Sabine Getty Talks Baubles And Beirut

BY Harper's Bazaar Arabia / Jun 21 2016 / 21:06 PM

The Lebanese/Egyptian jewellery designer Sabine Ghanem - now Sabine Getty, following her marriage to Joseph Getty a year ago - channels her Beirut childhood into a love of extravagant, yet controlled glamour, as she fronts Dior's latest creative campaign for the Diorever handbag

Sabine Getty Talks Baubles And Beirut
Sabine Getty Talks Baubles And Beirut
Sabine Getty wears: Coat, Dhs71,000; trousers, Dhs5,400; medium ‘Diorever’ bag in metallic malachite green metallised alligator, Dhs110,000, all Dior. Photography: Lena C Emery for Dior. Styling: Azza Yousif. Set design: Carole Gregoris. Make-up: Janeen Witherspoon. Hair: Christian Eberhard. Manicure: Sarah Atallah. Production: Mathieu le Denmat (Brachfeld)

My jewellery is…very cheerful, colourful, pretty modern, simple and easy to wear. I use a lot of coloured stones, semi-precious stones. I like playing with different arrangements of colour and design to create something new.

I’m certain the stones have… a meaning and a power, but it is especially the way they look that interests me. I am looking for the shade that best represents the energy I want to give rather than the identity of the stone.

I truly have great memories of my teenage years in Beirut… I was at the French Lycée and I remember being extremely creative with my group of friends. Always writing plays and short films. Going to the mountains and enjoying the nature, it was a very innocent and strongly creative time for me.

Before becoming a jewellery designer… I admit, I wanted to be on stage. I did theatre for three years, and it was really my first love. I wanted to be Maria Callas. When she speaks or sings everything is exaggerated, grandiose and dramatic. The pains are profound, the joys soaringly powerful. There is something larger than life and the everyday. I find this thrilling.

Through creating jewellery… I found my own way to create a magnified theatre-like world. In a way I’m keeping the influence of the dramatic arts in my creations.

I studied for two years… at the GIA, the New York gemological institute. I learned the chemical composition of the stones, how to note and grade them. Although it was necessary to undertake this step, it’s not the one I liked best. It was when I started to draw and try to create that the passion really blossomed in me.

'Ziggy' necklace, Dhs85,210, Sabine Getty

When I was a child… I watched, fascinated, as my mother wore beautiful jewellery. In the 1980s, sophisticated women enthusiastically sported big hair and lots of jewellery with real presence. I like glamorous and extravagant things. That’s something that I have seen a lot growing up in Beirut. It’s this image that I try to recreate, but in a more contemporary way. Jewellery is no longer worn the way it was before. Today, you can wear a ring on each finger, but a thin ring. I remain a believer in the maxim that ‘more is more’ and I combine things a lot, but in a controlled way.

Lebanese women… have always been into jewellery. They accessorise a lot and they are not afraid to go big. I think a lot of us have seen women wearing such incredible pieces as we were growing up. It has probably stayed with us and helped us creatively.

The pieces in my latest collection… have real volume, some are quite imposing but always have finesse. Some are imposing, yes, but their design is rather fine. You need to have a balance. This year I reconsidered my creative vision. I wanted my jewellery to reflect a young mindset, so it’s colourful and contemporary. Before, my designs were classic and vintage.

I choose the jewellery that I’ll wear… after I get dressed. Jewellery should highlight the overall outfit, much like shoes or a bag. Indeed, the bag is quite important. It’s the accessory that’s added at the end, but it’s also the one that can ruin everything if it doesn’t work with the rest of the outfit. Of course, it can also enhance it and really make the look. The size of the bag must be carefully chosen, because if it’s overwhelming then it drowns out everything else. I’m more comfortable with little bags than with big, somewhat invasive ones. I like being able to sport them with a strap. Of course, I could survive without my bag...but I think I’m happier with it.

My one beauty trick… is to always have perfectly groomed hair. You will never meet a Lebanese woman that doesn’t have impeccable hair.

For my wedding… I took a parure of diamond from my mothers and transformed it. I created a diamond headpiece and earrings in the shape of rays of sun. My engagement ring is from SJ Phillips in London. It is an emerald ring from the 1920s.

This article appears in the June 2016 issue of Harper's Bazaar Arabia