The life and style of celebrated jewellery designer, Noor Fares
In her London home
Anyone who has had their fill of greige should take a dip into jewellery designer Noor Fares’s world. The eight-bedroom mews house she shares with her husband Alexandre Al Khawam in Belgravia is a walk-in rainbow. “I’m definitely a hoarder,” she laughs, “but I do my best to keep it relatively organised.” It’s difficult to know where to look first: the shelf of crystals, the twinned rust-red velvet sofas, the patchwork-wood dining table, the wall of moon prints, the embroidered chairs, the framed Lebanese record sleeves, the… Wait a minute, up there on that stack of books—are those… Could they be… Ginger Spice’s Union Jack platform boots? “They are! I was given them as a birthday gift when I was a teenager,” she says. “My husband just doesn’t understand—he always asks, ‘Why do those have to be on the bookshelf?’”
Fares comes from a prominent Lebanese family in Paris (her father is a former deputy prime minister of Lebanon). “I grew up surrounded by these amazing, eccentric, fun women,” she says—namely Hala, her mother, an artist known for her penchant for wearing mismatched shoes; her creative polymath grandmother and fashion designer aunt Sonia Fares (a former Miss Lebanon). One of Fares’s earliest memories is of making rag dolls from off-cuts of fabric in her aunt’s studio.
Throughout her childhood, she was “obsessed” with gemstones. “There’s something about them that’s so magical. They look like they have special powers,” she says—an idea that she works into her collections (her latest, named Prana, is all about syncing the chakras). “The whole idea of their protective, magical, healing properties really got me interested in design and jewellery. It all comes from the stones.” Not that Fares’s interest is confined to jewellery-grade gemstones: she also collects crystals (starting long before their current fashion moment). “I believe they really bring positive energy into the home.” Every now and then, she bathes them in saltwater and “purifies” them under the light of a full moon.
After studying history of art at a university in Massachusetts, Fares moved herself to London, where she went to “Gem School” (the world-renowned Hatton Gardenbased GIA School, as it’s otherwise known). It was after this, and a master’s degree in jewellery design at Central Saint Martins, that she launched her own line. Today, her winged earrings and talisman-like pendants drop from the lobes and line the décolletages of high-society doyennes (women such as Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert and Eugenie Niarchos). Think that’s all a bit haughty? Fares knowingly side-eyes her shelves of troll dolls and lets out a laugh. The humour of those pink and turquoise tufts, XL soft-toy leopards and other trinkets is evident in her work. She’s her own best model. “I wear quite a few pieces at the same time. I’ll keep them on for a few months, and one day I’ll change it up.” Right now, she can’t go without her Divina crystal ball pendant, Octahedron earrings and stacked rings.
She wears them all with the bright and bold dresses that line the rails of her wardrobe, from the likes of Valentino (“I wear a lot of polka dots”), Mary Katrantzou (who designed the rainbow skirt she is wearing for one of her ELLE portraits) and Gucci. “I love what Gucci is doing. It’s fun, colourful and full of prints.” She adores jumpers by The Elder Statesman and layering pieces from The Row during the colder months; comfort is a priority (the plush ochre sofa and Manish Arora cushions attest to that). Fares also wore a beaded two-piece Manish Arora look at her wedding in 2016. That and a Giambattista Valli couture lace gown. And a bespoke white Alaïa dress.
Photographs from the wedding party hang on the wall by the stairs. They set the tone for a couple that loves to entertain. Dinners with friends around their Piet Hein Eek dining table often turn into dance parties that go on into the early hours. “Actually, I need to plan another one,” Fares says, and you can tell she’s already working through the theme, guestlist, menu and music in her mind. Whatever she decides, it’s certain she’ll have plenty of “friends” watching over the revelry, from the crystalheaded troll dolls to an alien toy (purchased at a gift shop near Area 51) and her spaniel pup, Charlie. There’s a lot of life in Fares’s home— and it’s reflected in her jewellery.
PHOTOGRAPHS : OLIVIA DA COSTA