NEW YORK—Determined, beautiful, Renaissance-style women, their hair swept into smooth mohawk-like styles, shower attention on a shirtless man with chiseled features lounging on a table. Solid gold and silver cuff bracelets cover the women’s forearms; extravagant gold and silver belts adorn their waists. An intricate gold eyepiece through which one woman peers totally exemplifies the unleashed creativity of Phillip Gavriel’s latest collection.
The cuffs, belts, and eyepieces are from the Phillip Gavriel Mantis collection, a capsule collection of the designer’s new Privé line. Privé also features striking gold hair pieces, as well as more subtle bracelets, rings, and necklaces that draw their inspiration from the bolder pieces.
The Phillip Gavriel team shot the ads at a neoclassical-style palace in Milan, the Palazzo Serbelloni. It is one of the many glossy spreads that promotes some of the boldest jewelry from Privé in the high-end fashion magazines, including Vogue, Elle, InStyle, and Harper’s Bazaar. The spreads demonstrate just how edgy the Phillip Gavriel aesthetic can be.
Celebrities adore it. Christina Aguilera wore pieces from his rock candy collection on “The Voice,” a golden rutilant quartz ring with citrines cut in an asymmetrical way. Actress Regina King, model Jessica White, and singer Jennifer Hudson, have also worn Phillip Gavriel pieces.
Born to Design
Phillip Gabriel Maroof was literally born into the world of jewelry. His father, Paul Maroof, is the CEO of the Phillip Gavriel parent company, Royal Chain Group. From a young age Gabriel Maroof developed his tastes as he traveled the world with his family, especially soaking up the aesthetic of highly skilled gold artisans in Italy, where he studied. One of his earliest memories is watching his father at a desk in their home counting and organizing pieces of jewelry.
Gabriel Maroof has a very different aesthetic to many jewelry designers, because the collections he produces are so varied and rich. “Many designers out there have a very specific look and a very specific aesthetic, and you either don’t like it or you like it,” he said. “I find that a little bit boring, because as a person my tastes change from day to day.”
To illustrate the point, Gabriel Maroof said that as a man, he might wear J.Crew one day, and the next day something more luxurious, like Giorgio Armani. If he is feeling a little more flamboyant or edgy, he might go for one of his funky Etro suits, with a bold print or a striking lining.
“So I think jewelry has to compliment the taste in style that you’ve evolved on a day-to-day basis over time, and with the trends and everything like that,” he said. “So by creating my jewelry in a particular aesthetic, I find that not in line with my brand or my personal style, therefore, that is why there are so many collections within the brand.”
“The new Privé collection is where I really want people to see the extreme creativity that I have,” he said. “I would like that people see it in a different light, realizing that it’s not for everybody and it’s not for the faint of heart, but in that sense, I would like people to also see how creative me and my team can be at putting things together.”
Filigree Gold Weave
Phillip Gavriel’s second capsule collection within Privé is Persian-inspired. Called Isfahan, it draws on the intricate art and architecture of Iran’s third largest city.
This capsule collection is perhaps Gabriel Maroof’s most extravagant to date. It taps into the filigree gold weaving technique native to the Mediterranean and the Middle East, where threads of gold are scrolled and styled into intricate designs.
The subtler pieces in the collection draw their aesthetics from two centerpieces: a gold filigree corset and a gold headdress. The headdress is similar in shape and length to the traditional burqa worn by women of the Islamic faith. It would make a stunning adornment for a burqa. The corset is intricate filigree gold metalwork woven together into something resembling a bustier from a fashion company but made entirely of gold.
“All the jewelry is very silowy,” Gabriel Maroof said. “Very dimensional and very detailed, much like the mosaics of the architecture of Isfahan itself.”
All Phillip Gavriel jewelry is crafted from precious metals, sterling silver, 18-carat gold, and natural gemstones.
Privé is a departure from the traditional price points of the Phillip Gavriel brand, which have be driven by the designer’s desire for a “democratization of jewelry,” or jewelry that everyone should be able to afford. After studying at NYU’s School of Business, Gabriel Maroof developed an aversion for corporate America with its goods off a production line. He wanted to make beautiful, handcrafted jewelry that holds real value. He wanted to adhere to tradition, so he decided to start his own label within the family business.
Before Privé, Phillip Gavriel bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and rings, have traditionally retailed for an average of $500 to $600. Price points for Privé will average around $1,500, with some of the larger pieces likely to exceed the $20,000 mark.
Gabriel Maroof’s personal jewelry style, like his fashion preferences, incorporates classics with a more modern twist. Each day he wears his own sterling silver woven bracelets on one wrist, and on the other wrist, his stainless steel Rolex Daytona with a plain black face, three mini-chronographs, and the larger dial, a gift from his father.
Today, Gabriel Maroof’s jewelry is crafted by artisans around the world, depending on the collection, and the types of skills required. Many of his pieces are made in Italy and a northeastern province in Thailand, others in Bali, Indonesia, and Istanbul.
Gabriel Maroof will have completed his third Privé capsule collection by the end of the year.
Look for his work on his website, phillipgavriel.com.