‘Shine Like a Diamond’: KAGE Celebrates 10th Year With New Costume Jewelry Line

By middle August 1, 2019 16:22

‘Shine Like a Diamond’: KAGE Celebrates 10th Year With New Costume Jewelry Line

It has been quite a journey for KAGE founder Basma Abu Ghazaleh. In 2009, she and her childhood friend, Arwa Abdelhadi, decided to design a capsule collection for a trunk show with 35 pieces to test the market. Every piece sold out. At that time there were virtually no homegrown labels that created ready-to-wear clothes — most labels from the Middle East were all about couture.

“But that was not me, and I always believe in doing what you know,” says Abu Ghazaleh. At the time, she had worked in public relations and for her family’s business — but had not found her passion. It was the same story for Abdelhadi, a buyer at Chalhoub. They decided to come together and start KAGE. The duo’s first full collection was picked by Boutique 1.

For the last four years, though, Abu Ghazaleh has been running KAGE by herself. “We have really matured in the last three years or so. The tailoring is much more precise, our styling is better on every level and we now do a resort collection. Plus we have run our own e-commerce destination and now we have our own jewelry line,” says Basma in her studio in Dubai Design District (D3).

When Abu Ghazaleh was eight, she created some clothes from black bin bags. She and her cousin modeled them. Perhaps she should have known then that fashion was going to be her calling.

The KAGE girl, Abu Ghazaleh explains, is someone who just likes to have fun with her fashion, which is why the expansion into costume jewelry makes sense. While KAGE’s clothes are made in the UAE, all the jewelry is produced in Lebanon. Abu Ghazaleh wears every piece herself to test out that it is comfortable. She is not from the “No pain, no gain” school of fashion.

She may have no formal training, but her clothing line has stood the test of time. “I am happy when I see someone wearing a KAGE pieces that is three years old,” she says. “That’s my aim: To make fashion that lasts.” That is why she uses mainly French fabrics, while all samples are made in her D3 Studio so she can check every detail.

KAGE’s Fall 2019 line has a very Art Deco feel. That is a style that Abu Ghazaleh has always been drawn to. While the 1920s are the muse, it is still very modern; with blazers, cocktail dresses, pants and tops that can be worn together or with other staples from your wardrobe.

There is heavy use of metallic colors, and brocade fabrics lend these easy silhouettes a very plush feel. And her debut costume jewelry collection is linked to the clothes — the shell-like geometric motif that recurs is taken from one of the fabrics in her Fall/Winter line.

There are 12 styles available in both gold and silver in the collection, which focuses on earrings and hairpins. In keeping with Abu Ghazaleh’s love of functionality, the heavier earrings have clip-on versions. It is all about luxury that is long-lasting and practical; the silk pouches used to store the jewelry are lined with velvet.

The statement-making pieces have already been worn by UAE-based social-media stars Karen Wazen Bakhazi and Dana Hourani. And while its official launch is in the fall, she has already started selling the line for the summer, as it is so travel-friendly. It seems that Abu Ghazaleh’s first jewelry collection will likely enjoy the same success as KAGE’s first efforts.


By middle August 1, 2019 16:22
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