Home Work When the Lebanese jewelry designer Noor Fares takes a trip—which she does at least once a month for work, often tacking on a couple of days for pleasure—she rarely comes back empty-handed. Among the accumulated knickknacks that fill her London home is a collection of saucer-eye Blythe dolls—“trolls,” she corrects—brought back from Japan. “My husband has just gotten used to them,” she says with a laugh. Fares and the artist Alexandre Al Khawam, who were married in a lavish wedding last summer in Normandy, France, moved into a cozy house on a quiet, cobblestone street in Belgravia this past February. “It was our first place together, and we were excited to do it ourselves,” says Fares, who also has a glossy, modernist apartment designed by Rafael de Cárdenas in midtown Manhattan. Trolls aside, the couple tend to agree on everything. They are both drawn to color and craft and like to mix Asiatic and Middle Eastern elements with midcentury and contemporary pieces. The dining room, for instance, where they entertain friends with home-cooked Lebanese and Indian food, features a Piet Hein Eek table made from a patchwork of reclaimed wood, a 2007 portrait of Fares painted by the artist and family friend Francesco Clemente, and myriad objets, many embedded with spiritual motifs. “We had so much fun making mood boards and combining everything we love.”
A Style of One’s Own Fares was born and raised in Paris. Her mother, Hala, is an artist and fashion eccentric, known for wearing mismatched shoes; her father, Issam, is a financier and former deputy prime minister of Lebanon. From an early age, Fares was drawn to jewelry. “Since I was a child, I’ve believed that gemstones have magical powers,” she explains. After studying at the London branch of the Gemological Institute of America, she started designing in 2010, but two years later, eager for more technical training, enrolled at Central Saint Martins, where she earned a master’s degree. Perhaps her own best model, Fares likes to layer her jewelry, adding in assorted antique and costume pieces. Her haute-bohemian wardrobe is equally eclectic: Embroidered caftans from North India, velvet and silk Tang jackets, and woven Wayuu mochila bags from Colombia are mixed with designer pieces by Gucci (“my obsession of the moment”), Missoni, Mary Katrantzou, and Azzedine Alaïa. “I always play with textures and colors. I don’t really have rules.”
The Meaning of Things Fares’s fascination with prehistoric symbols, which began while she was an art history major at Tufts University, in Boston, is evident in her jewelry. Her latest collection, called Akasha—a Sanskrit word for “sky”—draws inspiration from Sri Yantra (a symbol of balance) and the Flower of Life (a symbol of creation), both of which were used by ancient Egyptian and Mayan civilizations. “It’s fascinating to see how disparate cultures ultimately came up with the same sacred patterns,” says Fares, who has translated them into geometric pendants, earrings, and chokers, set with colorful gemstones. The striking collection, she says, is a celebration of the infinite cycle of life. “I like when something is beautiful but also has a deeper meaning.”
What a Gem
Noor Fares, wearing a Maison Rabih Kayrouz dress; Noor Fares wing earrings, necklaces, bangle (left wrist), and ring; her own stud earrings, bracelets, and rings (left hand, ring finger), at home in London, in front of Luca Missoni’s Moon, 2008.
Her Piet Hein Eek dining table.
Fares, sifting through her jewelry, wearing a Missoni cardigan; Noor fares rings; her own bracelets and ring (left hand, middle finger).
A Noor Fares Geometry 101 Pendulum pendant.
A few more of her pieces.
The dining room, with a portrait of Fares by Francesco Clemente.
A mixed-media work by Annie Morris hangs above the mantel.
Fares and Alexandre Al Khawam, at their Arabian Nights–themed pre-wedding party, 2015.
The bride, in a Giambattista Valli couture gown.
Fares, in her living room, wearing a Bottega Veneta dress; Noor Fares earrings, necklace, and rings; Bottega Veneta belt; Pierre Hardy platforms; her own stud earrings, ring (left hand, middle finger), and bracelets.
Hair by Johanna Cree Brown; makeup by Kristina Ralph for Saint Luke artists; fashion assistant: Amy Hanson.
Her flower-adorned wedding cake.
Wearing a headpiece by Magnetic Midnight at the 2015 FCancer Benefit, in New York.
Fares’s mother, Hala, in her signature mismatched shoes, 2014.
Fares, at age 3, already had a thing for jewelry.
A pair of Noor Fares Chandbali earrings.
Hilma af Klint’s Altar Painting, 1915, is an inspiration.
Fares, with Al Khawam, on holiday in Myanmar, 2015.
The designer, wearing her own jewelry.
Fares, on the island of Mallorca, 2016.
On Inle Lake, Myanmar.
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