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Jewellery designer Ayça Özbank Taşkan of Mara Paris gives her advice on wearing pearls, silver and statement earrings this season.
To paraphrase Marilyn Monroe, jewellery has always been a girl’s (or really anyone’s!) best friend. Made more apparent by the pandemic, an eclectic pair of earrings or cluster of gold chains can instantly elevate an outfit, and many have rediscovered the power of a well-placed upper body accessory thanks to two years of Zoom meetings. But what separates a good piece of jewellery from a great piece of jewellery? Designer Ayça Özbank Taşkan of Mara Paris says it’s in the process and the details. “Making pieces that look effortlessly simple is hard,” she shares over video chat. “It’s really all about the small details.” And that’s been the secret to her and her brand’s success.
No stranger to a design challenge, Özbank Taşkan started her creative career as an architect. Looking for a different way to express herself, Mara Paris was born as a side project. “It wasn’t exactly about designing jewellery per se, but I wanted to create objects with an aesthetic value.” While the two fields might seem quite different in theory, she adapted her approach to architecture and applied it to jewellery design.
“Whether you’re drafting a space or an earring, there’s always a start point,” Özbank Taşkan explains. “At the beginning, I am trying to define what is the main inspiration and what are the limits of each collection. After you compile the conceptual ideas, you have to think about the function and production, and then you have to test what you designed. For both, you’re always trying to improve every little aspect of it.”
You can see this precision in every design from Mara Paris, from avant-garde ear cuffs to easy-to-wear rings. But what truly separates the brand’s pieces from others is its global perspective. The definition of a nomad, Özbank Taşkan was born in Istanbul but has lived in Venice, Padua, Milan, Berlin, Helsinki and, of course, Paris. Although she cites Picasso as a constant inspiration, she infuses bits of all these different cultures into her artisanal aesthetic. “In each city I learned so much and gained so many new experiences,” she reflects. “So when I’m designing, each collection has its own theme, but Mara Paris as a whole is a mixture of all these different parts of the world.”
For her latest collection, Haven, Özbank Taşkan has embraced her nomad moniker and was inspired by finding and cherishing your safe space. Thought of as more of an idea than a physical location, her new offering features a plethora of pearls, silver accents and statement earrings, all of which are some of the biggest jewellery trends to come off the Spring 2022 runways.
With that in mind, we asked the Mara Paris designer how to style the top jewellery trends of the spring season.
Pinterest had named Pearlcore as one of its top trends of 2022. And while these iridescent accents are often associated with classic Hollywood glamour à la Grace Kelly or a rude, rich woman in a skirt suit like the fictional Lucille Bluth, iridescent jewellery is getting a major streetwear makeover this spring . To achieve the look, Özbank Taşkan recommends investing in a baroque pearl necklace. “It goes perfectly with almost all outfits,” she says, explaining that this jewel variety has a more organic shape than the typical round ones we often see. “Each gem has its own individual and unique shape, so it makes it incredibly modern.” Take your cues from this influencer and make the accessory more casual with a denim jumpsuit and a simple sweater.
Two years ago, silver seemed to disappear almost overnight. No longer “in style” (at least according to content creators), the metal went into hiding, and its golden sister took its place in the fashionable sun. However, the silver jewellery renaissance is upon us this spring, and the key to taking on this trend is all about tones. “You have a lot of freedom with silver,” says the Mara Paris designer. “It works really well with cooler colours and minimalist styles.” This monochromatic trio shows whites, creams, ivories, and light greys are the perfect pairing for this accessory. But if you’re looking to make a bolder statement, experiment with different combinations of blues, greens and purples.
When it comes to statement jewellery, there are two schools of thought for how to style earrings: either give in to the chaos and adopt a “more is more” mentality or break up the boujee accessory and embrace a more minimalistic aesthetic. Özbank Taşkan is in favour of the latter. “It’s just more elegant,” she notes, referencing Scandinavian style. “With a minimal look, the statement piece is more interesting and has room to breathe.” The key to pulling off this bold jewellery trend is to shop for pieces with an architectural design or unique texture. Apply the same rules to your outfit of choice, and you’re guaranteed to avoid kitschy territory.