The Onigiri burger ring and other designs from Nadine Ghosn’s new Japan-themed collection.
PARIS — She created a buzz with her stackable gluten-free veggie burger ring and Nadine Ghosn, for her second collection — due to enter Colette on exclusive on March 1 — will be serving up a new sandwich: The Onigiri stackable burger ring, featuring an 18-karat gold bun sprinkled with black diamond sesame seeds — not forgetting a pink-sapphire lining for the ginger.For the fun Japan-themed collection, the emerging jewelry designer has also created a blue-and-white limited-edition Daruma doll for Colette's 20th anniversary, made from 18-karat gold, blue sapphires and white diamonds and black diamonds. Born in South Carolina and of Lebanese-Brazilian descent, it’s a theme close to Ghosn’s heart: She lived in Japan for seven years from ages 10 to 17.Other highlights in the line — dubbed On a Roll and featuring around 35 pieces — are the maki ring and a sushi necklace strung with 14 precious charms including edamame, tuna, tempura and shrimp. The collection will be available for pre-order on the designer’s web site from May, before entering Le Bon Marché in Paris and Bergdorf Goodman in New York in June.Ghosn, who was on a management program at Hermès before launching her line around a year ago, said she wanted to explore an approach to jewelry that's “less sterile and in-the-box.” For now, she works with artisans based in Lebanon. The designer through her colorful, precious plays on everyday items such as batteries, earphones and matches creates pieces that her generation — the Millennials — can relate to. Prices range from around $150 for ear studs in motifs inspired by text messaging up to around $16,000 for the line's sushi ring showpiece, which weighs in at almost 60 grams of gold.WWD: So you’re a bit of a sushi addict…Nadine Ghosn: For me, it’s about playing with colors and food but also about taking something I find very artistic — and the tradition behind it — and applying it to my media. [Sushi is] so detail-oriented and beautiful, and there’s the artisanry, like the guy starts out by learning how to cut cucumber for three years before he can touch the rice. That is always something I found very intriguing.WWD: As a Millennial designing with Millennials in mind, what tips can you share on the best way of engaging with your generation on social media and through design?N.G.: I’m just going by my gut feeling on things, I’m not going by the rule of being very color-themed in my Instagram, for instance, it’s more about [a raw, honest way of] sharing the journey behind the jewelry. It’s also about having a voice. My voice is humorous but also relates to the time and age we are in. The "Shut Up/Shut Down" earrings from my last collection were a huge success because they were worn by Beyoncé multiple times, and here, and in the new collection, I have "Stand Up/Down." With everything that is happening with Trump, politics, women, I think that will resonate a lot with our generation, and with women.WWD: Is your generation very politically engaged?N.G.: Extremely. I’ve had, like, 20 petitions come through my e-mail from people from business school, from college, from clubs….WWD: Do you have any other tips for brands looking to captivate the Millennials audience?N.G.: My view is that we are looking for things that are unique and innovative. That’s why young designers are able to get the traction they get today because people are conforming less to what society views as luxury. And the reason young designers have a voice is because Instagram has been a huge equalizing platform. We’re all super connected.WWD: So is Instagram the most relevant platform in your view?N.G.: For me, it’s a game-changer, it gives you a voice and honesty. It’s been a huge player for me as I’m able to show more of what goes on behind the scenes. [My generation wants to understand] who the designer is behind the product; to understand the journey.WWD: Can you share some of the ways you use Instagram?N.G.: Yes, when I’m in Beirut, for example, and have a day between manufacturers, production, catalogues, etc., I’ll create a story that marks my day throughout, so people can follow me on. It gives a dimensionality to my product. And any time I get press, I can update people on what is going on. It’s the tracking mechanism of the journey and behind the scenes. Also for product, when we see it in stores, it’s very [static] and Instagram allows the designer to give it life. You can play with a ring in different ways, say, and it gives ideas to the viewers, which has been super important for my brand.WWD: Are there any new Instagram features that you’re particularly excited about?N.G.: Yes, Instagram Stories. People have gone from Snapchat to Instagram Stories because more people see your stories on Instagram. And now you can [tag] people in your story, which is really important. People now have such short attention spans, and it makes it really easy to follow and inquire on someone. My Instagram profile is professional so I get statistics every week. I can see how many people have clicked to my web site, viewed my profile, or what is the best time to post. Now there are all the analytics behind it for people using it as a business platform.WWD: And your Daruma wishing doll and the idea of talismans and motivational designs, is this also something you believe your generation can relate to?N.G.: Absolutely. Today, success is more linked to balance and passion over financial rewards. That’s a huge shift that I’ve seen in 10 years. And with that comes this focus on wellness, health, goal-oriented[ness], gratitude, yoga, gluten free. There’s this huge wave of people finding their voice, their balance, their passion. That is the true indicator of success. The idea with the doll is that when you buy it, only one of the eyes is filled with a diamond, and when a wish comes true, or a goal is achieved, the customer can return it to me to have me fill in the second eye.
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