The list of illustrious fans is truly some – thing: style icons such as Michelle Obama, Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga, Sarah Jessica Parker and Anna Dello Russo all wear jewellery from Shourouk. The name “Shourouk“ could not have been better chosen, it comes from the Arabic and means “sunrise“. And the hip jewellery is as radiant as the rising sun.
Whether it is earrings, necklaces, bracelets or rings, the imposing pieces with their folklore design are hard to overlook with their large, glittering stones – often in neon colours. Nothing for ladies that favour a more restrained style, but an absolute trend accessory for confident fashionistas. The opulent necklaces from Shourouk in particular embody statement pieces at their best. Behind the label, founded in 2007, is the French jewellery designer Shourouk Rhaiem . The creative Parisian with Tunisian roots is currently turning the fashion world on its head with her colourful, Baroque designs. Her collaboration with Swarovski is a major success and her own collections also delight those that appreciate grandezza. THE FINEST EMIRATES spoke to Shourouk Rhaiem about her incredible career.
You studied fashion design, worked for John Galliano, Roberto Cavalli and Chloé. Why did you switch from fabric to jewellery?
Shourouk Rhaiem: All started during my training in fashion, design has allowed me to discover the embroidery on clothes, which was a real blow of heart for me. This idea of jewels’ clothes is the origin of my desire to create bold and bling jewels, easy to wear by every woman and giving them a unique style. The jewels were obvious to me, I’ve always been fasci – nated by jewellery and crystals! Later on, my different experiences in fashion houses like Chloé, Galliano, Roberto Cavalli finished convincing me of my true inclination for Luxury accessories, on all levels. I was ready to start with my dream; I felt was the right moment! I met Pierre Lasquier and he share Shourouk’s vision, then, together we create an exciting brand.
Where does your fondness for colourful, exotic designs come from?
Shourouk Rhaiem:My love for fondness flamboyance comes from India, my main inspiration. As a child, I discovered the Bollywood movies, the colours, the rich outfits, the amazing choreography then as a grown up I went to India, and felt in love with this contrasted country. From the Maharadjas palaces to the shantytown, inspiration is always around the corner; they have a proper kitsch culture combine to a rich history, which is an inexhaustible source of inspiration for a designer. I become fascinated with their traditional knowledge in embroidery, their strongest culture in ornaments, garments, and jewellery and in the opulence and flamboyance of the Maharandia Jewellery. I wanted to recreate it in my jewels and that’s also why we work with Swarovsky crystals, because there crystals are the closest thing to an original gems on the crown of Rajput Maharandia.
Bling and high fashion – how do they go together?
Shourouk Rhaiem: Luxury and high fashion decision is because I grow up in the “Maisons of Couture” I have beside me lot of different experiences in Chloé, Galliano, Roberto Cavalli and they finished convincing me of my true inclination for Luxury accessories, on all levels. Also the luxury comes because I love to work with precious materials and mix them with to some less noble ones. And bling, as I said it comes from the opulence and flamboyance of Maharadja Jewelry. It’s all about shinny decadence and Swarovski crystals!
What inspires you?
Shourouk Rhaiem: Borned in Paris, I feel like a true parisian girl. I like the classicism of the city mixed with the big melting-pot of cultures you find in each area. I like to have a stroll by the Centre Pompidou, the contemporary art museum, this is my area, I find a lot of my materials there and I like this edgy atmosphere. Moreover, my family is originally from Nabeul, a city famous for its embroidery knowledge. I’ve learned many techniques there and have always find the traditional Tunisian garment really inspiring. Besides I have a vivid memory of my grand-mother, pulling her jewellery box out of her wardrobe for big occasions, going through her rings, bangles, earrings and necklaces. The smell of the hairspray, the hit of the hairdryer, the make up, the perfume, all this femi – nine effervescence was fascinating and I think, led me to design jewels.
Shourouk Rhaiem: First of all, as I said, I like to be surrounded by beautiful objects, I collect books, images, vintage head – pieces, I always bring something back from my trips. It can be Indian bangles I bought on a market in Bombay, or vintage carafes from Thailand. Starting from this, I manipulate my materials, I do some sketches but it’s more about playing with the crystals. A collection always starts from a new technique, which is driving the creative process. For me the most important part of a piece is the fact to pay attention to details, I am really sensible with it. Our pieces are all made by hand, mostly using techniques of embroideries. What I always required is to made one final piece for each product by hand in our studio in Paris, because we want to see exactly how the piece is going to fit, it gives us the occasion to test the designs before starting the production. I consider that a piece is finished when the embroidery is done and mostly when I know there is not one crystal I would like to move. The final design is decided after several fittings on a person of my team in order to be sure that it is sufficiently harmonious and comfortable at the same time. How important is success to you? Shourouk Rhaiem: I cannot say that sucess is not important but it’s not all about success! My goal achieved was to create Shourouk and make it grow. I work in what motivate and challenge me every day, what I like the most about my work is the creative process, and mostly the moment of experimentation at the beginning of a collection when everything is still possible. It’s so satisfying the fact that season after season’s I can see my collections touching more women in the wordl and just when you work in what passionates you and the people loves what you do, there’s no better sensation, I feel self-realizated!
Interview: Petra Dietz
Photos: © Shourouk Paris FRANCE