Whether it’s her WELL-TRAVELED LIFE or fine jewellery line, the GLAMOROUS DESIGNER believes that everything’s better with a DOSE OF DRAMA.
The jewellery design maven talks theatre and theatrical accessories
When jewellery designer and socialite Sabine Getty (née Ghanem) married billionaire Joseph Getty in 2015, she hosted a flamboyant Les Liaisons Dangereuses costume party in Rome. The next morning, she walked the aisle of Santi Apostoli basilica in a hooded Schiaparelli haute couture cape with an embroidered gold sun stretched across the back. Naturally, the Lebanese/Egyptian jeweller credits the theatre as her first love. “I’m obsessed, and go to the theatre every night when I’m in Paris, my favourite place in the world by far,” says Getty.
And nowhere is her knack for drama more apparent than in her jewellery designs for her eponymous label, for which she has been creating show-stopping baubles since her enrollment at New York’s Gemological Institute of America in 2012. “I was very much attracted to vintage jewellery and pieces of my mother’s,” says Getty who grew up between Beirut, Geneva, and the South of France. “I’ve always had that curiosity.” She took design and diamond grading classes and found that the creative process came easily.
The now London-based designer has two current collections—Memphis and its follow-up, Baby Memphis—with theatrical pieces that were inspired by The Memphis Group, a 1980s Milan-based collective of furniture and product designers with a penchant for the colourful and unconventional.
Though Getty continues to tour Baby Memphis with trunk shows around the world, her latest role as a new mother—she welcomed daughter Gene Honor Getty in February—has been taking up the bulk of her days. It’s also made her look at work and life in a whole new light. “Children focus on only one thing at a time, and experiencing that is amazing,” says Getty. “I have a childish spirit and she’s made it stronger.”
When it comes to the foreseeable future, Getty plans to breathe in every moment of her daughter’s first year. But more jewellery collections are sure to come—and perhaps even furniture and clothing, too.
ON THE SKILLS THAT MAKE A GREAT DESIGNER:
“I think it’s about being observant and looking at what’s around you. I’ll take a picture of something I notice. It could be art, architecture, or clothing. Anything that catches my eye could be inspiration for a collection. I have 45,000 pictures in my phone, but then when I start designing, the images come up in my head.”
ON HER IDEAL CUSTOMER:
“I design pieces that I’d love to wear myself— maybe an older version of myself in my 50s or 60s. I think the more you age, the more you can do statement pieces. You can go big and strong and women can handle that because you have your character.”
ON THE MEMPHIS GROUP AS AN INSPIRATION:
“I was an ’80s kid, so there was a lot of Memphis furniture in my home. As I was doing the drawings for the collection, I noticed that they had a Memphis vibe— the waves, the zigzags, the colours, and the playfulness. So I kept going in that direction.”
ON CREATING HER CAMPAIGNS:
“We have a campaign for every collection and create theatrical characters, the people that wear my jewellery, as if they existed in a play or movie. I choose people around me that inspire me: a friend, my husband’s young niece. It doesn’t have to be a celebrity..”
ON THE MOST EXCITING MOMENT OF HER CAREER:
“Céline Dion bought my jewellery, then I bumped into her when she was wearing the pieces during couture week in Paris. Stuff like that is a highlight, when you have a person you admire who also likes your work.”
ON THE FUTURE:
“I’m going to give it a bit of time. I don’t want to do things just to do them. I want to see if I come up with an idea that inspires me and is strong and then I’ll work on it. But I’m not putting any pressure on myself to deliver a product.”
Clockwise from top left: Carlton Bookcase Roomdivider by Ettore Sottsass for Memphis, 1981. Memphis Collection campaign image. Baby Memphis campaign image. Memphis Collection campaign image.