Gurhan is the latest designer to move behind the camera by beginning to shoot his company’s advertising campaigns.
“I’ve been practicing photography since the beginning out of necessity, now it’s a hobby,” said Gurhan, who goes by only one name and will introduce a new campaign that he photographed himself this fall.
Above photography however, the fine jewelry designer, a native of Ankara, Turkey, has had a love for jewelry since seeing a sheet of pure 24-karat gold at a Turkish souk in 1994.
“I fell in love with it,” said Gurhan, while toying with the piece in his hand.
He carries it with him everywhere, melding and bending it until it gets so damaged that he has to melt it and make it again. “I’ve seen other gold, but none like this,” he said.
Gurhan then began to make pieces, with no training in metalsmithing or sculpting. He studied ancient techniques of jewelry making and soon developed a signature of hammering. While alloys of 24-karat gold are typically used in contemporary jewelry, Gurhan soon developed a signature of hammering the metal. The hammering not only led to a distinctive look, but it caused the piece of jewelry to be harder than most pure gold.
“It’s a very sensual inspiration,” said Gurhan of his designs. “There’s also a technical inspiration with architectural thinking.”
The business took off when Gurhan, who was then selling piece by piece in small Turkish shops, was approached by Wall Street executive Fiona Tilley, who was vacationing and purchased several pieces on her holiday. Tilley was so moved, professionally and personally, that she partnered with Gurhan in growing his business. The two now reside in New York, where the company is based. The firm employs 40 people in the U.S. and more than 100 people in Istanbul, where most production for Gurhan and where European and Russian sales take place. Each piece is handmade and has a historical feel.
“I feel like a designer rather than a goldsmith,” said Gurhan. “My styles are more Roman and Greek and Byzantine. We behave more like a fashion company. I follow forecasts, colors, collections, everything.”
The company produces 400 to 650 pieces twice a year. The gold line is the main one and features precious and colored gemstones. It retails from $1,000 for a pair of small earrings to $100,000 for an elaborate diamond and gemstone necklace. There is also a platinum collection and a line of oxidized silver with gold that retails for $300 to $6,000. Gurhan also creates several limited edition collections each year based on things he collects, such as antique micro mosaics, coins or Egyptian scarabs.
The new advertising campaign is a departure for Gurhan, showing vignettes from the collection. The campaign will bow in October and November issues of Elle, Harper’s Bazaar and W.
“This jewelry is not a commodity,” said Tilley. “It comes out of his hand. Who better than him to shoot it?”
Tilley, who was an attorney for 15 years and later worked in corporate finance, said that, despite economic woes in the U.S., the company’s sales are up by 24 percent for the first half of 2008. The company declined to reveal its annual sales.
The line is sold in Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus stores, as well as independent jewelers across the globe.
“He’s well priced, well marketed and has a broad range of product from entry level into dramatic, important kinds of pieces,” said Jim Rosenheim, chief executive officer of Tiny Jewel Box in Washington. “He’s very prolific. He brings a lot of different directions that a retailer can buy into and it can appeal to a lot of different customers”
This year, to combat the trying U.S. economy, the company is expanding internationally. The U.S. now represents 80 percent of sales with over 250 doors, while the U.K. represents 10 percent of sales. There are plans to grow into Europe, Russia, South America and Asia. There is also talk of expanding into myriad product categories such as watches, which Gurhan now does on a private basis.�
Breaking News: @louisvuitton's men's artistic director @mrkimjones is leaving the French fashion house after nearly 7 years. Jones joined Louis Vuitton in 2011, following a three year tenure as creative director of British luxury goods brand Alfred Dunhill. Jones is to exit Louis Vuitton after showing his fall 2018 collection for the brand in Paris on Thursday. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews