The series of interviews with women and men who have personalities, story to tell and their own GEM style. They make it happen for themselves all over the world and follow GEMOLOGUE by Liza Urla.
Join me while I interview Kenza at the new Nobu Hotel Marbella, which is practically her home away from home. Kenza is a modern woman with Haiti-American upbringing, European heart and Parisian flair. She is a beautiful person with a kind soul and a passion for art. Her jewellery box is eclectic: from hand-made treasures from all over the world to one-of-a-kind pieces inherited from her family. Her impressive career journey from Chanel to Boucheron has made her into the woman she wants to be, and with Pippa Small for an aunt she is destined for greatness! But what really makes her a unique personality is her all-consuming kindness. Meet Kenza Carlson Eyzaguirre!
Name: Kenza Carlson Eyzaguirre
Alma Mater: American University of Paris
Occupation: PR & Event
Hometown: Marbella, Spain
LOCATION AT TIME OF INTERVIEW: Nobu Hotel Marbella. As for the restaurants in Marbella I love going to Serafina, beach clubs Chiringuito Ibiza and Marbella, MC Beach Marbella Club. My favourite shops are A concept, Lagoon, Ekseption Puerto Banus.
IN THE BEGINNING: I grew up surrounded by artists and designers in my family and therefore my passion for art and history began as a child. As well as my interest in jewellery, as my mother would design and create pieces at home and we have two well-known and admired gemologists in the family. In university in Paris I began studying art history, which was the ideal city to study it, as Paris itself is the best museum. From art history I went on to study marketing and international communications, which I thought would enable me to have a broad choice of career opportunities. My first internship was in Geneva at the UN and then I moved on to the luxury sector in Paris. From there I decided to take a break in Marbella my hometown for a few months and ended up staying. My friends from Paris, the Moretti brothers from the Moretti & Moretti gallery the biggest street art and pop art gallery in the world, decided to open in the Marbella Club Hotel. I was going to help them to take care of the gallery in Marbella, while they were in Paris, and I ended up staying with them and my unknown passion for street art began! I would like to eventually have my own concept gallery with rotating exhibitions of up-and-coming artists.
USA OR EUROPE: I prefer to live in Europe as it is so accessible to travel in between all the cities and I love the old world charm Europe has and history. The US is a fantastic place to visit and I love L.A. however, I prefer Europe to live. I grew up in Marbella always traveling back and forth with my mother to California until the age of 10 and then we moved to Tennessee were I studied in high school. At the age of 17 I moved back to Europe to study at American University of Paris.
PARIS: I lived in Paris for 17 years and after university went on to work for several luxury brands. Now I still go back three times a year during fashion week as the city is at its best during this time, the streets become a circus of colour and interesting characters! My favourite place is Hotel Costes, it has the best ambiance by far. In winter I love the George V for tea, and the newly renovated Ritz. The rue Cler in the 7ème were I used to live is charming with the fresh fruit and vegetables stands and the best boulangeries, and Le Petit Cler a typical french bistro has the best cuisine! La salad nicoise and omlete au champinions and the fresh rhubarb and pear crumbles! The YSL museum foundation of Avenue Marceau is tiny, therefore more intimate with rotating exhibitions! St. Germain, of course, the Cafe Flor is a must and has one of my favourite tarte tatins! “Apple tart”. Assouline book shop just off of the Eglise de St. Germain is wonderful, I could spend hours there.
MARBELLA: I was born in Marbella, but left as a child to the States and then to Paris. However, I would always come to visit for the holidays. One has the best quality of life here, wonderful weather, it is safe not overcrowded and the proximity to the mountains and sea is ideal! My favorite places here: La Tienda restaurant in La Virginia, it was one of the first restaurants in Marbella. It has kept its old world charm and Andalusian feel in a beautiful setting. It is very romantic and picturesque! I love Serafina restaurant in Puente Romano, delicious cuisine and you are in the middle of all the action of the plaza of the hotel. Marbella Club in the summer with its patio parties is great fun! They host studio 54 and flower power parties with fantastic decorations and costumes. MC Beach is another favourite, I love the turquoise colours of the beach club, it is my favourite colour. Celicioso the gluten-free cafe for the juices is the best!
