To celebrate the month of love, Egyptian luxury jewellery brand, Azza Fahmy turned verses by the great Egyptian poet, Ahmed Shawqi into a romantic Valentine jewellery collection for him and her. eniGma’s Nayera Yasser sat with Amina and Fatma Ghaly, the brand’s head designer and its managing director, respectively, to learn more about the new collection and the brand’s expansion into foreign markets, especially the recent opening of their first US boutique at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Beverly Hills.
Contemporary, timeless and invariably based on Egypt’s rich cultural heritage, these principles have guided the Azza Fahmy brand since its famous founder, Azza Fahmy, started designing jewellery fifty years ago. Over the course of five decades, this homegrown brand has been inspired by local cultural elements from different parts of Egypt, fusing them in Azza Fahmy’s beautiful creations of unique wearable art. As recognition and acclaim for the brand spread globally, it has established its presence in important regional and European markets and its jewellery has been seen on stars and celebrities around the world.
For many years, the Azza Fahmy brand has been known to use calligraphy and verse from famous Egyptian poets on its jewellery. Designing this year’s Valentine collection in the same tradition, Amina Ghaly interpreted love sentiments expressed by the great Egyptian poet Ahmed Shawqi (1868- 1932), while adopting a daintier approach in her designs. “I usually design the piece and then choose a verse or poem to match it. This time, it was the other way around. I fell in love with the poem and connected with it and wanted to incorporate it into a piece of jewellery,” says Amina, adding, “The collection’s wrap-around bracelet is beautiful to wear on its own or stacked with other bracelets or bangles. The concept of the multiple wraparound makes the bracelet trendy and unique.”
Elaborating on the concept behind the new collection and the sentiments expressed in its designs, Managing Director Fatma Ghaly adds, “Valentine’s Day was never necessarily restricted to couples. It is rather an opportunity for everyone to convey their feelings to loved ones. This formed part of our inspiration for the collection. Besides romantic ‘His and Her’ matching bands, the collection includes earrings, rings, bracelets and a necklace in our trademark 18ct gold and sterling silver.” She identifies the men’s line as an area of growing interest to the brand, noting, “We are responding to increasing sales and consumer demand.”
After having opened a number of stores in several Arab capitals, the brand inaugurated their first flagship store in London, a few months ago. More recently, they celebrated the opening of their first boutique in the US at the new Waldorf Astoria Hotel in the posh Beverly Hills neighborhood. Explaining their choice of this location, Fatma says, “The Waldorf Astoria is an icon in Beverly Hills, and it’s a great location to shop for luxury items. Additionally, being in Beverly Hills, we are perfectly placed to benefit from the upcoming awards season’s traffic. We have designed a luxurious, yet warm and intimate setting where clients will be able to experience and shop the 50-year heritage of the Azza Fahmy brand; from the limited edition handcrafted 12 piece exclusive LA collection, to a specially curated selection of best-selling pieces from across our most popular collections.”
Given that the US is one of Azza Fahmy’s biggest online markets, it is not surprising it is at the core of the brand’s current attention. “We already have a presence in Washington DC, where we have been retailing at the Syra Arts Gallery for a few years,” says Fatma, adding,” When the opportunity arose for a ‘pop up’ store in the recently opened landmark property, the Waldorf Astoria in Los Angeles, it was definitely a natural step for our global expansion.”
With several retail locations around the globe, Fatma explains that Azza Fahmy’s pieces tell stories that global customers can relate to, while being stylish, timeless and contemporary at the same time. Wherever they are located, Azza Fahmy’s clientele are women and men who seek unique designs with integrity. “They appreciate craftsmanship and our distinctive translation of art and historic references,” she proudly explains.
As for their near-future plans, the brand is now fully focused on celebrating Azza Fahmy’s big 50th anniversary in the last quarter of the year.