Sixty years. That is how long Habib has been around in Malaysia as a homegrown brand synonymous with exquisite fine jewellery and quality craftsmanship.
From a small shop nestled along Penang’s famed “Jewellers Corner” on Pitt Street, to now, a fully integrated company with customers from all around the world, it has come far.
The secret to Habib’s enduring success? Probably the penchant it has for embodying the best of Malaysian creativity, innovation, craftsmanship and value. That, and the respect for its customers.
“People buy jewellery for two reasons. Adornment and investment. When it comes to investment, people want to buy something from someone they can trust,” states Datuk Sri Meer Sadik Habib, managing director of Habib Group.
According to Meer, the Habib brand is built on trust. Photo: The Star/Kamarul Ariffin
“I’m very proud of my late father who founded the company. He was seen as a very trustworthy person,” he says, adding, “If you want to put your money somewhere, it will be with someone you can trust.”
Meer points out that he is also proud of Habib for being a Malaysian brand through and through. According to him, this is what sets it apart from a lot of the other local brands found here.
“You can see them trying their best to be a bit different. They try to come across as being more Western. Giving themselves a French name, for instance. This mentality has to change.”
In line with the 60th year celebration, Habib launched the Heritage Journey showcase, which features exclusive jewellery pieces drawing inspiration from Malaysia’s rich culture.
Having kicked off at The Curve, Petaling Jaya, it is now moving to IOI City Mall, Putrajaya. From Nov 24 to Dec 2, visitors will be able to catch a glimpse of some of the brand’s timeless designs.
“It’s the first time we are doing such an exhibition. Our events are usually focused on sales. But it’s a little bit different this time. We want people to pay us a visit, and just learn about our history,” comments Meer.
“I think my favourite heritage piece is the kerongsang. It’s a Peranakan design that is made to be worn with a kebaya. I love it. It really has so much history in the design.”
He favours some of the earrings made out of old-cut diamonds as well. According to him, the way the diamonds are cut back then are a little different from what is done today.
The Heritage Journey showcase features exclusive jewellery pieces drawing inspiration from Malaysia’s rich culture.
“When we look at the heritage pieces, we realise that there are two things that are important to us. Creativity and timelessness. Anything we put out there must be special and unique.”
As it is, Habib is not one to forget its heritage. Its first store in Penang still stands today. The double-storey shop – which features Jawi Peranakan interior and architectural designs – is a tribute to the founder himself.
“It’s a very nostalgic feeling. We come from Penang, it’s our birthplace. To me, it’s a location with a lot of character. So thinking about it brings about a feeling of pride,” says Meer.
“My father was a man with unconventional ideas who served as a testament that anything was achievable through hard work and determination. Habib, which he started from zero, has evolved into much more.”
The diamond jubilee celebration is also marked with the launch of a new jewellery collection. It comprises designs that are inspired by the heritage pieces, but with modern updates.
Aside from the heritage showcase, Habib is also offering fabulous and exclusive promotions. This will run throughout its 60th anniversary campaign to mark the illustrious occasion.
“We are very, very Malaysian. I would say that the take-home message of our showcase is to be proud of our Malaysian heritage and be proud of Malaysia,” concludes Meer.
As a part of the reopening celebrations of the Cartier flagship boutique at Ion Orchard in Singappore, an exhibition titled Cartier, Icon Of Style has been specially curated – showcasing selected historic and extraordinary jewellery pieces.
Cartier was the first jeweller to adopt the panther. The elegant feline was used for the first time on a wristwatch in 1914 with the setting of onyx recreating the animal’s fur.
When Jeanne Toussaint was appointed as creative director in 1933, the panther became even more as an emblematic motif for the maison.
Toussaint worked closely alongside founder Louis Cartier and was nicknamed “La Panthère”, presumably due to her freedom, strength of character and love for panther in her lifestyle.
The iconic animal takes the form of a gem-encrusted bangle.
One of her most outstanding inputs lies in the search on volumes and attitudes of the animal. For Toussaint, the panther – now an iconic motif – is clearly the emblem of femininity unfettered by convention.
Louis and Toussaint also had a mutual interest in, not to say a fascination with, other cultures. This has helped shape not just the aesthetic of one or other object, but the entire Cartier style. A visual language, which has extended to every creation and whose “vocabulary” has been constantly expanding.
The Cartier, Icon of Style exhibition highlights, among other things, the origins of the panther and its rich connections with some of the most well-known figures, such as the Duchess of Windsor and Barbara Hutton, just to name a few.
Open to all interested members of the public, the exhibition will run from Nov 24 to Dec 6. Keen individuals are encouraged to indicate registration interest on cartier-ion.sg/register as viewing slots are limited.
An artist impression of the new Ion Orchard boutique, which is set to be the maison’s largest flagship store in Southeast Asia.
