When it comes to fashionable items, there are few that are instant icons, few that instantly resonate with the viewer as something special, rapidly charting past anything you’ve seen or experienced before. You get that kind of feeling the first time you see the flash of a red-soled Louboutin, or the sharp refinement of a classic Chanel little black jacket, and more recently, it’s what you feel when you see a piece of jewelry designed by Noor Fares. While a relative newcomer to the field of fine jewelry design, having launched her eponymous label in 2009 while still in school at Central Saint Martins in London, Fares’ work possesses a modern quality that still speaks to the timeless nature of the iconic. I recognized that certain je ne sais quoi the first time I ever laid eyes on her gold and ebony ‘Fly Me to the Moon’ earrings. They looked ancient, whimsical, and current all at once. In light of her recent photoshoot with Savoir Flair, collaborative event hosted with the Dinner Club No. 57, and the recent release of her jaw-dropping ‘Krystallos’ collection, I was fortunate to be able to speak to Fares about her origins and creative process.
How does one come right out of the gate with a fine jewelry product that demands such attention? Perhaps it has something to do with growing up in her aunt’s atelier in Paris. “It was a very magical place where I first witnessed the creative process behind design,” Fares tells me. “I would see my aunt draw up her ideas and then return a few months later to a beautiful couture dress. From the moment I saw that process, I knew I was destined to do something creative.”
And while her aunt’s work positively informed young Fares, it is her mother who has had the biggest influence on her life. “She has an incredible approach to style and expression, which I admire greatly. My role models are women who are not afraid to take risks in life, break the norm, and constantly stay ahead of the times. Zaha Hadid, for example — she has really paved the way for the architecture of London. I love her vision and commitment to her work. I am lucky to have a group of very inspiring girlfriends who all in their own way inspire me,” Fares concludes.
While Fares’ heritage is Lebanese, she has spent most of her life in Europe and the United States, which have lent her work the sort of universal appeal you find in the creative output of the worldly and well-traveled. “I would say that the Middle East remains at the heart of my designs, and the cities I have lived in form the ideas. Most of my designs have an eye of protection either engraved in them, or a small blue sapphire to protect the wearer,” she shares. “I would describe the Noor Fares aesthetic as versatile and playful with an air of elegance. I design with the idea in mind that each wearer can recreate their own style with the pieces, so there are no rules, and I love to see people mixing and matching within the collections.” Not only are her collections designed to be mixed and matched, but they possess the kind of collectible quality that makes them heritage pieces to be passed down to generations.
While Fares has long enjoyed socialite status, there isn’t one element of her journey that suggests she was handed her success on a silver platter. Like any fledgling creative, she fought for her name with hard work, putting in overtime while going to school full time, all while facing the hardships of launching a fine jewelry label at the height of global economic collapse. I ask her about the difficulties she faced during such a time, and she answers, “Yes, I would say that for the whole luxury market it was a difficult time, but I see continued growth on the horizon as fine jewelry grows from strength to strength.” In mentioning her work ethic, I wonder how Fares is able to balance her personal life with work, to which she responds, “I try to ensure that my work does not take over the things I enjoy in life. I ensure that I always have time for yoga each day; however, during busy times I find it really hard not to be in the office 24/7.”
I had mentioned the allure of Fares’ ‘Fly Me to the Moon’ earrings previously, and she validates my attraction by confessing, “I am most proud of the ‘Fly Me to The Moon’ earrings, which were first created in ebony and now come in a wide array of materials such as jade, turquoise, feather agate, jasper, malachite, aventurine, and mother of pearl.” As a consummate globe-trotter, plenty of Fares’ inspiration comes from her travels; in particular she “loves traveling to India as each time it’s a completely new experience and there is always something new to discover. I love the vibrancy of the cities in the north and the calm ocean of the south.”
It’s hard to ignore the spiritual foundation upon which Fares has built her most recent collection, ‘Krystallos’. The thesis of the release is crystals and their healing energy, but without going into too much detail, Fares simply states on the matter, “I have become a very spiritual person and I really believe in alternative healing, but this is after doing lots of my own research.”
Every designer entertains the fantasy from time to time of seeing a personal hero wearing their designs, so I ask Fares about who she would love to see wearing her pieces, and she goes straight for one of the world’s savviest style icons. “It would be wonderful to see Tilda Swinton wear my designs as I really admire her sense of style and freedom.” In that same vein, I ask who she would love to work with creating a bespoke collection for their runway, and she names fellow Lebanese designer and personal friend Elie Saab.
After entertaining fantasy for a moment, we head back to reality, where I pick her brain about her recent event with Dinner Club No. 57 in celebration of the launch of her ‘Krystallos’ collection. “I have known the girls behind the Dinner Club No. 57 for some time, but it was not until recently that we decided to collaborate,” she said. “The inspiration behind the event was based on my love for crystal, light, and astrology. The location was at the Al Ain Fort, which provided us with a dramatic backdrop of sand and palm trees. It was simply beautiful. To mark the occasion, I gifted a pair of malachite and green mother of pearl ‘Wing’ earrings to each guest.”
Finally, Fares talks about what’s on the immediate horizon for her brand, which is none other than the launch of her next collection in March at Paris Fashion Week. Her previous presentations have proved to be monumental coups for her brand, ones that have landed her attention from the world’s best buyers, editors, and media personalities. Yet, Fares is taking things one step at a time. When I ask her where she sees herself in five years, she states simply, “Hopefully with my flagship store open in London and with my first child with my new husband.”
Photographer Jeremy Zaessinger Stylist Amine Jreissaty Editor-in-Chief Haleh Nia Producer Quentin Chamard-Bois Makeup Artist Grigoris Hair Stylist Tomoko Ohama Prop Stylist Sir Arnaud Laurens Photo Assistants Louis Cusy, Kader Benacer