You must be wondering why this designer incorporates the term ‘body jewellery’ in her title. Considering that all jewellery is in fact worn on the body, it may seem somewhat superfluous. Nevertheless, once you’ve seen Nina Bakry’s work, you understand why the distinction is essential and pertinent. Scrolling through her online feed, her creations weirdly reminded us of a quote from Christopher Nolan’s 2010 hit, Inception. To be specific, the part where the delectable Tom Hardy uttered, “You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling”. This Egyptian jewellery designer doesn’t just make pieces for conventional spaces of the body. She wants you to broaden your definition of what it means to adorn your body.
Who is Nina Bakry?
While we are on the topic of films, Nina Bakry didn’t start out as a jewellery designer. Although she’d always had a passion for jewellery, she decided to study Mass Communication in university and then later worked in cinema production for seven years. During this time, she’d often visit jewellery making workshops in Khan El Khalili (a major souk in Cairo) to learn a few jewellery-making skills as a hobby. However, the birth of her son inspired her to enrol in Azza Fahmy Design Studio workshop to finally learn the intricacy of jewellery making and its techniques. Bakry launched Nina Bakry Body Jewellery in 2014, and has experienced some success since. She can literally name drop Lady Gaga as one of the celebrities to have worn her work.
Her Hand-crafted Jewellery
Bakry’s design aesthetic can be attributed to her fascination with the visual representation of cultures throughout history. Hence the ethnic flair in many of her works. However, she doesn’t limit herself to that; often choosing to let a feeling or moment be her muse as well. Her materials of choice include semi-precious and precious stones, coupled with metals such as silver, copper, brass and enamel. You’ll find hints of gold and silver platting as well. But that’s far as conventional will go with this brand. To make sure that each piece is unique and inspired, she doesn’t use a mould in the casting process. Instead, she attentively crafts by hand. Consequently, you’ll probably never see the exact piece in her store. In fact, you may not find the exact style either. Bakry intentionally allows the direction of the brand to continuously evolve and go in any creative direction.
What you can be assured is that her pieces are designed to make a statement. As if an ode to her cinematic past, she constantly works with culture, art and colour to create alternative pieces that can’t be missed. Whether it’s playing with scale when it comes to the brooches or perhaps throwing the ‘less is more’ mantra to the wind and taking necklace layering to the extreme. She strays away from the orthodox and trends to help her establish her spot in the teeming jewellery industry in Egypt.
Another interesting aspect to Bakry’s pieces is that she doesn’t want to confine her pieces to one part of the body. If you ask any fashion stylist who decided to get a little creative at an editorial photoshoot, they can tell you that many jewellery designers aren’t too keen on liberties being taken when it comes to piece-placement. If it’s a necklace let it be worn around the neck, thank you. Bakry, on the other hand, encourages it. In an interview with Cairo West Magazine, she explained that her Body Jewellery plays by no rules, “An arm cuff that can be worn on the leg, a chain that can be worn around the torso, a neck-piece that can be work on the head. It’s adaptable and can be something different every time you wear it.”
She even encourages her clients to wear the jewellery above the clothes, especially in the colder months to enhance your look and stand out. As she elaborated in an interview with Insight Egypt, “My work is mainly about enhancing the body as a whole; that is how I consider my designs different, I want the piece to not just stand out, but to also make the person wearing it seem interesting, like they have a story to tell.”
Bakry sets herself apart by choosing to redefine what jewellery is and how it should be worn. Why stop at the ears, writs and neck when there are so many unchartered territories of the body to decorate and express your individualism with? As Dr. Seuss puts it, ‘Why fit in when you were born to stand out?’