FIVE MINUTES WITH KIRAN AMAN OF KINO BY KIRAN FINE JEWELLERY (KFJ)
Renowned for its artisanal, emotionally-buoyed and symbolic jewellery collections, Kino by KFJ is spearheaded by indubitably innovative and sensitive design visionary Kiran Aman. Often using her signature beaten yellow gold amongst other innovative techniques, Kiran began the line almost 15 years ago in 2003. Here, she speaks to Zurain Imam for MyFashionFix about how her collections are often manifested extensions of her emotions, and how they reflect both her traditional and contemporary sides, her ongoing love of beaten yellow gold, the women who the pieces are somehow spiritually designed for, and her dual career as a leading publisher.
MyFashionFix: Can you please explain the genesis and fascination with your signature carved beaten-gold pieces. What does the process of “beaten” gold entail exactly?
KIRAN AMAN: My signature pieces which have come to be known as ‘beaten gold’ pieces are all textured pieces. Hammering them is one technique amongst others. I love creating random or deliberate patterns on gold. Each piece is hand-made, hence the texture is usually unpredictable.
MFF: What is the underlying style ethos of your label?
KA: The collections all have an underlying emotional theme and the techniques are all buoyed by the use of patterns that seem very organic, as if they weren’t created but always existed, hence giving them a vintage look.
MFF: Who are some jewellery designers or design houses that you have admired or been inspired by?
KA: My favorite design house is Cartier. They have continued to be innovative in design and have evolved many jewellery-designing techniques over the last 150 years. Truly inspiring!
MFF: This is like asking who your favourite child is, but which has been your all -time most beloved piece which has a special significance for you and best symbolizes the essence of your label?
KA: That’s very true! It is very hard to choose one piece from so many collections. I think it would be safe to say that one collection that stood out for me and maintained KFJ’s essence was ‘Barzakh’. Its geometric and symmetrical black onyx shapes held by signature beaten gold stripes make it very reflective of all our contemporary and balanced collections over the last 14 years.
MFF: Your pieces seem to go beyond the meretricious and superficial, and have an emotional undercurrent. Can you explain the emotional and intellectual thought process that goes behind each piece and what you aim to express?
KA: I have always maintained that I don’t design a collection unless an emotional experience has provoked an idea in my mind. Each one of my collections has been a kind of catharsis for me. Every title (of the collections) reflects an ongoing developmental process at that particular stage of my life.
MFF: How do the names come about for each of your pieces which seem to denote some emotional and spiritual energy? What comes first organically? The concept and name, or the piece itself?
KA: First the experience; then the concept and lastly the name. The designs come from the unification of these three. Even though at times I have designed a collection which becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.
MFF: What type of women do you envision wearing your pieces?
KA: I have stopped envisioning women and who the archetypal KFJ woman is. Now the pieces just go to who they are supposed to belong to.
MFF: Do you personally like to wear jewellery? What is one jewellery item you always wear, if any?
KA: I have been wearing a ring on my right index finger since 2003 and an Alif pendant since 2013.
MFF: You often choose brand ambassadors for your myriad collections. Again what is the underlying aspect you look at when you pick a representative for your label?
KA: I have come to be known as someone who has “brand ambassadors” even though I have just had one. Sonya Battla (fashion designer) and I collaborated for over two years, designing collections together. Then Sara Haider (singer) wore our jewellery for the launch shoot for ‘Harmonia’. So I’d say the choice in women has varied and has been for very different reasons.
MFF: Many high profile celebrities such as Sharmeen Obaid (during both of her Oscar wins), Mahira Khan and Meesha Shafi (for ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist) choose to wear your pieces. Do you have discussions beforehand about what you are going to custom-make for them and discuss their wardrobe et al or do they just leave the decision to you?
KA: Wardrobe is totally essential! Yes it’s all discussed prior; but they do leave the final word with me.
MFF: Along with your jewellery label, you are the publisher of Markings, which publishes luxury editions of coffee table tomes dedicated to Art, Literature, Fashion Design as well as Culinary Arts and Music, most notably ‘Revived — The Journey Within’. What is the latest title in the offing?
KA: We just launched two books for the 70th anniversary of our nation’s birth; ‘White in The Flag’ by photographer Mobeen Ansari and ‘Hum Nay Dekha Hum Nay Suna’ a Pop Art portfolio dedicated to the pioneers and icons of Pakistan's radio, television and super- hit film songs. We have three more corporate titles and one more Markings Publishing title launching over the next six months.
MFF: How did ‘Revived — The Journey Within’ encapsulate the essence of your design ethos?
KA: ‘Revived’ was a philosophy I wrote in 2007 using four design motifs, each representing a certain emotional stage in a woman’s life. One picks what one is essentially and predominantly…but isn’t that true of all our life choices? (Smiles)
MFF: What is the name and inspiration behind your latest jewellery collection, and what materials and techniques have you used for it?
KA: We just launched a new collection under the name of ‘KINO’ by KFJ. It is based on amulets (charms), each one symbolizing goodness and prosperity and positive energy.
MFF: Your eponymous jewellery label Kiran Fine Jewellery turns 15 years old next year. Anything special planned for that momentous milestone?
KA: Thanks for the reminder! Let’s see what crosses my path!
MFF: What was behind your decision to stock your line at MyFashionFix, and how many and which pieces are you initially going to showcase?
KA: I will be stocking the ‘KINO’ by KFJ line with MyFashionFix. I feel Andleeb understands my work. Any phenomenal shoot you see with my jewellery has been done by her. I have complete faith in her to look after my brand.