Well, I met Ana last month for a relaxed chitchat at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek prior to our fine-dining lunch at the restaurant. Courtesy of Annelise Peterson from Net-A-Porter, and hosted by Snob authority Tina Craig I was invited to the elegant lunch along with a few of Tina’s fave Dallas ladies to meet Brazilian jewelry designer Ana Khouri.
I prefer to reference Ana as a fine jewelry artist, a sculptor at heart and by training, she sculpts jewelry into mini masterpieces, rather than simply designs. Ana’s cool factor is, in fact, super hot, with the fashion world’s savviest style icons donned in Khouri such as Anna Dello Russo, Carine Roitfeld, Alice and Andrea Dellal, and Giovanna Battaglia.
There is much to love and admire when you meet someone with true talent…
Max: Tell me about your experience living in London when you studied at Central St. Martins?
Ana: London was a big change for me because my work has a lot to do with my background, I graduated in Fine Arts and I was a sculptor before working in fine jewelry. So when I first started doing jewelry I discovered all these rules, but in London I found that everyone is very creative, and the ambience makes you truly believe in yourself and what you do. It was really important for me to believe in what I was doing, and this was the time that I created the tiara pieces and everyone started wearing them, like Madonna.
Max: Tell me about all the stores you’re sold in?
Ana: I started in 2000. I started when I was still studying, and when I graduated I started the business, but I’ve been working since 2000. I really wanted to be true to my work and focus on the inside and not over expose myself in the beginning, I think that really helped me a lot. It’s been a year since I decided to take it globally, and I moved back to New York and started at Net-A-Porter. My collection is also sold at Barney’s New York in Beverly Hills, Colette in Paris, and the Webster in Miami. Laura from the Webster was one of the first ones to see my collection, three-four years ago, and she said she really wanted it. Now I make half of the jewelry in New York in Manhattan and the other half in Brazil. In the beginning, it was all created in Brazil, and I was really not sure that I wanted to export, so Laura was the first person who really wanted my collection and encouraged me.
Max: What gemstones and materials do you prefer to work with?
Ana: I use a lot of gold. It’s funny, when I decided that I was really working on jewelry and was doing the GIA gemology I really fell in love with studying all the stones. My work as a sculptor connects me, and I believe every piece has its own life, so now, I really enjoy working with gold, but I work a lot with diamonds too. I only make edition pieces, and one-of-a-kind, and I make an edition of five or an edition of ten, but not big scale. So that also gives me the freedom to travel and try to get the stones that I really like and that feel really special. But, mostly I work with gold and diamonds.
Max: Tell me about the collection that you’re doing with Net-A-Porter?
Ana: The team at Net-A-Porter reviewed my work and looked at everything that would work best for them. So they selected the most iconic pieces that represent my brand. I think Net-A-Porter did an amazing choice, and I did special editions for them in colors and stones; I am very happy with the collection.
Max: You are exploding, how are you handling your growth?
Ana: It is very exciting. In a way, I cannot grow that big because of the editions, some people are starting to request pieces that I don’t have any more, and I don’t plan to do. And, I think that way we keep it more interesting, it’s always special to know that if you go somewhere you won’t have someone wearing the same piece as you. I know it creates the desire but I don’t plan to do the same designs.
Max: What countries have you visited and where do find the most inspiration?
Ana: Thankfully I travel a lot; I’ve travelled to most of the places I wanted to meet and get to know the culture. And every year, I set a place I haven’t visited, and I try to go there because this is one of the things that will really free me to create and to be in touch with different cultures and different materials. I like to visit small things in everyday life that just inspire you in different ways. I went to India, and learned this new style—it’s not a Net-A-Porter pick, yet, but it’s called the shrunk bracelet. I learned with this amazing artisan—I visited the back of his store where he was creating jewelry, he was making the gold very hot that allowed him to shrink it and create an amazing bracelet. I like to learn different techniques. In Hawaii, I saw all these shells, and I had never worked with shells before and they were really special because of the history of the island. I like to learn and integrate new techniques into my own work; I feel that is how an idea touches you. I want to communicate with different cultures yet at the same time stay true to my brand.
Max: You have many celebrities and style icons wearing your jewelry, what has got you really excited?
Ana: The first famous person who really wore my pieces, and it was a shock—was Madonna. She has the glove and also a tiara; she has many pieces, one piece I made especially for her birthday, I know many of the pieces she has, but seeing it in a photo is very different.
I really find grace when I am walking down the street, and someone is wearing my piece; this is so amazing to me now, when it’s random and not famous. That someone connects to your work; that’s what really touches me and gets me going more than someone who is well known. It’s a blessing.
Max: Tell me about your personal style compared to your jewelry design?
Ana: The way that I enjoy fashion is not focused on fashion that much, but I enjoy it; it talks to me a lot but my style is really simple actually. It’s more about the jewelry for me and that the piece that I really start with. For fashion, I like cuts, very geometric, its more visual for me in how forms connect, and I would much rather have this amazing jewelry than something I could not wear with jewelry.
FYI: Ana also has a great feature in the September issue of Elle magazine about her personal style. Visit: Ana Khouri.