Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Peek Inside Kabiri

Nathalie Kabiri 2. Henriette Lofstrom 3. and 4. Cindy Chao 5. Kabiri in Covent Garden 6. Arik Kastan 7. Gala Curious 8. Cindy Chao 9. Gala Curious 10. Henriette Lofstrom 11. Vincente Gracia 12. Kabiri at Marylebone 13. Jada 14. Sahani 15. Vincente Gracia 16. Sou Brette 17. Umane Paris 18. Vincente Gracia

There’s Jada from Istanbul and Arik Kastan from Israel whose pieces feature understated design and refined use of pink gold. Then there are Gala Curious from Australia and Sou Brette from Thailand with fascinating shapes and a glamorous feel. Henriette Lofstrom from the U.K. is known for her geometric shapes and Deco feel, Sahani by Jenny Mercian is known for theatrical costume pieces while Cindy Chao from Taipei stands out for her opulent jewels that are small art masterpieces. Young talents to watch for next season include Kismet whose pieces are delicate and precious and Akong London who has a fun fashion appeal.

These young names in jewelry who stand out for their artistry and creativity are just a few of Nathalie Kabiri’s favorites. In 2004, the intuitive Kabiri opened her first London jewelry store in Marylebone. «The idea was to fill a void in the jewelry world. To create a place that wasn’t an art gallery but that was a space to bring together entire collections full of new creative ideas and a high level of design. The designers I choose have personality, an identity. They are not yet well known, and for this reason they often choose to sell exclusively through us».

Kabiri has its finger on the pulse of the jewelry world and the two boutiques serve as a launching pad for independent designers. At the same time, they also feature a few big names dealing in ultra-precious jewels. In this small enclave dedicated to fine jewelry – with jewels realized exclusively for Nathalie – some of the standout names include Spanish designer Vicente Gracia, whose imaginative jewels are staples in the windows of the boutiques in Covent Garden and Marylebone. Then there’s French designer Umane Paris, and Nathalie points out that she loves the chic elegance of the explosive colors.

What’s coming up for next season? «Rock-and-roll and style icon symbols are losing ground while there’s a growing trend toward surrealistic design. Pink gold is big in terms of fine jewelry as are cabochon cuts and colored stones worked in an experimental way, like Cindy Chao does». Today there are about 50 designers that are part of Nathalie’s highly select 'lineup' in the Kabiri boutiques – 35 create pieces that are more fashion-oriented while 15 are focused on more precious pieces. These are jewels that are appreciated by those looking for something a bit more 'artistic'.

Perhaps this is why the Covent Garden store tends toward the more experimental and the original store in Marylebone is more focused on luxury. Kabiri has two new ambitious projects on the horizon. There’s the jewelry line designed by Nathalie herself and plans for the opening of two new stores in the next few months in two other neighborhoods of the city. A boutique concept that today knows no rivals.


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