Flying Cloud: a light breeze, a fleeting cloud whose shadow moves across the surface of the water…

No other image could more accurately represent the fierce quest for freedom that propelled Gabrielle Chanel all throughout her life. She lived to free the body from all hindrances: to separate true desire from false pretense, relationships from the weight of convention, life from the ordinary, and to exist as if suspended where air and water meet, between sky and sea…


Gabrielle Chanel was a person characterized by contrast: the granitic harshness of landscapes from her childhood, the stringent purity of the abbey at Aubazine, and the ruggedness of Scottish moors created sharp opposition with places one easily refers to as “resort destinations”. These places located on land’s edges that step out into the sea each seem to be linked to an encounter, a singular figure: Deauville and the Basque Coast to Boy Capel, Venice to Diaghilev and the Serts, the Riviera to the Duke of Westminster, Cocteau and Picasso… Each place adds a unique color and tone to these various moments, the successive phases of her existence. It is as if her life had to be transformed from an element in its purest state to its polar opposite: the extreme hardness of stony landscape to the soft and supple embrace of fluid water pierced by sunlight.

Flying Cloud: this is also, of course, the name of the yacht which belonged to Hugh Grosvenor, familiarly known as “Bendor”, the second Duke of Westminster, one of the men who undoubtedly counted the most in the designer’s life…


Flying Cloud: a four-masted yacht with a black hull and a white wooden deck which was not just a place for vacationing and, sometimes stormy, love affairs, but was also, and most importantly, the emblem of a lifestyle in which the most extravagant luxury – no less than forty crewmen were necessary to man the boat – was merely a prerequisite for the most extreme simplicity, of lunches enjoyed under the sun, charades and conversations among friends. “Luxury”, as Gabrielle Chanel used to say, “is a necessity that starts where necessity stops”.


There is no better example of this aesthetic than this environment where everything is reduced to the essential, in which perfection in every form emerges from a tried-and-tested method. The perfect roundness of a buoy, the sharp outline of a pure white sail, and the subtle entanglement of knots in a rope whose soft yet strong design includes motifs such as the arabesque and interlacs. There is no better model of her vision of fashion than nautical striped jersey tops, flowing wide- cut trousers, loose-fitting black neckties, emblematic berets and the mandatory white watchbands worn by English sailors, which beautifully complement tanned skin. They provided a masculine counterpoint to the radiance of pearls, one of her favorite accessories, which she adored when contrasted with skin bronzed by summer sun – the sun- tanned skin which she was one of the first to flaunt in the 1920s. “A stark white earring against a deeply tanned earlobe brings me great delight”, she used to say to Paul Morand.


Even the specific color scheme of marine life seemed to be predestined for her: a limited, subdued range that is simultaneously severe and sensual, in which black, blue, maritime white and the warm, dull sheen of polished copper brilliantly emerge against the dark, fresh background of the sea.

In this part of the Mediterranean coast, which runs from the red rocks of Estérel to the terraced lemon trees in Menton, and where the sea laps the foothills of the mountains, the air never stops moving, caught in a perpetual ebb and flow motion, which cleanses the sky of all impurities and is described by “that magnificent plenitude of light”, of which Nietzsche spoke, that «atmospheric dryness» in which he saw a “remedy for the tumult of the soul”. “Of the soul”, that is first to say, of the body, a vivacious, dry, restless body refined by exposure to the elements, by salt-water air, the sun’s bronzing effect, and the soft caress of sea foam; this light body that Gabrielle Chanel dreamed of and cultivated.

As an homage to these solar, radiant moments in the life of Mademoiselle, and in sync with the cruise season, CHANEL Fine Jewelry presents the Flying Cloud Fine Jewelry collection in two chapters.

The first chapter reinvents and showcases the most simple and necessary elements to life at sea: buoys sculpted in white gold, lapis-lazuli and cultured pearls in the Precious Float line; ropes crafted from gold and diamonds for the Sparkling Lines collection; white gold anchors, pearls and sapphires for the Yachting Day line; sails, compasses and tattoos, in white or yellow gold set with sapphires and diamonds for Sailor Tattoo… Also seen are the endless shades of broad ocean expanses, from the transparency of the Turquoise Waters line in white gold, sapphires and diamonds, to the deep, dark blue of the high seas seen in the Deep Blue set made from sapphires, white gold and diamonds


The second chapter presents a series of variations on the summer wardrobe, exploring freedom of movement and clothing that seems to float around the body: the Summer Cruise line features alternating bands of deep blue sapphires, white gold, cultured pearls or yellow and white diamonds; Golden Braid depicts the braids seen on marine uniforms; the Sailor Suit set showcases large yellow or white gold buttons like those seen on sailors’ jackets. These are paired with a gold bracelet and ring in the shape of knotted rope and set with diamonds from the Sunny Rope line, along with the airy sautoirs, bib necklaces and bracelets in white gold, sapphires and diamonds from the Sapphire Stripes series.

The highlights of this collection dedicated to the sun’s golden light and the freshness of the Mediterranean breeze are two unique pieces crafted by master goldsmiths: a bib necklace featuring a woven design in white gold, sapphires and cultured pearls from the Azurean Braid line, and a supple rope motif necklace in white gold and diamonds from the Endless Knot line.