VEGANISM: My mother has been vegan her whole life so as a child when I lived with her in the States I was used to eating a plant-based diet. For me its the norm, when I moved back to Spain and then Paris I started eating fish again as seafood in the Mediterranean is essential and so healthy, I honestly think a pescaterian diet is the healthiest, however about two years ago I became more and more conscious of our planet, the environment and sustainability and I cut out all fish and dairy, anything coming from an animal even honey. It is a personal decision of mine and I feel wonderful. I tend to eat raw vegan, nothing processed and no artificial sugars. In winter it is a bit harder so I have plenty of pumpkin, cauliflower soups, sweet potatoes and steamed vegetables. I am constantly researching information about ocean conservation, anti-plastic campaigns and veganism. I am also collaborating with the environmental projects with seminars and hospitality events, which I hope to do more of as I do believe it is the future and want help make the world a better place!
BOUCHERON: I worked for Boucheron in Place Vendome in the PR and marketing department which was a most rewarding experience as Boucheron is the oldest Haute Joaillerie House in France!
CORTO MOLTEDO: At Corto Moltedo back then (the son of the founders of Bottega Veneta), it was a new exciting pop up brand located in Palais Royal with funky 80’s inspired clutches and accessories. I was involved in the marketing and press relations for shoots and events we hosted in-house at the Palais Royal boutique. We had a fantastic Christmas party with his newest models designed with sequence and green and red python Susan clutches. Corto, the designer, has such a charm and way with people/ clients that once you meet him you become enamoured with his brand, he represents cool funk, the latest contemporary trends inspired by the underground music and art scenes resulting in cutting edge designs on classic models.
SHOP CORTO MOLTEDO:
CHANEL: I worked briefly for Chanel and then the buying office Mint on Rue St. Honore. I took care of the U.S. market for Saks Fifth Avenue NY. At Chanel I worked at several of their boutiques on a temporary contract in client guest relations. During my experience I was able to learn about the intricate details that go into each design and the marketing behind the presentation and packaging is all about an experience unique to Chanel, which is what the customer stays with. Chanel is very smart in targeting the sensory detail of memory and emotion, so when a customer walks into a Chanel he immediately enters the Chanel world: the scent, the presentation, the packaging, the camellia etc. They are meticulous to detail. What most impressed me about Chanel was my interaction with the Asian Market, the Chinese and Japanese would queue every morning in front of the boutiques with a list of pieces they would purchase. They had no limits and the shops would keep track of each client allowing them only to purchase a certain number. It reminded me of a Luxury version of McDonald’s fast shopping, one stop and go. At Mint, the buying office located on rue. St Honore, I learned a tremendous amount of how the buying process and collection selection is made for big department stores such as David Jones Australia, Hudson Bay Canada and Sacks Fifth Avenue US and Mexico. I was in charge of the US market meaning I would organize the buying agendas/ showroom visits, shows and entire fashion week agendas for the US buyers during the four fashion weeks of the year in Paris. We collaborated with Vanity Fair in a few events with upcoming brand presentations and I was lucky to meet upcoming designers, who were just beginning at the time and now have made it big (Haider Ackermann for example, who I am a big admirer of).
ALAIA: I remember my first visit to the Alaia showroom in the Marais, he held a small fashion show luncheon I was accompanying the buyers, I was able to see first hand the labor behind each dress. Alaia himself explained the process behind each creation, what inspired him and then the creativity process itself. One’s perception changes completely, he was indeed a genius!
PIPPA SMALL: I love spending time in London helping at my cousin Pippa Small’s beautiful boutique in Notting Hill. Pippa is most admirable as she is first of all an anthropologist and philanthropist. Besides her talent as a jewellery designer she is a UN ambassador for the protection of endangered indigenous tribes among many other humanitarian works she is a part of. Most recently she began a collaboration with Turquoise Mountain, the woman’s foundation in Afghanistan were she designed a collection with the local women, which she has managed to promote and sell wonderfully, all of which brings attention and aid to these most needy area of the world. Pippa’s designs are organic and pay reference to several different cultures, which she then is able to support with proceeds from her sales and collaborations with local craftsmanship etc. I am proud of her continuous devotion to supporting and promoting the talent of those areas of the world that are most in need of help.
SHOP PIPPA SMALL JEWELLERY:
PR: From the gallery project I started assisting the hotel group Puente Romano and Marbella Club with Event Organization, fashion shows, art exhibitions and PR and my work with the group grew to my current role. The group has since partnered with Nobu with two new Nobu Hotels: one in Ibiza, Nobu Ibiza Bay, and a Nobu Boutique Hotel within the Puente Romano resort. I helped launch as well the first private members club of Marbella, called the Owners Club, also located within the Puente Romano resort. I continue to do events and PR for exterior companies.
POWER COMES FROM: From positive people around me, who I gain inspiration from.
ART: I was in Art Basel Miami last year and will return this year with several more new pieces and artists I want to meet! I do like the classics such as Cezanne and then pop art by Andy Warhol. My favourite is the black cat stencil work by Hijak and Konny Steding’s Bridget Bardot, and bright colourful oil on canvas abstract paintings by my mother’s cousin.
