Lebanese jewelry designer Ralph Masri is going from strength to strength. The Central Saint Martins grad with a Swarovski award and an internship with Pomellato under his belt spoke with Style.com/Arabia about continuing a family passion and launching his eponymous label.
ON FOLLOWING IN HIS FATHER’S FOOTSTEPS
Growing up, I was always the creative type—I was never into sports. I preferred drawing, crafts, and playing with my hands. My parents were in the jewelry business but I never thought that it was for me. Dad always said, “Just watch and you’ll see.” I wanted to become a painter, but as I grew older I realized that maybe [painting] wasn’t the most sustainable of jobs so I applied to Central Saint Martins with the intention of studying graphic design. The first year at CSM is the foundation year and you don’t really specialize. During this time I realized that what I enjoyed the most was jewelry. It was a last minute change of heart but it became my passion and I graduated in 2011.
ON RETURNING TO BEIRUT
There was a big Swarovski competition that I won so I got to intern for them as well as Pomellato and Scott Wilson fashion jewelry in London, but I decided that when I graduated I would come back to my birthplace—Beirut.
ON PRODUCING AN ATTENTION-GRABBING FIRST COLLECTION
I needed to design a strong collection to get the ball rolling. My “Trace of Lace” collection has a lot of intricate floral motifs and was part of my final CSM collection so I decided to continue developing it. Then, I did some trade shows and I was lucky to have my aunt who works in fashion in London who has a lot of contacts help me. Success is one part talent, one part luck.
ON OPENING HIS OWN SHOWROOM IN BEIRUT
I started to build a client base here and I didn’t really have an official address where I could showcase my collections and meet my clients and things were really starting to pick up so I opened my showroom less than six months ago. It’s located in the Mar Mikhael district in Beirut, which is a really new up-and-coming designer hub district where you have the new generation designers. It has really made a big difference having my own address.
ON BLOWING OFF STEAM
I have a lot on my plate—I more or less do everything on my own, so come the weekend I like to party and experiment with food or try out some new restaurants—one of my biggest pleasures is food. I love Marinella for Italian food and Liza for Lebanese food. I also love going to the Northern beaches of Batroun during the summer and hitting the mountains in the winter. It’s important to blow off steam, because my weeks are extremely stressful.
See Ralph Masri’s latest collection “Arabesque” in the gallery above.