Structures and Stones: From Beirut to Berlin

With a background in graphic design and a master’s in accessories design from Milan’s Domus Academy, Ghita Abi-Hanna has since 2012 been running her self-titled Margherita label, which was recently shortlisted for the International Talent Support jewelry.

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You’re off to Berlin Fashion Week, how did that happen?
I had lately been doing a lot of research on the European market, trying to approach showrooms and boutiques that I felt suited my jewelry. A friend fashion designer living in Berlin had sent me a few contacts upon me asking her. To my pleasant surprise, most of the showrooms I contacted in Berlin replied with interest. I thus settled on one of them and agreed with them to showcase my designs during Berlin Fashion Week at the Capsule Show, a small fair that takes place there yearly. The reason I also chose Berlin is that they tend to have a very industrial feel in their fashion and jewelry which is very much in line with my own work.

What will you be exhibiting? And who else will be there?
I will actually be exhibiting a large selection of my designs made up from three different collections. The pieces consist mainly of rings, earrings and necklaces. The showroom that I am exhibiting with, Fier Management, will be showcasing the work of two other fashion designers whom they represent. There will also be a large array of young contemporary designers whose work I am very much looking forward to discover.

Tell us about the new collection?
The new collection stemmed from the previous one in terms of shapes. The variant here is the lighter structural aspect of the metal and the incorporation of Quartz stones for the first time in my work. The forms remain very geometrical, architectural and pure and my choice of colors for the stones was limited to white and green to retain the sobriety that has become my signature.

Do you normally follow a theme while designing a new collection?
Yes, of course I do. I actually begin with a theme when I first conceive of a collection. I do ample research and and brainstorming for a long time around that theme before I actually start designing and drawing.

Where did you study?
I obtained my Bachelor in Graphic Design from AUB. After a few years of experience, I moved to Italy to do a Master in Accessories Design at Domus Academy in Milan.

What was the first item you designed?
In my life? A dress made from bed sheets! You know it’s hard to tell. I’ve been experimenting and creating my own jewelry and accessories at home for as long as I can remember. But in proper design terms, I think it was a pair of shoes for a group project that we were assigned to do at university.

Tell us about the hardships you faced and how you overcome them?
Each period in my journey has presented a different set of hardships. There are periods when creativity and ideas don’t flow easily, other periods when production problems occur and others when it’s a matter of dealing with people in my professional milieu. It’s funny how each obstacle we face seems like the toughest yet, but we soon realize it was a piece of cake in comparison to other obstacles that appear as we progress. Somehow, things seem to solve themselves at the end of the day. Some hardships take a lot of hard work to overcome, others just vanish miraculously and the rest you sometimes have to deviate away from, put them behind you and maybe choose a different path.

If you want to give advice to young and talented people out there, what three things would you tell them?
Don’t copy others, do what you love to do regardless of what people say and take your time.

What trends are you into this season?
I’d like to believe that I set my own trends. Seriously, pompousness aside, I actually do not follow any trends. I believe that uniqueness is achieved by creating pieces that are inspired by other things than what is currently in fashion.

What are your favorite items in your closet and why?
My sneakers. Other girls own countless heels, I own countless sneakers. They’re comfortable, stylish and you can surely find a pair to match any outfit.

If I open your bag now, what will we find?
Not much! Wallet, phone, keys and glasses. Oh, I forgot the most important item, my daily planner.

If you were to choose one celebrity to wear your designs, who would it be and why?
Tilda Swinton, this woman has an unmatchable presence and a certain edginess that I love.

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