I would like to take this opportunity to thank 51east for making my daily tours possible and sharing these amazing stories with me.


Be sure to read the next post : CHANEL HORLOGERIE – SINCE 1987, CHANEL GIVES ALLURE TO TIME









What’s behind our fascination with jewellery, precious metals and gemstones?

From the age of goldsmiths to the days of corporate jewellery brands, our fascination and loyalty to makers of jewellery have only soared in time, suffice to say that these jewellery brands enjoy international fame and success by virtue of their innovation, consistent standards and key features.



I was invited to attend the opening of DJWE2018, as usual I observe, record and click away, however, this year there was something different about it…

Chanel opened it’s doors in Doha…

My instinctive attraction to pearls and everything Chanel drove me to visit DJWE every single day…


The more I immersed into the stories of each collection the more I wanted to see the collection, appreciate each piece…

Brands like Chanel have built their identity in the jewellery domain with a legacy that’s worth exploring,  so I decided to dedicated my next few posts to sharing not just the stories of the various Chanel connections abut of a few others…  look out for my next story on Chanel- Flying Cloud 

First let me share with you an article that was written by Marissa Miller, CNN on “what’s behind our obsession with gems” to better understand the series of stories that I will be sharing in the coming days.

“Humankind’s fascination with precious stones long predates the establishment of gemology. The Romans believed that diamonds were splinters of falling stars, while the ancient Greeks considered them to be the tears of the gods.


Pearls were also highly prized in ancient societies. Regarded as a currency for affection and love, the silky round bulbs were often offered to women on their wedding days to promote fertility.

White pearls necklace on black

Today, the value of a gem is more likely to be dictated by auction records than superstition. But while you can put a price on a precious stone, its value is determined by more than just supply and demand.



Instinctive attraction

There may be evolutionary reasons why we gravitate towards shiny objects. Research published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology suggests that gems evoke the glossy surface of a body of water. Our pursuit of them may be rooted in a simple urge to survive.

The mental associations we make with colors may also explain the value assigned to certain gems. According to author and gemologist Antoinette Matlins, blue gems traditionally represent the heavens and the seas, red symbolizes heart and passion, while green signifies rebirth and loyalty — reliable like the grass that regrows every spring.

Gem superstitions can also be gendered. Matlins says that yellow denotes secrecy on a man but generosity on a woman. White or transparent stones typically signify friendship, integrity and religious commitment for men, or purity, affability and thoughtfulness for women.

Pearls have often been used to project power, according to Inezita Gay-Eckel, a jewelry historian and professor at L’École, a Paris-based school founded by the jewelry brand Van Cleef & Arpels.

“Think of Elizabeth I of England who covered herself in pearls and makeup as a shield,” Gay-Eckel said. “(She was) always walking the tightrope of not appearing unnatural and staying a woman — so that people wouldn’t think she was a monster — (while) also keeping power.

“Look at any powerful woman. From Oprah to Nancy Pelosi to Jacqueline Kennedy, when they want to project the right image, pearls are going to come out.”

Each gem has a story

Today, there are scientific ways of assessing the value of a precious stone. In addition to its rarity, a gem’s market value is often determined by its clarity, cut, color and carat — colloquially known as the “four Cs.”

But ultimately, a jewel is worth whatever bidders are willing to pay for it. Just like in the art world, contemporary culture and trends also play their part.


Defining value

Of course, value isn’t always monetary. At L’École jewelry school, which begins a series of classes in Hong Kong this month, students are taught to address a gem’s worth through a broad range of factors, according to Gay-Eckel.

“If people want to know what makes jewelry valuable, we give them knowledge about everything that’s around it,” she said. “What goes into making it, how to enjoy the stones and how to obtain the knowledge with a sense of discovery and satisfaction. Do you love it? Is it something your mother gave you?”

For scientists, gemstones’ value is drawn from the precious insights they can offer into plate tectonics — and the mountains, oceans and environments of the past.


“The gem deposits of eastern Africa trace the outline of ancient mountains that once connected Sri Lanka and Madagascar over 500 million years ago,” said Pay. “And the oldest emeralds formed just under three billion years ago, which rivals the age of some diamonds.”

Perhaps jewels’ true worth lies in these timeless qualities. Having survived for millennia, gemstones have long been considered reliable investments, as they continue to hold their value through the generations.

“Of all of the ways to adorn yourself, what has nature created that has lasting beauty like a rock?” Matlins said. “As soon as you cut a flower, it wilts. A sunset is beautiful but you can’t capture or wear it. There is something so special and everlasting about nature’s creation of minerals and rocks.”

For Marissa Miller’s full article click :

To be Continued…… 




“How to Be an Ironman” Qatari author, Nasser Al-Mohannadi, at FNAC Store

April 2016 – Dr. Nasser Saqer Al-Mohannadi became one of the first Qataris ever to complete a full Ironman race. He swam 3.8km, biked 180km and ran 42.2km  in port Elizabeth – South Africa,  one of the most difficult Ironman courses in the world. It was the fulfillment of a childhood dream and the climax of 28 years of preparation and training.


