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5 Minutes With: Leila Kashanipour

No matter what course we have set for our lives, the universe has a way of making sure we do what we are intended for. This holds true for Leila Kashanipour, the London-by-way-of-Tehran designer behind the popular jewelry line LeiVanKash. With her future fixed on a career in fine arts, she set about pursuing it at Central Saint Martins College in London. Kashanipour’s dedication to self-discovery quickly led her down a different path, however, and she applied for a B.A. in Jewelry Design instead. After three years pursuing her degree, she landed coveted internships at three renowned jewelry houses in London and Geneva. This allowed her to garner the experience necessary for her next step: launching her own jewelry line.

She watched her business develop organically, telling us exclusively: “My clients grew from my circle of friends, to friends of friends, to cities other than London and from all corners of the world!” She cites her multi-cultural background as an influence over her design aesthetic, saying “Society, culture, values, and your origins always play a huge role in what you ought to be… and as a designer, what you would like to create.” Beyond that, she draws inspiration for her jewelry collections from her travels, her favorite art pieces, the fabled sword of Damocles, and more. If you want to collect her pieces, she recommends starting with her Olivia Rose ring, named after Olivia Palermo, who was one of the first famous names to wear it. “It’s the first piece I ever carved and it has a sentimental value. It’s a really special piece; you would have to try it on to understand what I mean.”

Finally, Kashinapour imparts these words of wisdom to those following a similar path: “If there is one piece of advice I give out when asked, it is to get internships once you graduate. Not only did I enjoy working with great companies [the likes of Stephen Webster and Asprey], but I also learnt so much about time management, discipline, the process of research and design development, and teamwork – things that you might not necessarily pick up whilst studying at university.” From fine arts to fine jewelry, Leila Kashinapour’s vision and hard work is an inspiration to us.

Most treasured possessions? My Blackberry and iPhone! Cheapest thrill? Kinder Buen. Labels you love? Celine, Proenza Schouler, Rodarte… and I love Corlette accessories! Perfect idea of happiness? Balance. Dream client? Rihanna and Blake Lively. Favorite food? Truffle Pizza, Burrata and cherry tomatoes, and Salade Niçoise. Favorite sound? The roaring of a Harley Davidson. Your style in a few words is… Edgy and boho with a touch of rock 'n' roll. Your dream wardrobe belongs to… The Olsen twins and the cast of Gossip Girl. Favorite smell? Men's cologne; I love GIO it's so classic and fresh! Favorite desert? Chocolate cake, Chocolate fondant, Chocolate brownie... Especially the chocolate fondant at Sumosan London. Favorite holiday destination? Give me a beautiful beach, proper sun, perfect temperature, and good food and I'm happy anywhere! We will never catch you wearing… UGGS!


interviewed by GRACE GORDON|edited by NOOR TEHINI

-August 16, 2012

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