Tuesday, 29 July 2014

LONDON FASHION WEEK: AZZA FAHMY FOR MATTHEW WILLIAMSON AW14 JEWELLERY COLLABORATION

British fashion supremo, Matthew Williamson, showcased his second fine jewellery collaboration with the Egyptian luxury jewellery designer, Azza Fahmy, at his 70’s-inspired AW14 London Fashion Week show. The high-energy collection was presented in front of a star-studded audience, including Poppy Delevingne, Olivia Palermo, Cat Deeley and Elisa Sednaoui.

Here's my review of the collection for July issue of Harper's Bazaar Arabia, which includes quotes from Matthew Williamson and Azza Fahmy on gifting for Eid and Ramadan. I've also included my full interview with the collaboration team.




I’m all about pattern and print and the star just became a very globally understood motif, that we could manipulate into holograms, embroidery and beading Matthew Williamson



If there was one moment that defined Matthew Williamson's AW14 catwalk show, it was when the Argentinian model Magda Laguinge stepped onto the catwalk in a sharply tailored trouser suit, styled with a wonderful array of shimmering star necklaces. Worn with high-heeled satin disco-boots, the look screamed Studio 54, and epitomised the Azza Fahmy for Matthew Williamson jewellery collaboration.



Lazer-cut tailoring with layered star necklaces

‘That black outfit was so cool and sexy, but also elegant, and that’s what both brands are all about,’ says Nadya Abela, brand ambassador for Azza Fahmy and co-owner of London’s Morton’s Club that recently hosted a preview of the collaboration. ‘The jewellery is young, fresh and affordable. It’s also very wearable.’

Created by Azza Fahmy, Amina Ghali, Head of Design at Azza Fahmy, and Matthew Williamson, the central theme of the Azza Fahmy for Matthew Williamson AW14 collection is the star motif; which also appears throughout Matthew Williamson’s ready-to-wear line. Available in both 18ct gold and Sterling silver, the capsule jewellery range is scattered with diamonds, garnets and other gems. The line includes a bold collar design, a modern lariat and a fabulous line-up of earrings and rings, designed for layering or to be worn solo.


The star motif featured in Matthew Williamson's AW14 designs and the
jewellery collaboration with Azza Fahmy

‘The star was a reoccurring motif that emerged when we started looking at 70’s fashion- and interiors magazines. We wanted that 70’s Jet Set feel for AW14,’ explains Matthew Williamson, ‘I’m all about pattern and print and the star just became a very globally understood motif, that we could manipulate into holograms, embroidery and beading. We worked with Azza Fahmy to create jewellery that would echo the sentiments of the collection.’

The collaboration highlights Matthew Williamson’s eclectic styling and his passion for travel and the 70’s (which he puts down to being a child of that era), plus Azza Fahmy’s signature designs, punctuated with strong Egyptian cultural and historic overtones. Amina Ghali’s influence on the collection is also very marked this season, adding a younger, more playful element to the pieces, ensuring that the jewellery designs are a truly contemporary blend of Eastern and Western references.

Gold lariat star necklace worn with a feathered design

My favourite pieces are the silver and gold charm earrings and the long lariat neckpiece,’ confirms Azza Fahmy, the founder, CEO and Chief Designer of Azza Fahmy, known for her highly collectible sculptural designs, ‘We always relish the opportunity to create interesting pieces and this discreetly elegant, yet commanding collection has allowed us to achieve that.’

I really love the idea of wearing a very grown-up gown and pairing it with a real statement piece, not made out of massive diamonds Cat Deeley

The British actress and TV presenter, Cat Deeley, commented that the pieces were perfect for red carpet dressing. ‘I really love the idea of wearing a very grown-up gown and pairing it with a real statement piece, not made out of massive diamonds. The Azza Fahmy for Matthew Williamson jewellery would add a very youthful, modern twist to a serious evening dress.’

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Left to right: Cat Deeley and Amina Ghali, Head of Design of Azza Fahmy,
admiring the jewellery following the show

Matthew Williamson's AW14 satin boots and jewel encrusted shifts

Backstage after the show (left to right): Fatma Ghaly, Managing Director of Azza Fahmy, Matthew Williamson and Amina Ghali, Head of Design of Azza Fahmy


Star power - the jewellery is safely packed away

Matthew Williamson's AW14 precious metallic shift

Shimmering Azza Fahmy for Matthew Williamson AW14 star necklaces

According to Amina Ghali, the pieces are deliberately very light to wear, and she adores the chandelier star earrings,  ‘The design is very dress me up, dress me down. Perfect for someone who is fashion forward and loves making a statement. Nothing is as personal as jewellery.’

The AW14 collaboration recently launched exclusively at Bloomingdale’s in Dubai in the UAE with a special event attended by Matthew Williamson, Azza Fahmy and Fatma Ghaly, Managing Director of Azza Fahmy. ‘From the staged paparazzi to the red carpet treatment, many of our guests were thrilled to have the experience of meeting Azza and Matthew in-store,’ comments Dee Sarai, General Manager of Bloomingdale’s, Dubai, ‘And to be the first to view the full collection straight off the London runway.’



Matthew Williamson's Instagram image of the butterfly installation at the launch of the Azza Fahmy for Matthew Williamson AW14 jewellery collaboration at Bloomingdale's in Dubai

The store’s installation for the launch was inspired by constellations, with stars suspended from the ceilings and displayed on the floor. ‘It was a great party and at one stage, this really cool girl arrived wearing an Azza Fahmy piece from the 80’s, that was originally her mother’s,’ recounts Fatma Ghaly.

The AW14 collaboration can also be found at Harvey Nichols in Dubai, in the Matthew Williamson and Azza Fahmy flagship stores and online at Matthew Williamson (from September) and Azza Fahmy. The original SS14 collaboration, including the popular beaten coin designs, is currently available online on both websites. 

Gifting as a tradition, is symbolic of this very special and festive time; it’s the time to spread happiness, embrace sharing and precious family bonds Azza Fahmy


The Azza Fahmy for Matthew Williamson collection has proved a great go-to for luxury gifts at keen price-points and is perfect for Eid and Ramadan gifting. ‘There’s a well-known saying in Arabic culture: To gift is to love,’ says Azza Fahmy, ‘Gifting as a tradition, is symbolic of this very special and festive time; it’s the time to spread happiness, embrace sharing and precious family bonds.’



Left to right: Azza Fahmy and Matthew Williamson at the Bloomindale's Dubai
launch of their AW14 jewellery collaboration

For Matthew Williamson the pleasure is in the giving of gifts, rather than receiving them, ‘I like finding or creating unique gifts for family and friends; things I know they won’t have. The star collar necklace is one of my favourite pieces from my collaboration with Azza Fahmy. The geometric shape of the stars is both bold and modern, yet thoroughly timeless, making it a perfect gift for the festive season.’ 


A gift can be something as simple, yet as precious, as a grandmother’s cookie recipe, that is passed from one generation to the other Azza Fahmy


Rawah Badrawi, the Egyptian author and long-term Brand Ambassador for Azza Fahmy, reports that, ‘The younger generation of Middle Easterners and Muslims are far less elaborate with gifting during Eid and Ramadan.  What’s lovely about the Azza Fahmy for Matthew Williamson jewellery collaboration, is that it creates that middle ground price-wise, so you can buy a special gift for yourself or a lovely symbolic present for a friend, without spending too much money.’

As Azza Fahmy concludes, ‘It’s the spirit of gifting that matters, rather than the gift itself and it’s important to keep the essence of the tradition. A gift can be something as simple, yet as precious, as a grandmother’s cookie recipe, that is passed from one generation to the other.’

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