INTERVIEW Princess of the bling

Shourouk

What does a Shourouk woman look like?
Every woman can wear Shourouk. Look at the celebrities who wear it: you have the elegant and classic Michelle Obama alongside the completely eccentric Anna dello Russo. The women who buy my pieces want to surprise, and they don’t need to be dressed up to wear them: the pieces can be paired with an evening outfit, but also go really well with a simple day-to-day outfit.

Swarovski crystals are the main component of your collections. Why?
Working with Swarovski goes back to my student days, when I applied my creativity to projects and exams. Nowadays, I simply can’t avoid using Swarovski crystals: my main inspiration is India, and Swarovski crystals are the closest means of recreating the opulence and flamboyance of Rajput Maharandja jewels.

In what way does Swarovski influence the Shourouk brand identity?
We share the same passion for our work. Despite their huge international reputation, they retain a positive attitude towards young designers. I really appreciate that they’re always open to sharing their knowledge, and also the way they balance tradition with innovation.

What comes first: the idea or the materials?
When I come back from my travels I always bring back objects and fabrics, and then I work with my team to illustrate the new colors, shapes or materials we want in the new collection. Sometimes I’ll go straight to experimenting with material—the idea then comes from manipulating it to find out what I can get out of it. Occasionally, an exhibition, movie, or book will suggest an idea; then I do a quick drawing, but I spend more time actually making the idea come to life than over-thinking it.

You once said you dream of customizing a Chanel 2.55 bag. What other objects could you see undergoing a Shourouk transformation?
I have to confess that I love ‘bling-bling’! The latest item to get my crystal-mania treatment was the World Cup Ball for the Make Kids Happy charity: each bright crystal, placed close together, represented the different countries playing together in harmony. This was prompted by my visit to Brazil: I was touched by the poverty of the favelas, but also by their energy and creativity. I wanted to show all this creative expression, full of colors, materials and brightness, which reflects the Brazilian soul. So I was very proud to support this wonderful project that helps children from the favelas.

Given your collaborations with Jean Paul Gaultier and other designer brands, what further fashion houses would you like to collaborate with?
I’ve always been drawn to designers with a strong aesthetic who take risks with innovative materials and bold ideas. It would be a pleasure to collaborate with Miucca Prada or Riccardo Tisci. I’m completely bewitched by Miucca Prada—she really thinks about the woman when she designs, and always adds a touch of irony to her collections. I love her sense of humor, and her way of working it into her collections. As for Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy: every season the quality and the complexity of his embroideries and the grace of his fabrics are simply amazing.

What are your favorites from your upcoming Fall collection?
I can’t stop wearing my jeweled sneakers! Yesterday, when I went to Galleries Lafayette, I was wearing a Lurex coat with my jeweled sneakers, my tubular black-and-white necklace full of sequins, and one of my Daktari bags embroidered with Swarovski jewels! Nothing is ‘bling-bling’ enough for me!

Do you harbor any desire for any particular piece of jewelry?
I would buy the Bulgari diamond snake bracelet that wraps around the wrist, and keep it forever. It belonged to my grandmother, and all my life I’ve dreamed of having one. It reminds me of the French Riviera of the Seventies.

Given that your partner (Marmèn's Marco Mencagli) is also in the jewelry industry, how do you compliment each other?
The same things attract Marco and me: fashion, jewelry, and our love of traveling and discovering new cultures. We’re always sharing ideas and points of view. Of course, as Mediterranean people we’re a pretty explosive couple! When I get an idea, Marco is the genius who finds a way to bring my drawing to life, as he is more technical than I am. I help him with my sense of color and my love of bling-bling. We complement each other.

Last but not least: which celebrity would you like to see wearing Shourouk?
I would like to accessorize Anna Wintour. She’s an institution in the world of la mode, a fashion icon, and a regular at the forefront of the biggest fashion shows, so I’d like to see her wearing my designs just as she wears her iconic sunglasses.

Swarovski Crystals Magazine #01 - Everyday Extraordinary

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