Erin Wahed, the ambitious young designer behind the jewelry line Bande des Quatres, sees the world in shapes and lines. The shapes of a building in the Manhattan skyline or the lines featured in the work of her favorite artists are translated into rings, bracelets and, most recently, necklaces. The result is an aesthetic that is bold in its steadfast simplicity.
Take BDQ’s latest collection, which draws inspiration from the work of minimalist artists. “On my birthday, my parents came into town and I went to Dia:Beacon for the first time,” Wahed recalls. “When I walked in the first thing I saw was the wall of Binky Palermos—it was momentous. Walking down that hall was an experience.” Palarmo’s iconic polygons are easily recognizable in the New York-based designer’s fourth collection—images of which you can see exclusively here.
Though she is the visionary behind the brand, each collection is realized through an ongoing collaboration between Wahed and her mother, Janis Kerman, who lives south of the border in Montreal. A successful goldsmith, Kerman translates her daughter’s designs into the final, covetable product. “She is the best and worst person to work with,” jokes Wahed. “The best because she can read my mind—I scribble and she knows exactly what I’m getting at—but when you’re that close to someone, the ability to yell and scream and cry is much, much greater.”
For this collection, the mother-daughter team even collaborated on the look book. “We were in the islands over Christmas break and we sat outside and drew and painted,” says Wahed. “It was such a fun thing to do with her—it brought me back to being young.” There is a fitting sense of intimacy to the resulting images, which pairs the paintings with photographs shot by Hugo Arturi, as if one is flipping through a particularly chic family scrapbook.
Jewelry may be Bande des Quatres’ tangible product, but it is hardly where the concept begins and ends. “I wanted to create an aesthetic and a feeling,” says Wahed. A prime example is the brand’s Precious Metal Mix Series, in which Wahed handpicks a DJ or producer to choose a jewelry item to inspire a mixtape. “Sometimes it’s bullshit—I can tell—but sometimes the aritst really connects with a piece,” she says. Ultimately, what BDQ stands for is a curated collective of creative minds with Wahed at its core. Even her loyal customers are brought into the fold. “To me, every person that purchases something becomes a member of the family,” she says. “And when you buy one, you can’t just have one.”
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