We don’t know about you, but it was definitely one of our favorite past times as a child to rummage through our mom’s closet and try on her heels, her lavish pearls, and of course put on an obscene amount of lipstick, nowhere near our lips. You know all the makings of a lavish 5-year-old girly girl. Well, on our daily walks around our beloved Beirut city, we found a cute jewelry shop whose owner turned her rummaging in her mom’s closet into reality. What’s even luckier for us is that we are currently living in a time of vintage bliss. Everything from jewelry to statement pieces are making a bold return – have you seen the chokers almost every girl is wearing? Most of you are familiar with Mar Mikhael by now, but there is a certain store that gives the area an extra sparkle. Most of you know the store as Pink Henna in Mar Mikhael but we were lucky enough to sit down with the beautiful owner for an interview and unfold the fashion mind that perceives our city through her store.
If you haven’t heard of the store and you are simply taking a stroll in Mar Mikhael we guarantee you, you’ll stop for a second to peruse her windows, and trust us, it’s enough to make you want to go in. It worked for us! The only things more beautiful than her jewelry were her antique and vintage furniture showcasing the pieces. We rang the tiny doorbell and waited for someone to let us in. Within a few seconds a woman with a promising smile (and gorgeous set of earrings) let us in. We introduced ourselves and asked if it was okay to pick her fashion brain – when she nodded with a smile, it’s when we began.
Allow us to introduce Naela Nammour, the owner of the gorgeous earrings we mentioned a few seconds ago, as well as the owner of the small vintage shop Pink Henna. As soon as she agreed to our interview we wasted no time and began. Our first question was: “Exactly what do you sell?” Our question may be confusing to you, but the window display showcasing vintage furniture and jewelry is what confused us. She smiled, “For the last 6 years I’ve been looking for vintage jewelry pieces, beautiful collectable statements that are truly timeless, as well as giving Lebanese designers a place to showcase their creations.” Which explains the beautiful mosaic evil eye hangers and mosaic mini tables! You know when we mentioned earlier about raiding our mother’s closets as a kid and wearing all her jewelry and clothes? Yeah, well that’s exactly how Naela started her career! Ever since the age of 10, she’s been obsessed with clothes, jewelry and handbags, which led her to go study design in ESMOD in Paris. Once she graduated she worked in her field with a sportswear brand for 25 years until she decided she wanted to do something on her own. “My entire life I was working for a big company in the clothing sector and I wanted to open something for myself – I knew that opening my own sportswear brand or even clothing brand in Lebanon would be difficult as there isn’t much volume, so I combined my two loves: fashion and antiques.” And that’s when we got Pink Henna!
Naela does go on a vintage hunt to try to find the pieces she wants to put it in her store, but she also explained that a lot of her stuff comes from America and Europe. “I have connections with people that love to do exactly what I’m doing and we exchange ideas and pieces all the time.” Naela explained that each piece of jewelry, whether it be a bracelet, necklace or earrings has a story behind it and a certain vibe. “I love how a lot of the oldies are coming back like chokers! You can incorporate your old jewelry with a new style and the outcome is just epic.” But going from studying design to selling antique jewelry is a pretty far stretch when it comes to knowledge of the job so we had to ask, how did she learn the meaning and business of antique jewelry? She explained, “I have hundreds and hundreds of books that I’ve spent endless nights studying and examining as well as listening to CDS. It’s how I evolved my knowledge and how I keep adapting to the times.”
We’d been itching to ask our next question: “What is the oldest piece you have?” She then got up in all grace, opened a cabinet next to her and pulled out a necklace and bracelet that are over 120 years old. Who would of thought people would have had that much of a fashion sense back in the day? However, what she brought out next was truly our favorite piece. A boxed clutched with multicolored stones on the outside looked like your normal every day clutch. But the magic is when you opened it on the inside. One side of the bag made room for your cigarettes as well as your money and it was fully gold-plated. But the other side was what was eye opening. The other side had small powder section with it’s own powder puffer and a place to put your lipsticks. All of this in one evening clutch!
Our last question was personal. Being around so many pieces, all so gorgeous in their own way, which one was Naela’s favorite? She got anxious for a second and said, “Oh no, it’s not here! It’s at home, but it’s my favorite. It’s a thick bracelet with a small round head at the top, almost looks like Hermes with the buckle. But you can open the round head at the top and it’s also a place where you can store your powder and then close it and no one would ever know.” We could tell it really was her favorite because her face truly lit up. Ours did too, and not just because of all the jewelry that was in arm’s reach.
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