«My jewels represent the merging of my childhood universe - made of the traditional costumes my Tunisian grand-mother used to wear, with the silver sequins and sumptuous embroideries - and my life in France where I discovered the world of fashion, jewellery and dressmaking», explains Shourouk Rhaiem, a young creator born in Paris from Tunisian parents. Her jewels, a modern re-interpretation of the embroideries of the Nabeul region, are made in India, brought to Paris, Tokyo, New York, Seoul, Dubai and elsewhere… By themselves, they make up for the most beautiful intercultural dialogue, as the ones that rise spontaneously out of elective affinities.
An interview with a young fairy that has come right out of a modern tale.
The name Shourouk means dawn, and is already a poem. This young woman has the grace of a fairy sprung out of a modern tale. On the day of our meeting, as soon as we sit at her favourite café, around Beaubourg, in the heart of Paris, she takes out of her bag a thousand and one small little boxes and other bags that hide small marvellous objects, which she lays out on the table, under our astonished gaze. Necklaces embroidered with sequins, brooches and hair sets…
When she was a child, Shourouk didn’t know she was to be a creator of jewels. She dreamed of being an ethnologist, and later on an infographist. Yet, she fabricated her first jewel, her first charm, with a piece of embroidered fabric she had recovered in a souk in Tunisia, her parent’s birthplace. She was very proud of this necklace made of bits and pieces and wore it like a princess’s jewel.
This souvenir would have come back to her and provoke the revelation once the time come to decide on her profession. After her studies at the creation and designer school, she integrated her studies with the prestigious studio Berçot. That finished, everything followed on and the big Parisian maisons opened their doors for her. She followed a stage at Chloé, another one at Galliano, where her broideries are on parade and hit the headlines with a beautiful book published by Swarosvski, then she got her first job at Cavalli in Florence.
When she came back from Italy, without hesitation, she launched her label that bears her name. Without resorting to credit but thanks to a friend who believed in her, she presented her first collection on January 2008 at the Prêt-à-porter salon in Paris after several trips to Mumbay, in India where, just like Prada or Yves Saint Laurent, she has her manufacturers. “I’m terribly lucky that my friend financed my collection and he bet 12.000 Euro on me to launch it” she recognises. “I didn’t need to run after banks or sponsors”.
Her first client was a Saudi boutique which in Riad is what the concept store Collette is in Paris. Today, Shourouk’s jewels are on sale in the most chic boutiques of Paris (Bon Marché, Franck&Fils, etc) and in the other four corners of the planet (New York, Séoul, Riad, Tokyo, Dubai, Hong Kong). Their creator doesn’t imagine these jewels worn on sophisticated outfits but on plain ordinary clothes, in order to instil some poetry to daily life.
If her first collection was inspired by Donkeyskin (her favourite film), she chose mermaids as her muses for the second one. “I asked myself what kind of jewels I would have worn if I was a mermaid”, confesses this young woman who seems to live in the wonder world of her imagination. And here’s the result…
Shourouk defines herself as a young French Parisian woman up to the tip of her toes, evolving in the modern world with her Tunisian background.
We ask her what the nicest compliment she ever received was. “One of my clients commissioned only the sequin embroidered jewels and when I asked him why he wanted those in particular, he answered: “I never saw anything like this, it’s really new”. “Though it is actually a mere interpretation of the embroideries of the traditional costumes of Nabeul, I was quite proud” she confesses.