UEEN OF MAGNIFICENCE
Challenging conventions, exploring new materials and pushing the boundaries of design, Leyla Abdollahi is making her own unique mark on the jewelry industry.
Leyla Abdollahi – the designer behind the jewelry label of the same name – is recoding the very elements of history, myth and nature to bring forth creations so powerful, dark and seductive, yet incredibly subtle, to captivate eyes that value pure, elevated aesthetics. Born and raised with both Eastern and Western in#uences, Leyla is able to strike an outstanding balance between practicality and unique beauty, giving sophisticated women the chance to tell stories of everyday life, until the day these pieces become heirlooms to pass through the generations. U: What can you tell us about yourself? LA: I’m a creative person & with a great love for art, travel, music, fashion and animals. I especially love living in London and the inspiration it gives me every day. U: Who has supported you throughout your journey? LA: I think I’m not alone when I say this, but I am forever indebted to my adorable parents and my amazing friends for their support and encouragement. U: Your items evoke a sense of myth, history and nature. Can you elaborate on that? LA: I am inspired by history, myth and nature, so the work obviously re#ects that. However, I do tend to have moments when creativity just #ows, and that inspiration can come from a myriad of sources. U: What and when was the !rst piece/collection that put your name on the scene? LA: My graduation collection ‘Lace’, from Central Saint Martin’s University of the Arts, London in 2005. U: How is a concept or a design triggered in your head? LA: When I see something, or feel a certain emotion, I start to play around with various ideas in my head. Once it starts to make sense, ideas slowly evolve into concepts, which then turn to dra$ sketches, which then turn to drawings, etc… "e process is on-going, so there’s never an immediate solution. It takes time and goes through many changes before actually being !nalized. U: Walk us through the design process. LA: Everything starts with inspiration, followed by conceptualizing an idea based on that inspiration. "is is then followed by research and idea development. Once that’s all set, we start with the !nal design. U: Where do you source your materials #om?
LA: It all depends on the collection, design and color combinations, which allow me to choose the right source for my gemstones. "e list is quite extensive, so it can vary accordingly. U: As an award-winning designer, how do you see the aesthetics of your brand evolving in the future? LA: "at’s an interesting question. We designers can be challenging. By that I mean, we are constantly in a state of inner turmoil – ideas, concepts, designs, aesthetics are all in a constant state of #ux. "erefore, it is hard to de!ne the evolution of a brand aesthetic in future terms, except that it will always be evolving and improving; conceptually, aesthetically or otherwise. U: Does a woman’s jewelry box re%ect her character? LA: Again, this an interesting question. In my opinion, every piece of jewelry expresses the wearer’s personality, but it doesn’t necessarily de!ne a person’s character. A jewelry box may contain heirlooms and gi$s, which when bought were for a completely di'erent individual, or certainly based on that individual’s personal taste. "erefore, the present owner of these items will wear these in a di'erent way to when it was when originally acquired or bought. U: From your experience, what’s the di$erence between Middle Eastern and Western clients? LA: To me, cultural and societal traditions play a part in how jewelry is designed and acquired. Ultimately, there isn’t much di'erence as all women love jewelry! U: When can we expect to see your creations in the Middle East? LA: My jewelry is already available in Dubai. "is is my !rst appearance in the Middle East, which hopefully will be followed by many others in the coming future. U: What’s your dream collaboration? LA: "ere are so many ideas that it’s hard to de!ne something in particular. But I’d love to do something with fashion, music, !lms and art in general. U: What would you be if you weren’t a jewelry designer? LA: I love art, so it’s fairly easy & I would be an artist. U: What’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever been to? LA: It’s hard to say, as there are so many beautiful places in this world! However, I have recently visited Santorini, and it was amazing. U: Do you have any piece of advice for young designers who have ventured into the world of jewelry design? LA: Challenge yourself constantly. Do not be afraid of failure. An unswerving dedication to the creative and artistic process is essential, as it’s not always plain sailing. However, the most important bit of advice I once picked up was to “enjoy the journey”, and remain positive at all times.
“IT IS HARD TO DEFINE THE EVOLUTION OF A BRAND AESTHETIC IN FUTURE TERMS, EXCEPT THAT IT WILL ALWAYS BE EVOLVING AND IMPROVING; CONCEPTUALLY, AESTHETICALLY OR OTHERWISE.”