Andre C Meyerhans, architect and designer Image Credit: Mario Uboldi

As the second season of Fashion Forward (FFWD) begins on October 15 at the Madinat Arena in Dubai, featuring four days of fashion shows, talks and workshops by top international names, tabloid! will be on the ground reporting daily from the event.

Today, we introduce you to Dubai-based architect-turned-accessories designer Andre Meyerhans, whose many credits include designing Dubai’s famed Garhoud Bridge. The Swiss designer will showcase his jewellery line called Mario Uboldi – for men and women – at The Garden at FFWD, a platform featuring 50 regional accessory designers showing jewellery, shoes, t-shirts, bags and homewares.

Q: What are you showcasing at Fashion Forward? Why FFWD?

A: We are happy to present a special edition of jewellery art designed for and only available during Fashion Forward: rings for women and bracelets for men. These pieces are variations of some of the original designs but embrace the stylish character of fashion. We have designed this special edition to show that our designs are strong enough to not only blur the boundaries between art, architecture and jewellery but also towards fashion.

Besides the special edition, our whole jewellery range will be on display at Fashion Forward. All designs are inspired by nature, art and culture and translated into contemporary, wearable art pieces.

FFWD is an amazing platform where creative minds of the region come together and show their work. While fashion might not be the industry we belong to, we are confident to engage with it and seek to receive and give inspiration with our design. Furthermore, many of the fashion designers there present works that clearly reach beyond what people usually consider as fashion.

Q: How has Mario Uboldi grown since your first collection in 2012?

A: My first collection was showcased at my solo exhibition in May 2012 and comprised of four designs applied to rings, earrings, pendant and cufflinks. The designs were in 925 silver, rhodium plated with no gemstones. Now, we have eleven designs some of which use gemstones as vital design characteristics. We also introduced variations of existing designs using precious stones such as sapphires, rubies and diamonds and ventured into gold as preferred material. Furthermore, chokers and colliers for women and studs and bracelets for men are now part of the collection.

In terms of market presence, we are about to have our products for sale in one of the top tier luxury outlets. We initially focused on our home market, the UAE and Middle East, yet have already ventured into Asia and Europe in the past months. These areas shall be explored more in the future.

Q: Which collection has done better: men’s or women’s?

A: The response is equally good. Interestingly, men were more intrigued by the visual appearance while women often liked the concept behind and the idea. It might also be in the nature of jewellery for men and women that there are more repeat customers with women than with men – notwithstanding that the women’s collection is far larger than the one for men. However, I am very pleased that my creations can overcome the traditional separation and men as well as women find fascination in the respective designs.

Q: If you were to pick one jewellery item from your next collection, which one would it be and why?

A: An interesting question. In terms of design, I am now looking into variations playing with different colours of gems and spatial arrangements of the same. We might exhibit one piece as sneak preview during Fashion Forward and the entire collection at Dubai Jewellery Week in December. Looking a little bit further into the future, I like to explore the limits of wearable art, in particular in terms of size and the interaction between the human body and jewellery.

In terms of target audience, I have been asked to design some unique pieces to showcase to carefully selected clients only. With pieces like this, we enter into fine jewellery. For sure, this will challenge us in our believe that a strong and stringent design can be realised in materials of different leagues. It will also show whether the fine jewellery clientele accepts design intents that originate from outside the jewellery metier. I am very excited about this project.

In terms of what kind of piece, I have to answer with the exclusion principle – most likely, it would not be a set of earrings. Reason is that earrings have the character of framing the human body, versus a ring, a bracelet or a collier are objects of their own that articulate.

Q: Which designer showcasing at FFWD would your jewellery collection be most suited to?

A: Almost an impossible question to answer considering the great designers participating at Fashion Forward – each one of them has characteristics in their cut I much admire. It might be more a question of the occasion to select the matching dress and jewellery – and personal taste of course. In this regard, here my very own thoughts:

- Amato by Furne One’s baroque creations to pair with filigree yet sculptural jewellery

- Amira Haroon’s young and fresh designs with light, innocent jewellery

- Charbel Zoe’s airy and flowing lines with a decent yet present sparkle

- Dima Ayad’s feminine cuts with a characteristic, comfortable something special

- Dina JSR’s elegance with the similar understatement

- Endemage’s soft lines with a subtle-sophisticated add-on

- Essa’s encouraged and bold statements underlined with equally strong designs

- Ezra’s sensual and self-confident cuts for women of world with clear designs

- Gisellablu’s cosmopolitan creations with discreet, out-of the box jewellery

- Hema Kaul’s retro approach with geometric piece

- House of Fatam’s individual designs with a light note that goes with the pain fabrics and bright patterns

- Kage’s playful chic with a similar fresh design

- Madiyah Al Sharqi’s reduced lines with distinct color combinations and graphic details to accompany with equally graphic jewellery

- Reem Al Kanhal’s geometric-female creations with a light note of sparkle

- Starch Foundation Designers’ edgy, ready-to-wear creations with a casual design

- Tahir Sultan’s elegant design for the urban lady with a solitaire piece

- Taller Marmo’s alluring nostalgia with a bolder counter point

- The Emperor 1688’s gentlemen of word cuts with ... any cufflinks!

- Toujouri’s culturally infused cosmopolitan designs with a larger two-piece combination with gem stones

- Zayan’s fresh-elegant style with a bolder note which repeats the idea of geometry

Don’t miss it

FFWD runs from October 15 to 18 at the Madinat Arena, Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai. Entry to the catwalk shows is for trade and by prior registration only.

A limited number of general admission tickets to the venue, including access to The Garden exhibition, Fashion Cafes and selected talks are available for Dh50 per person per day. For tickets and to register, go to fashionforward.ae