Nestled deep inside Emirates Palace, celebrities attending the Abu Dhabi Film Festival will be invited to relax in the plush VIP Lounge between their engagements. Not only will gourmet food and spa treatments be on hand, there will also be a plethora of designer goods for their perusal, including pieces created by Nadine Kanso.
How did you become involved with the VIP Lounge project?
Three years ago, Katherine Raso from Tactical Connections approached me because a selection of Arabic, local and regional designers who could provide actors and actresses with pieces was desired. I thought the project sounded interesting so we decided to get on board.
Have you designed new pieces specifically for the VIP Lounge or are you gifting jewellery from your current Bil Arabi collection?
We're actually doing both. We'll showcase our regular line and also produce a few pieces as gifts for certain A-list celebrities. Every year we do something different and new; the first time, for example, it was a small bracelet with an evil eye for the actresses while the actors got cufflinks. Last year we did something more casual with a piece that wrapped around the hand and incorporated the word "Bhibak", meaning "I love you".
This year's piece is a solid cuff - a unisex piece - with the Arabic word for love on it. Usually we produce jewellery for around eight to 10 people and we wait to see who is coming, as the list changes all the time and at the last minute. This is why it's often better to have something generic such as the word love or peace on a piece, rather than something specifically done for one person.
This year we'll also be gifting headscarves - ghutras - which are black-on-black or white-on-white and bear the words "I love you" in Arabic.
Will any of your Ya Ghali pieces be available to the stars?
Yes. This year we have a new collection in collaboration with Harvey Nichols, which is more of a high-end range with diamonds, and we're willing to lend these pieces to actors and actresses for the red carpet. Some of them are very valuable, big pieces and we might showcase four or five of them in the VIP Lounge. The pieces consist mostly of white gold with diamonds, of course, with a Bil Arabi twist. We've used green turquoise flowers, sapphires, emeralds and the like.
Which screen legend would you like to design a piece for?
It's an impossible question to answer, really. But when Julianne Moore was here two years ago it was great to be able to give her a bracelet with her initials on it and she happened to be a really nice person.
To view the Bil Arabi/Ya Ghali jewellery ranges by Nadine Kanso, go to www.bilarabi.ae. The ADFF runs from today until October 20. Visit www.adff.ae. For a peek at what's on offer to celebrities who visit the VIP Lounge, check out the Weekend's Oasis spread in The National tomorrow.