From her studio in Dubai, Lebanese-born designer Nadine Kanso creates jewellery that celebrates her roots in the form of Arabic typography and precious stones

Why did you become a jewellery designer?

“Bil Arabi jewellery was born in 2006, a time when the West was passing judgment on this part of the world and there was a lot of negative media surrounding us. I felt it was time I expressed my dismay and promoted my culture and identity, and to say: “I’m proud to be Arab.” There’s no better way than having ladies wearing their initials in Arabic and spreading the word.”

What drives you?

“I’m inspired by people and events happening around me every day.”

Your new Tantanah collection is beautiful. What was your inspiration?

“Vintage fashion and lace. The beauty of the Arabic calligraphy is also an inspiration by itself and is a big part of my design aesthetic.”

What country gets your creative juices flowing?

“All places have a certain sentiment that stays in my heart, whether it’s love, a warm feeling or a cold emotion, all of which are inspiring. But the countries that bring out the creative in me are those that are close to the heart – Lebanon and the UAE.”

Describe your personal style in one sentence…

“I can do that in one word: me!”

Who’s your style icon?

“Sophia Loren is one of my favourites, I love her beauty and the way she carries herself.”

What are your thoughts on the style of women from the Middle East?

“One cannot generalise, but I will say women in the Middle East have always been fashionable and up-to-date with what’s the newest, hottest must-have.”

Describe the Bil Arabi woman

“She is bold and wants to make a statement. She’s proud of her identity and language. The foreign girl who wears my jewels is in love with our culture and region and appreciates the beauty of Arabic calligraphy.”

Best career advice you’ve ever been given?

“Keep going forward and achieve what you want to achieve.”


Bil Arabi designed by Nadine Kanso can be found in all S*uce outlets, Harvey Nichols and Bloomingdale’s