This is the story of Nigora Tabayer, an emerging creative who has already garnered major celebrity clout for her signature necklaces and bracelets that feature letters paired with protective eye symbols (rendered in, what else, diamonds and emeralds).
Tabayer is originally from Central Asia, but she grew up between Europe and the United States. She moved permanently to the U.S. at 16 years old, and was always surrounded by artistry; her father was an architect and her mother was a fashion designer. Though she studied business, it's not surprising that she gravitated back to a creative field. In the States, Tabayer would hone in on the technical aspects of jewellery design before launching her eponymous label in early 2019. Over the Paris haute couture this summer, I met up with Tabayer at the Four Seasons Hotel George V to speak with her about her debut collection, and her connection with one of the most famous jewellery houses of our era.
KP: How did you come to creating your own brand?
NT: Throughout my career, my background had always been in business, but that path really wasn’t fulfilling for me. My true interests and passions have always leaned more towards being creative. Ever since I was a child, I’ve been infatuated with art. I grew up in a very dynamic and creative household. For me, fashion - and specifically, jewellery - is the embodiment of wearable art. I wanted to prove to myself that I could extend my talents beyond what was familiar to me, and design something luxurious, unique, and most importantly, wearable, that didn’t already exist in the marketplace.
KP: How did the collaboration with Graff come about?
NT: I worked with Graff to design my first initial ‘N’ pendant, after my father challenged me to design a letter which was manufactured by Graff. After, they suggested that I design every single letter and show the sketches to them. From this, I ended up designing my entire debut collection with initials! It took me a while to develop every letter and talk about the technical part like positioning the chains in the right place. Graff loved the collection and asked for smaller size pendants, and then bracelets.
KP: Tell us about the key motif of your designs - the eye - and how it is related to your past?
NT: Growing up, my mother was innately protective, as most mothers are, and was always making sure I was safe and healthy. Once I was older and began venturing out on my own, she would dress me with an eye accent as a symbolic gesture of protection, a tradition passed down in my family for generations. I would wear this simple elastic ‘eye’ bracelet everywhere I went, and it gave me a sense of security. When I began designing, the meaning of jewellery and what we put on for different occasions, inspired the direction for my collection. If I am going to an event, a wedding, on a trip or even out to dinner, I want to wear something that combines luxury with important meaning. Each piece I design can be personalised - which I think is so special - to include whatever stone the customer chooses. For me, I love emeralds and sapphires, but maybe to someone else, a ruby signifies something deeply personal.
KP: Your brand has already been worn by many celebrities, why was it important for your brand to be seen being worn on red carpets? Do you feel as though this increases desirability and visibility most effectively?
NT: My designs have been worn by many beautiful, strong women, and it has been invaluable. Yes, when Elsa Hosk and Shanina Shaik wear my designs on the red carpet, it increases visibility and evokes those feelings of high-end luxury. But what means the most to me is seeing how women style the brand in a more relaxed, everyday environment - like Bella Hadid stepping out in NYC, and Halima Aden rocking my ‘H’ pendant at the Forbes Women’s Summit - those moments are really special for me, and this sends a strong message about how versatile the pieces truly are.