Six questions with Kara Ross
Groundbreaking is the first thing that comes to mind whenever I try to describe Kara Ross’s work. Fine jewellery is usually boring, while statement accessories are mostly never worthy of being rubbed against our royal, pearly white skin because of the cheap and downright tacky materials often used in making them. I think Kara Ross is groundbreaking – and brilliant – because she was able to successfully fuse bold attitude with fine materials that won’t give their wearer skin allergies. Or tetanus.
And so when I heard that the New York-based designer, whose clients include cast members of Gossip Girl and Sex and the City, was flying out to Dubai, I knew I had to meet her to discuss why she thought crafting jewellery out of that which is usually reserved for furniture – and firewood – would be a good idea. Here are my six questions with Kara Ross.
What led you to experiment on exotic skins in fine jewellery and why did you think it would be a good idea? I thought that that it would be unique, and that the gemstones would really highlight the skins well.
What do you think of the future of wood as a material in jewellery? Is this a trend that will fade away after two seasons or will this have some kind of staying power? I started using wood a few years ago, so the fact that wood is being used more frequently nowadays shows the kind of staying power it has. I believe that organic, natural elements tend to outlast trends because they can take on so many interesting forms.
I find it interesting that upmarket brands are now trying to introduce woven straw in luxury clutches and bags. This used to be (and still is in some places) a very utilitarian design in Asia. What can you say about this crossing over of the woven straw pattern? I was very excited to integrate a new texture into my bag collections. The straw we use is an Italian woven straw, which is of a very luxurious quality, and still retains that original utilitarian element. It also works really well in combination with the skin.
Why do you think your designs are such a hit among women here in the Middle East? I think that the women in the Middle East truly appreciate craftsmanship, uniqueness and exclusivity, qualities that are very important to me when it comes to my designs.
What do you think about Arabian-inspired jewellery? Is it something you would incorporate in future designs? I think it’s beautiful, and I absolutely could see myself incorporating Arabian elements into my future designs. I get most of my inspiration from traveling.
Any plans to work on men’s accessories any time soon? What products would you most likely design? I have made some men’s pieces as special gifts for my husband and friends in the past. Right now, I am concentrating on women’s accessories, but am open to designing for men in the future.