March 3rd, 2018 marked another milestone for Al-Mohannadi: his book detailing his life’s experiences titled, How to Be an Ironman, published by Hamad Bin Khalifa University Press (HBKU Press), launched to a packed audience at FNAC store at Doha Festival City’s branch.

Nasser 4

Al-Mohannadi, who is also the adjunct professor at Texas A&M, Senior Advisor at Qatar Petroleum, board member of Qatar Science and Technology Park and Qatar Cycling and Triathlon Federation, in addition to being a renowned athlete, was inspired to write this book for many reasons.

“I wrote this book to share my experiences, my trials and tribulations,” explains Al-Mohannadi, “and to build awareness and share my knowledge on how to acquire the mental skills needed to overcome any physical or mental obstacle which ultimately supports human development.”

In How to Be an Ironman, Al-Mohannadi describes how he overcame childhood fears, cultural misunderstanding and physical injuries to reach his goal. Through careful planning, persistence and learning through mistakes, he achieved what seemed impossible.

“This book is about the journey of every individual. We all face our Ironman race, either because we want to achieve a dream or because we are confronted with difficult circumstances in our lives” – Al Mohannadi



Not only is this book a milestone for Al-Mohannadi, but it marks another important achievement the first of many collaborations to come between HBKU Press and FNAC in an effort to engage the local population to participate in literary events as well as highlight local talents in Qatar.

Mr. Bader Abdullah Al-Darwish, Chairman and Managing Director of Darwish Holding, commented: “Supporting local talents and investing time, effort and resources in nurturing them is an ethos instilled in FNAC’s DNA. Such talents will define the future and will build upon our ancestors’ heritage and steer our country forward.

Get your copy at your nearest fnac







“We eat watermelon, upcycle, recycle and relove” – Alleine Nadal Khalifa

A freelance Art Director at the Film House, a former Al Jazeera English Media Manager, wife and mother to two gorgeous little girls.

All the way from Cavite- Phillipines.  Alleine  has a BA in Mass Communications and a string of other qualifications in Fine Arts and Art Directing in Film , she moved to Qatar in 2006 to join Al Jazeera English where she remained for almost 10 years.

US: Do you come from an artistic family?

AK: Indeed I do, both my parents are equally artistic and my sibling is also in the news/film industry here in Qatar.

US: How has art impacted your life?

AK: Art has manifested in my life from as early as I can recall –  my parents have  contributed a big part of who and what I am today.


US: Who is your inspiration?

AK: My husband, a film director/producer Omar Khalifa is the greatest part of my inspiration. He’s my number one supporter.


Their passion for the arts has led them to start their company Watermelon Ink.

US: Tell us a little bit about Watermelon Ink.

Why Watermelon?

AK: We love everything watermelon. And in the spirit of such a flexible fruit, we want to bring you just as many diverse, fun and appealing products, so, we eat watermelon, upcycle, recycle and relove.

Our eclectic brains are sprinkled with a passion for the arts. We paint and make films in our day jobs, which keeps us keen to be colourful and curious with our endeavours.


We love to make things, repurposing by using salvaged chairs to side-road pallet wood, or empty baby milk cans to second-hand trinkets from the souq. The result is a varied range of carefully crafted products that will hopefully put a big watermelon smile on your face.

From our craft shop, you can find DIY projects to make your own spaces more creative, vibrant and memorable for the whole family.

One of our main objectives is to help and  collaborate, in particular, with other expats in Qatar from all walks of life. So know that the riyals you spend with Watermelon Ink go to the people who need it most.


We welcome any collaboration opportunities here in Qatar and abroad.

For those of you who don’t know Alleine, she offers the following workshops:


For more information on Watermelon Ink.

logo watermelon in



IG: alleinenadalkhalifa

IG: watermelonink_qatar

FB: Watermelon ink.




Paper Quilling with Anum Kamran

A mother of two beautiful little girls, turns paper quilling art into something to behold.

Anum Kamran hails from Karachi-Pakistan, holds a Masters degree in Microbiology, began her married life in Doha just a little over 5 years.

Her choice to be a stay at home mum has allowed her to pursue and develop her creativity.

June 2016, marked the beginning of something new for her, a hobby that turned into absolute passion, Paper Quilling Art, also known as paper filigree, it employs the technique of rolling, coiling, crimping, and fringing paper strips using a quilling tool, it is then glued together, creating masterpieces that make for great conversational pieces regardless of where you chose to place them

An extraordinary paper craft beneficial, to our mind, body and heart, engaging both sides of the brain, enhancing motor and cognitive skills, although time consuming, it a great stress/anxiety reliever, not to mention that it heightens your ability to focus and teaches you patience.


With simple materials such as Paper Quilling strips, Slotted tool, pointed needle, pointed tweezer, white craft glue, mini mold, border buddy, scissor, Stencils scale, crimper, quilling coach and comb, Anum creates one masterpiece at a time.

Anum’s favourite creation:


Below Anum illustrates the various steps on placing the elements of an beginners design:


Be sure to view some of her art on:


IG: @anum.kamren