NS BY NOUF
BY ALI AL BANA
There’s a certain sense of glorified patriotism in Arabian designers and their pieces – pieces that contain some accent of their traditions, hometown, or even country.
For NS by Nouf, be it the gold-rimmed edges, the dynamical dimensional forms, the subtle Islamic art imprinted on the bags, and not to forget the names given to each piece. She made sure that her pieces reflected a form of refined tradition, in trés chic manner of course.
It’s intriguing how talented individuals such as Nouf innovates such ideas, from color, to form, to material, and so on. I could endlessly raise questions when it comes to creativity, because it’s one thing to envision something, and it’s another thing to just sketch, or redefine something that’s already present.
Luckily for you, Perle magazine managed to discuss the creation, and conceptualization of the NS By Nouf bag.
Your collections have several names, names that sound Middle Eastern in some manner. Noor, Alexandra, Tzar, Zain, Andelucia, Andelucia Grande, Shaikha, and Shoug – What do they represent, and what’s that story behind them?
The collections are an ongoing process where icons are created in time. Within this process each clutch is created uniquely, each piece represents its own story, and personality – just like a child, it comes to life, and the name is just another way to make it more apparent.
For the name to work it needs to do justice to the creation. For example, Alexandra came with my explorations into the Russian Empire, as for Noor, it came with the naming of a solitaire cut structure, and for Shaikha, the piece comes with it’s Arabian inspirations.
When hand sketching the geometric patterns, what inspires you? Do you look at other patterns, for example patterns that are floral or inspired by Islamic calligraphy, or do you just get in touch with your Arabian roots and figure out an interesting pattern?
When sketching, I’m mainly inspired by the grandeur of architecture, that moment that takes your breath away. In history, that represents an icon and her iconic surroundings.
Islamic geometry was my starting point, the geometry born in Andelucia. From there onwards, the more I explored, and discovered, I found myself at the root of it all. I start with a few lines and build inwards; today the patterns have developed into a geometric expression of sacred geometric forms.
How has the response been towards your statement making, and luxurious products? Seeing that Bahrain is quite a tough market, do other Middle Eastern countries have a more uplifting approach?
The brand is appreciated throughout the Middle East; we have a clientele, and we have stores throughout the GCC countries that have been making inroads to the West and the East with our products.
There is a unique following in Bahrain, but as you rightly said – it’s a tough market, and the clutches are extremely distinct. The market is not developed enough for the clients to break the mold.
Semi- precious stones, why the use of semi-precious stones?
I had worked with gems, and stones before I began designing the bags. I was drawn by their energy and their aura, I love the attributes they bring to their wearer – some protect, others heal, or attract positive energy. I’m pleased to be able to give something to the luxury customer. For my woman, luxury is not just about the name or the looks; the bag has so much depth in it, from the geometry to the stone.
I hand pick each stone for each bag, always natural, some are antiques, but all unique due to the fact that they are natural.
You’ve established your brand on clutches, are you planning on venturing into another accessory field like jewelry, men’s cufflinks, or even watches?
At the moment I’m very happy with working on clutches exclusively. In the future, I would love to revisit the jewelry design in more depth and bring the two aspects together.
A word of advice you’ve received and stuck to so far?
Always go for quality it will eventually be appreciated, also after all the hype, it’s the only thing that survives. I really believe in doing what you love, it works on so many levels, both for what you do and for yourself.
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