By Smitha Sadanandan
Nadine Ghosn’s new croissant charms look good enough to eat. After dabbling with burgers and sushi, the Lebanese designer has turned her attention to mouth-watering flaky croissants. And the ones that caught her attention were those baked by pastry chef Cédric Grolet — the outcome was a delicious partnership and a limited-edition wearable miniature croissants made in 18k gold. “I think pastries are Paris. How can one not think of croissants and pain au chocolats upon landing in France! Pain au chocolats, specifically from Cedric Grolet, are one of the first things I pick up when I arrive in Paris. Apparently, given the line that waits outside for his freshly baked goods, I am not the only one who is a big fan,” she says.
Nadine ‘met’ Cedric via Instagram. “I would always gram his pastries. Turned out that his girlfriend was a fan of my brand and we organised a breakfast the next time I swung by.” The collaboration was quite fluid, points out the designer. “We have mutual respect for each other’s work; we are both ultra-meticulous, hands-on and we really clicked. Now, I consider him a friend,” she adds. Both the pastries and the fine jewellery were made locally. All the limited edition fèves (golden charms found inside the cake) for the lucky winner were made in Paris. “The Pain au Chic (my interpretation of his pain au chocolat) is 14.8 grams of gold with four brown diamonds to represent the chocolate filling,” explains Nadine. She has managed to realise the flaky swirls quite well in gold. So, what’s the secret? “Multiple tries!” she confesses. “I am very meticulous; sometimes, I drive my ateliers’ crazy. In this case, I honed in on how to get the effect I wanted — and due to the hard work of the team at the atelier, they were able to effectively replicate it on the charms.”
To shop, visit nadineghosn.com
Meanwhile, in New York, Alison Chemla has once again given in to her cravings for pasta. She has launched The Pasta Promise — Barilla Ring-a-toni Collection — featuring a set of two stackable rings (priced at $33,000) and a stunning lab grown 3.51 carat white heart-shaped diamond. The stone is held within a bezel heart in a Barilla Love rigatoni setting and the 14k gold band is accented with rubies.
The creative director and designer of fine jewellery brand Alison Lou has teamed up again with pasta maker Barilla for this new jewelled offering. “We started speaking in September last year. The idea was to make a ring that was inspired by Barilla Love in honour of the pasta being re-released. The collaboration was organic from the very beginning. We have done a fine jewellery pasta collection before and the team at Barilla trusted me to bring their vision to life,” says the designer, adding that The Pasta Promise marks the return of the Barilla Love campaign.
“This ring is the perfect marriage of Alison Lou and Barilla. When designing the piece, we focused on taking elements of the pasta, but not being too literal or kitschy so the design also feels very classic. We were so excited when they agreed to using enamel, which we custom mixed to create the ‘Barilla Blue,’ since it is an Alison Lou staple,” points out the designer. Enamel has always played a role in all of her collections and is a signature element for the brand. The ring was made start-to-finish with Alison’s most trusted jeweller in New York City. “The enamelling was hand-mixed and painted by our artisan enameller, who has been doing this for decades. It is such an art,” she adds.
The form of the rigatoni pasta has been translated into the design. She has used the ridges of the rigatoni to create the basket for the heart-shaped lab diamond to sit in. “I also used those ridges for the heart stacking bands. These bands can be worn with the heart diamond ring in the centre or stacked on their own. I love that it is two rings in one,” informs the designer, who “purposefully selected a lab diamond” for this piece. “Its source can be traced and it is environmentally friendly. We know this means a lot to our customers and we have seen a great shift in the demand for lab diamonds,” observes Alison. The new entrants to her world of wearable pasta are the Bowtie Huggie, Pastina Huggie, Mini Bowtie Bracelet and the Mini Bowtie Necklace. “We are so excited to introduce some mini versions of our Bowtie pieces along with the new Pastina Huggie. Pastina is so personal and loved, we know this piece will be a hit.”
It was a summer trip to Italy that stirred up her love for pasta. “I came back from a beautiful vacation and felt so inspired that the line Mama Mia was born. That 2017 collection still consists of some of our best-sellers to date. The Bowtie Stud is a forever favourite, along with the Pasta By The Yard (BTY) Bracelet.” The collection consists of designs primarily inspired by farfalle, penne and spaghetti pasta. “My love for food is all about its association with family. I love to host and cook for my family and friends. It brings people together — and similar to jewellery, it evokes a feeling, a memory and it stays with you,” shares Alison. Existing styles include the Penne Stud, Shell Stud, Large Shell Earrings, Bowtie Stud, Large Bowtie Earrings, Bowtie Bracelet, Bowtie Necklace, Mini Pasta BTY Necklace and Bracelet.
All of these styles are available exclusively through the alisonlou.com website.
Young Qatari jeweller Kaltham Al Majid’s new crescent moon studs designed for her fine jewellery brand, Kaltham’s Pavilion, is a nod to the croissant. Others such as New York City-based designer Brent Neale Winston too have been inspired by sweet treats to create jewels. Last year, she was commissioned to make an ice-cream pendant necklace: the 18k gold pendant is dusted with orange and pink sapphire, tsavorite garnet and blue topaz, while the cone is made from brown opal.
“Rainbow sherbet has always been a favourite of mine. It reminds me of the summers we spent in Fish Creek, Wisconsin, when my sisters and cousins and I would walk to the local ice-cream shop after dinner. I love Brent’s work and wanted a custom piece of something that felt whimsical and personal. So, I decided on the rainbow sherbet as a nod to the best memories of my childhood. The ice cream’s colours and nostalgia make me smile, and bring me back to a carefree time that Brent captured perfectly in my necklace,” shares the designer’s client.
To shop whimsical pieces by Brent, visit brentneale.com