Above image from Shourouk’s blog
Jackson Square is such a unique part of San Francisco, and one that I don’t frequent nearly enough, so I love having a reason to stroll through it’s art galleries and design shops. Last night I had a great reason to be there: Jewelry savant Shourouk had come all the way from Paris for a fabulous party in her honor at La Boutique. Ruby Press created quite the festive atmosphere with plenty to imbibe, nibble, and feast the eyes on. Shourouk’s jewelry sparkled around the loft (and very NYC-ish) space, which was decorated to resemble the designer’s Paris atelier. I was excited to learn we share a love for Frida Kahlo. The woman knew her style, went for it, and never apologized. And that’s the type of woman Shourouk’s jewelry is made for. The size of her baubles requires a sturdy personality, and the pops of color demand a certain amount of confidence (though the jewelry might also bestow a bit of both!). I sat down with the designer, who was looking tres chic in head to toe Isabel Marant, for a quick chat about Ms. Kahlo, comics and how people look at you funny when you wear head ornamentation. Imagine all of her answers said in a charming French accent.
Stylenik: I hear you’re inspired by comics? Can you tell us more about that?
Shourouk: I like the universe of comics, the pop color and the graphics, but when I design my jewelry I don’t think about comics. When I design my jewelry my inspiration is more about about classic jewelry like Cartier or the Maharaja and I try to make them more fun and more funky. Comics are more like an attitude and what I like from comics are the headpieces. They always have something on their head!
Sn: How long have you been making jewelry?
S: Three and a half years. After my studies in Paris I started to work at Chloe, Galliano, and Roberto Cavalli doing research for the embroidery, and my research went on the accessories like shoes and bags, or gloves. When I finished my work at Cavalli and came back from Italy I wondered if I should do that for myself. So I got started right away. I found a partner who believed in my work, and after I got a call from Jean Paul Gauthier and he asked me to do a collaboration.
Sn: Who are some of your favorite designers?
S: My favorite designers are Miuccia Prada and Marc Jacobs — after all the French desingers, I like all of them. But what I like is there is a sense of humor in their work. I like when you don’t take something too seriously. Fashion’s not serious.
Sn: What are the latest projects you’re working on?
S: Last week I had an amazing call from the stylist of Michelle Obama. She asked me to do headbands for Mrs. Obama.
Sn: Wow, that’s so exciting!
S: Yes, she has to travel in London and her stylist told me she has to wear something on her head but she doesn’t like hats. So she asked me do do some propositions. We Googled her and didn’t find any images of Michelle Obama with something in her hair.
Sn: She wears Tom Binns a lot. Your jewelry is a little bit similar to his.
S: Yes I love his work. It’s the same; it’s fun. I really love his work.
Sn: Tell me about your admiration of Frida Kahlo.
S: I love the hair ornaments. Women used to wear tiaras or turbans and I really love that. Now nobody would wear such things and also when you dare to wear it people look at you like you don’t fit. My friend the designer Elisa Palomino always wears flowers in her hair and people make pictures of her in the streets. In the beginning you like it, but in the end (you feel) abnormal.
Sn: Do you wear hair ornaments often?
S: Not often but when I have the opportunity I love to wear tiaras. I think on a woman it’s very beautiful and it gives light to your face. Now a lot of women are wearing little tiaras but they’re still small.
Sn: How do you like San Francisco?
S: It’s my first time in San Francisco, and I feel very good here because it’s definitely a European city. I feel like home here.