Parisian born Shourouk took the jewellery world by storm with her eponymous label in 2008. She speaks to Sharon Carvalho about inspiration, design and contemporary aesthetics
How would you define yourself?
In one sentence, a globe-trotter that likes bling a little too much!
I would say that my love affair with jewellery began early. During my childhood, I was already playing with my grandmother’s diamond bracelets. Later on, my different experiences in fashion houses made me understand that jewellery was my vehicle for artistic expression.
I love to play with contrasts and colors. I’m inspired by travels and I feel I have to use my designs to show what I discover. Folk and Native Art bewitch me, particularly powerful Mexican pieces, masks and paintings. It seems habitual for me to capture all those forms and colourful objects of everyday and twist them by giving them a sophisticated touch.
For me, it is more than jewellery; it is all about the details that create a piece that is perfect from all angles. I make jewellery because it makes me feel like a sculptor and at the end they stand alone as pieces of art work.
Describe a day in the life of Shourouk?
My creative spirit starts when I wake up. I stay in my bed for a few minutes because I am most relaxed at this point of time and my best ideas come to me. I am not too much of an agenda oriented person so these few moments serve as a debriefing for me. After this, I go to the office with a cup of tea and sit down with my team. I love working with them, especially when new samples arrive because that is when I’m most nervous and excited.
What is your design process?
I like to be surrounded by beautiful objects that I bring back from my travels. A collection always starts from a new technique, which drives the creative process. For me, the most important part is to pay attention to details, which I feel I am really sensible with. Our pieces are all made by hand, mostly using embroidery techniques. The last step, that is most crucial to me, is the placement of the final piece of each product. This has to happen by hand and in our studio in Paris so that we get to see how each piece fits and we get to test it before we start productions.I consider a piece finished when the embroidery is done and mostly when I know that 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 make sure that it is sufficiently harmonious and comfortable at the same time.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I get inspired in my travels. I can find it in an object, an image or even a foreign dish! When I come back, I always bring back strange objects, fabrics or candles from my trips and then I work with my team to illustrate the new colors, shapes or materials that we want in the new collection. I love to share with my team and try to discover and understand new materials and new color combinations. This is a crucial phase that defines the future of a collection; this is where it crystallizes and makes sense. It is an exciting and scary moment at the same time and a crucial part of your success as a brand. I think that mixing contrasting inspirations is the best way to make something happen!
What is your view on the Middle Eastern client?
Middle East women are the perfect melting pot between flamboyance and culture. I love the way they play with this contraposition of fashion and tradition.
Their creativity and their way of expressing themselves in a different way makes them much more interesting as women. I love how they use different cuts and designs on their abaya that become a fashion statement and the way they use jewellery or make-up. I think they have a lot of coquetterie.
Middle East, as a market, has evolved into one of the most vibrant ones. Dubai and luxury are nearly synonymous and comparable to New York, London or Paris.
That’s why they are so feminine and fashionable!
Tell us about your relationship with Zayan and S*uce.
S*uce was my first client and opened me to the Arab world.They capture my spirit and my sense of colour. They are trendy, stylish, sparkling, modern and fashionable.
Zayan shares the vision of the modern woman. We both want to create stylish and trendy pieces but with classical lines to give them elegance that can be worn by every woman. I love the way she mixes textures, plays with transparencies and works in colour like me. We are at the same point of contemporary and creative aesthetic, we have the same passion for our work and share the same view of getting out of the box and just doing what you feel.
How did the cosmetic collaboration with Sephora come about?
It was always my dream to have my own make up collection and thanks to Sephora my dream came true! We started following the color codes of Shourouk and swimming in the kitschy vibe of this period to finally create this capsule collection that can go from morning to night.
What is your advice for upcoming designers?
Go for it, people want to be amazed!
What next for you and the brand?
Well, the one thing I can tell you is that I’m launching a bridal line soon but it’s all real hush hush so finger’s crossed!
What is your favourite stone to work with?
I don’t really have a favourite stone but I like how you can play with Swarovski crystals and take them to unexpected levels.
What is always in your handbag?
Lipsticks! I have way too many of them scattered all over the place, even in my kitchen!
Favourite holiday spots?
Dubai, because there’s always something new to discover and inspires me a lot. India, because I love the colorful chaos. Italy, that has now become my second home.
Fashion pet peeve?
I hate the sarouel. They are like weird jogging anti-sexy pants.