between the Swiss watchmaking know-how, because we are talking about a Swiss made watch, and the Italian design and craftsmanship.

Visit the Photo Gallery and take a look at Bvlgari’s new timepieces.

 

Mirella Haddad

Share article

Brighten Up Your Day with Gucci’s Charming Eyewear Collection

Sponsored by Gucci

 

Forget everything you thought you knew about glasses, because Gucci’s Spring-Summer 2018 Eyewear collection is as eclectic as eyewear can be.

Sunglasses with crystals
Fluorescent sunglasses

Rectangular-frame acetate sunglasses
All by Gucci

 

Alessandro Michele has long championed the frilly attitude of fashion, what with his abundant exploration of all-things colorful, eccentric and opulent creativity. But the House’s Creative Director has instilled the Spring-Summer 2018 collection with a whole lot more than what meets the eyes – literally.

Sunglasses with crystals
By Gucci

 

Fine executions and sophisticated details come alive in a series of unique eyewear, all of which embody the eccentric spirit of Gucci. With colors as enchanting as magic and shapes as mystical as ever, the collection beams with a certain elegance brought up to very “vintag-y” proportions. Call it the Gucci effect.

Square-frame sunglasses
By Gucci

 

His creativity has indeed reached new heights, taking the fashion scene through the joys of bold proportions, visionary masks, classic shapes and heart-shaped styles with colorful multifaceted lenses.

Square-frame glitter sunglasses
By Gucci

 

Gucci’s futuristic designs have always harmoniously blended with bits and pieces of the retro world – think nods to the seventies and the eighties in the best kind of way. And so, this particular collection holds essentially true to this statement, offering fun and unexpected details from here, embellished jewels from there and a whole lot of shimmers from everywhere.

Square frame sunglasses
By Gucci

 

Round-frame sunglasses with metal
Cat eye glitter acetate sunglasses
All by Gucci

 

Square-frame sunglasses
Fuchsia pink sunglasses
Round-frame sunglasses with metal

All by Gucci
 

Heart-frame sunglasses
By Gucci

 

 

Article written by Cindy Menassa
Share article

IWC Schaffhausen through David Seyffer

Since he started his career at IWC Schaffhausen in 2007, David Seyffer got immersed in the history of the house to become a reference in this field. This actually comes as no surprise for a doctoral graduate in History of Natural Science, Technics and History.

At the 2018 edition of the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, Azyaamode sat down with David Seyffer, IWC Curator Museum, to discuss the novelties, the importance of tradition for the House and much more.

Can you tell us a bit about this year’s novelties?

This year, there were 28 new references that we presented at the booth and for me as a historian, it is very important to say that this is very much related to our heritage. I think it fits perfectly in the 150 years. So this is great for us, because when the design was made for these watches, the team of creative center came to us and wanted to experience the watches. They wanted to touch and feel. It was absolutely a very proud moment for the team museum. And if you looked in the booth at the vintage watches and saw the new collection, you will understand how much it was inspired by heritage.

As a person who specializes more in the history of the IWC watches, how important is tradition for the House?

It is very, very important. From a business point of view for example, we have all the numbers and records of all the watches. So if somebody wants to know how old their watch is, they can bring it to the Department and we can check the records and make a certificate of authenticity. That way, you can learn more about your watch even if it is 150 years old. On the other hand, we can provide information for example, if you are writing a story about a certain IWC topic that interests you. The management of information related to history is one of the very important things that we do in our department.

As the IWC Museum curator, how do you make such a historical place interesting and appealing to the young generation?

This is a tricky thing because you know, the young generation is used to getting informed and entertained all the time. I think in the future we have to pay attention to that and maybe have scientific infotainment, especially since the first few seconds are really important to win their interest. Then, they may stay longer or go deeper to get more information. At the museum we use a more traditional kind of approach. We have monitors, but also two years ago we introduced an application on the AppStore where you can download our audio files. This way, you can check them on your smartphone and this may have helped us in taking the first step towards attracting the younger generation and raising awareness. It is very important to share the information when people really want to learn more.

In your opinion, what makes IWC watches as timeless as they look?

I think this is due to their very basic design. The Portugieser watch is one of the best examples. When the watches were first launched in the 1930s with a pocket watch movement, it was very important to have the design of the dial and the case looking like a pocket watch to preserve its traditional style, so that when people are thinking about pocket watches they think of it. In fact, it is very similar to the old vintage watches and in some sense, you don’t really know if it is from our time now, or if it is a vintage piece. Sometimes you can go into a new kind of design because at the end of the day, the avant-garde of the day becomes the classical item of the future and the collectors will love it.

 

Mirella Haddad

Share article

A Conversation with Farah Sultan, the Designer Behind Arnaa

The ingenuity of Kuwaiti shoe designer Farah Sultan lies in her ability to turn something as typical as “shoes” to perfect works-of-art. After mastering the shoemaking process at the Arsutoria school in Milan, Sultan took her expertise to new heights. And hence, Arnaa was born, a brand that vaunts both character and elegance.

And as her work features a whole lot of creativity – from the exceptional savoir-faire to the materials used, the unique craftsmanship and the wondrous optical illusions – we decided to have a little conversation with the successful designer to talk about her inspirations, her style and her most recent collection.

Your shoe design career first kicked off in 2015. Now, two years later, how has your style evolved?

My style is still the same, but my inspiration changes with every collection. I have been experimenting with different materials.

Arnaa has always been about the fierce, magnetic, determined and entrepreneurial woman who is comfortable with being the center of attention.

Tell us more about your recent collection. What inspired you while designing it?

My collection boasts nature-inspired designs. I have combined delicate wooden details and finishing with modern shapes and premium materials, as to juxtapose the best of nature’s aesthetic appeal and innovative craftsmanship techniques in terms of luxury shoe-making. A spectacular artwork of geometric wooden blocks is one of the main features in Arnaa’s collection.

What is your favorite design from the collection? 

I love all my designs! I wouldn’t have a shoe design presented without absolutely and wholesomely loving it.

What has been the most challenging aspect of your business?

There are many challenges in every business. Fashion is too fast, and I have been recently doing lots of research aimed at reducing Arnaa’s environmental footprint.

How would you describe your shoe brand Arnaa?

Extraordinary with its unusual and unexpected details that surprise and delight.

Elegant with its silhouettes that are refined, timeless and above all flattering on the foot.

Bold with its statement and recognizable footwear that dress up an outfit for the confident woman.

Timeless with its combination of style and comfort, fit for the modern woman who needs a 24/7 wardrobe.

Any upcoming endeavors on the horizon?

Hmmm, I would say step inside the world of Arnaa, as many exciting endeavors are happening every day.

 

Cindy Menassa

Share article