GEM STYLE: My jewellery style is a mixture really, I love ethnic Jewellery from Mexico, Turkey and Bali, where I have acquired several pieces during my travels. I love the intricate craftsmanship. I do like bold pieces, but generally for my personal use I like fine refined pieces, mostly gold. Most of my jewellery comes from my mother, they are my favourite pieces! Gold and turquoise and aquamarine. And also the evil eye pendants are my top favourite pieces along with the Kenyan elephant hair bracelets my mother had copied in gold for my father, which I have inherited.
TOPSHOP OR CHANEL: I generally prefer Topshop type brands for everyday wear paired with refined accessories, such as a Chanel purse, Isabel Marant boots and Anine Bing Tortoise sunglasses! Anine Bing and Isabel Marant with Gucci, Haider Ackermann, Ralph Lauren and YSL! My favorite pieces are vintage handed me down from my mother, aunt and godmother.
FIRST JEWELLERY: My first piece of jewelry were gold Cartier stud earrings, when I was two months old. In Spain, where I was born, baby girls have their ears pierced being a few months old. Jewellery design is a passion of mine and I have made several pieces for my own wear and friends and I used to sell locally in a friend’s boutique. The stones indeed must stand out to me, pearls, crystals, semi precious stones, turquoise, etc..
MY EVERYDAY JEWELLERY: My mother’s gold flower ring with a white diamond is my favourite, I never take it off. She had it designed in Tehran, Iran when she was living there as a teenager. My Kenyan inspired elephant hair bracelet in gold designed by mother for my father, I never take off either. My grandmother’s turquoise ring we had redone and mounted in gold in Mexico and my cousin Pippas’s simple gold bangles with a turquoise stone are my second skin!
PERFECT ENGAGEMENT RING: Buccellati’s engagement rings, they are feminine and delicate. And one designed by myself, yet to be decided how.
ROLEX OR CARTIER: Cartier is my favorite for watches, I bought my first tank Cartier in Place Vendome after I received a bonus from my first fashion week work at the buying office. They are classic, always elegant and I always add colourful watch bands I change: red, green and turquoise!
MEN JEWELLERY: Watches such as Omega, Blancpain, Audemars Piguet, Patek, Rolex and in Spain the men wear colourful leather or string bracelets and the silver Kenyan elephant bracelets.
JEWELLERY AS AN INVESTMENT: Mostly investing in gold, primarily more so than stones.
FASHION JEWELLERY: I don’t really wear fashion jewelry.
PERFECT GETAWAY: Kenya. I went to Nairobi and Masai Mara to visit charity projects we help sponsor and it was really a life changing experience. The beauty of the Kenyan people, their strength and creativity was inspiring. Also the food was exquisite, unexpected for a vegan like me! They had the best fresh fruit and vegetables! My favourite places in the world: Ibiza, Paris, Los Angeles, Mexico and still many more places I have to travel to and explore!
A PARTY TO REMEMBER: The Enchanted forest Party in Ibiza this summer at a private villa in the middle of the island. It was incredible, the Ettore estate was transformed into a fairytale! With over 1,000 guests everyone had the most elaborate costumes, a laser light show in the trees, a bohemian artisan market was set up with food stands and amazing DJ’s!
MY WEAPON OF CHOICE: Kindness.
WILD WISH: To go to the Cannes film festival, the Met Gala, amfAR and burning man all next year.
What is your favourite piece from Kenza’s jewellery collection? Leave me a comment below! Thank you!
I am extremely happy to announce that my new jewelry book – GEMOLOGUE: Street Jewellery Styles & Styling Tips – is now on Amazon. I’m so excited. It’s the first book of its kind solely dedicated to jewellery.
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GEMOLOGUE jewelry blog by Liza Urla is a celebration of fine, fashion and vintage jewellery featuring talented jewellery designers, trendy urban street style, exclusive interviews and rare jewellery reviews. This jewellery blog’s goal is to encourage and educate about jewellery online in a fresh and original fashion to inspire women and men across the globe in a fashion and travelling context.
Jewellery blogger, writer Liza Urla, the founder of GEMOLOGUE, is a London-based and NYC-educated gemologist, who has travelled to and lived in many countries. She is now one of the most influential digital jewellery tastemakers. Her jewellery influence has been acknowledged by Financial Times, The New York Times, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.
*Photographed by Anastasia Zanadvorova & Liza Urla. Styling and Art Direction by Liza Urla. All photos belong to GEM Kreatives for GEMOLOGUE.
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