The exhibition’s name – “Lust and Lure” – could not be more appropriate: the collection is a concoction of surrealist forms, contrasting art-deco nuances and erotic elements. These are all reflected in the smooth curves of Leyla’s earrings, reminiscent of the contours of a human body, in the widely spread wings of a phantasmagorical bird on her cocktail ring, in a ridged pendant that recalls the silhouette of a mysterious stranger wearing a hat, and in the tightly strung beads of a necklace, like a firm embrace.
The whole collection builds on the elegance and glamour of the “roaring 20s”. Like sequins on the chic evening dress of a social lioness from the post-war era, colourless diamonds and bright green emeralds glimmer on the golden surfaces of Leyla’s rings, earrings and necklaces.
At the beginning of the 20th century, emancipated women were more energetic and proactive than ever before; they felt they were free to “open their wings”. Leyla Abdollahi brings this out in the language of her jewellery, adding to her collection several winged pieces. Wings are hand cut out of onyx on both her cuff and asymmetric earrings, their curves defined with streaks of emerald strips on the inside. The wings on the cocktail ring are more prominent, “feathered” with diamonds, as if the ring were about to flit from one’s finger and fly off into the sky.
When I asked Leyla why she had chosen a highly contrasting colour palette, she answered that she wanted to make a visually rich collection that could convey the fashion revolution of the 20s. She has filled her collection with the precise geometric lines of early art deco as well as a conflicting range of colours, from whites (gold and diamonds) to blacks (onyx, rhodanized gold) and greens (emeralds). The combination of the strong hues and the refined-goth style which Leyla works in leave an automatic, long-lasting impression on one’s memory. KP