Anabela Chan is a London and Paris-based award-winning jewellery designer and artist, who graduated from the world-renowned Royal College of Art in 2013 with 5 prestigious awards. Originally trained as an architect, Anabela worked with Lord Richard Rogers in London, and was a Fashion Print & Embroidery Designer for Alexander McQueen and AllSaints for 7 years before launching her eponymous brand in November 2013. Through an alchemy of natural, precious and man-made materials, Anabela creates unique jewels and treasures that can be handed down through the generations.
Photo: Fabio Affuso
If there was one piece of art you could feature in, which would it be and why?
I would love to be in one of Tim Walker’s whimsical photographs.
Who inspires you and why? An artist, a family member, someone current or historical?
Peter Beard – for the most enriching photographic journals of Africa. Guido Mocafico – for the most seductive, moving and mesmerising photographs of the wonders of nature. Joel Rosenthal of JAR – for the most intoxicating, rare, and one-of- a-kind jewels. Victoire de Castellane of Dior – for reinventing high jewellery on Place Vendome with an air of joy and playfulness.
What are your cultural aspirations? What do you still want to see, do and achieve?
To bring joy and wonder to people through my jewels and objets d’art. I love to create magical, fun and fabulous jewels that tell stories. My pieces combine the timeless craftsmanship and allure of high jewellery with a modern day wearability and accessibility; with a joyfulness reminiscent of our childhood dreams. It is about offering inspiring, beautifully-crafted jewels with longevity; works of art that are worn, loved and treasured forever. Travelling is my biggest passion and source of inspiration; where I collect unusual gems and stories from local markets, nature and the intriguing people I meet. I am fascinated with Latin America at the moment and am planning to travel through Cuba, Mexico and Peru this year.
What are your favourite cultural cities in the world and why?
London – where I have lived for the past 20 years. A truly diverse multi-cultural city full of treasures to be uncovered; be it in realms of art, culture, culinary or retail. Florence – a vast and beautiful monument to the Renaissance, writers such as Dante, Petrarch and Machiavelli contributed to its proud literary heritage; artists such as Botticelli, Michelangelo and Donatello turned the city into one of the world’s greatest artistic capital. It is the city where I married my husband Jimmy, an architect, two years ago. Delhi to Jaipur – venturing through the vibrant markets of old Delhi to the majestic palaces of Jaipur, India is a time machine. As Stanley Stewart perfectly puts it: ‘If the past is another country - heroic, glamorous, romantic - it is travel that allows us to reach it.’ Hong Kong – A fearless cosmopolitan city where East meets West and old temples and pockets of tranquility nestle in-between imposing skyscrapers. The city where I grew up until I was ten, Hong Kong still has the most beautiful urban skyline in the world by night.
What are you up to at the moment and where can we find it?
I am preparing for the opening of my very first stand-alone boutique this fall near Piccadilly; with the aim to be the most unique contemporary fine jewellery store in the world, maintaining an unprecedented level of retail experience, expertise and customer service. Through a combination of product, innovation and eccentricity, we aim to provide every customer with a truly unforgettable and personal experience. I will also be showcasing my jewels in Dubai this October in association with Vogue Italia and The EMAAR, during Vogue Fashion Dubai Experience 2014. I am excited to take my collections to the United Arab Emirates for the first time.