Whether city hopping, weekend escapes or epic business adventures, the Montblanc #MY4810 collection provides. It is designed to meet the needs of urban explorers and intrepid adventurers.
The luggage cases bring together Italian savoir-faire, German mechanics and Japanese high-performance technology. They blend lightweight polycarbonate with elegant leather trimming to deliver a cool urban look.
The Japanese-made ball-bearing wheels with 360-degree rotation ensure comfortable and extremely smooth motion, while the German-constructed multi-stop bar allows the traveller to adjust the extension at any height.
An original grooving design pattern on the front panel evokes the signature Montblanc “M”, while a dedicated leather insert on the side allows personalisation of the trolleys with owner’s initials.
For connected travellers, the cabin versions come conveniently equipped with a dedicated space for a power bank. Each trolley can be safely secured with an embedded TSA lock.
The #MY4810 is part of My Montblanc Nightflight, the maison’s extensive line of leather goods created for today’s globetrotter. This includes 24 brand new bags, 13 new wallets and pocket accessories and five trolleys.
Each design features plenty of pockets on the inside and outside, one of which has an RFID blocking lining.
Symbolic meaning has always been synonymous with traditional culture. Khoon Hooi’s inspiration for his new jewellery collection with Zcova highlights this very idea.
According to the celebrated Malaysian designer, his creations represent something positive to look forward to – or rather, to bring into existence. He says that they are perfect to wear.
“Not just for the coming new year, but for any occasion to invite happiness, love and joy in your life,” Khoon Hooi points out. This happens to be his debut jewellery collection.
The first design inspiration is the resilient bamboo. An oriental emblem of rectitude and longevity, it is artfully represented in the collection, with gold earrings and a slim gold bracelet that are subtle yet elegant.
Another auspicious symbol of humility is the joyful energy of the chrysanthemum. Representing the sun, the unfolding of the petals is intricately presented as a showstopper, in the form of a large ring and a pair of earrings.
The jewellery collection also illustrates the virtues of love and romance through the use of floral emblems such as plum blossoms that signify perseverance in the face of adversity and the promise of a future filled with hope.
Plum blossoms often bloom most vibrantly amid the harsh winter snow, hence the motif is elaborately enameled onto the earrings, ring and bracelet design of the collection.
One of the most significant oriental floral emblems is the peony. Regarded as the king of flowers, the deliciously sensual peony embodies the qualities of romance and prosperity.
The petals of the peony come to life as an ornate ring and a pair of earrings. They are regarded as an omen of good fortune and happy marriage, which make them the perfect pieces to gift loved ones.
For the ultimate token of eternal union, this collection features a modern take on the Chinese knot and fan motif. Choose either a bracelet or earrings, or even both, as a devoted gesture of affection.
The Zcova x Khoon Hooi collection is available for pre-order. Each piece can be customised further with yellow, white or rose gold, including a wide selection of coloured stones.
Zcova is a Malaysian diamond trading company established in 2015. Through it, customers can order their diamonds based on their own specifications, as well as get personalised consultation services on jewellery design.
For the third edition of its Dior Lady Art project, the Dior fashion house has invited 11 artists from around the globe to reinvent its famous Lady Dior handbag. This year, the French luxury brand’s creative director, Maria Grazia Chiuri, chose to celebrate women in art with an all-female line-up of artists.
The Lady Dior handbag – named in honor of Princess Diana, who carried it on many occasions – proved a hit as soon as it was released in 1995. Embodying the spirit of the French fashion house, the bag, with its graphic codes, mostly comes finished with a “cannage” motif inspired by the Napoleon III chairs on which Christian Dior seated his guests at fashion shows. More than 20 years later, the bag has become a fashion icon, as well as a symbol of French craftsmanship, with various versions seeing the light of day.
Every year since 2016, the Dior fashion house has invited artists to create their own interpretations of the now legendary bag via its Dior Lady Art project. The collaboration was initially only open to British and American artists before going global. It takes a new turn this year with 11 women artists invited to turn the bag into a work of art.
Gold Leaves, Chains, Patchwork And Holographic Effects
Eleven women – visual and contemporary artists, photographers, painters and sculptors – have put their skills and creativity to work to turn the Lady Dior bag into custom works of art. For this edition, the French fashion house has tapped Olga de Amaral (Colombia), Polly Apfelbaum (USA), Burçak Bingöl (Turkey), Lee Bul (Korea), Isabelle Cornaro (France), Haruka Kojin (Japan), Li Shurui (China), Mickalene Thomas (USA), Janaina Tschäpe (USA), Morgane Tschiember (France) and Pae White (USA).
Highlights include a Lady Dior stitched with cotton leaves hand-finished in 24-carat gold by Olga de Amaral, and a black velvet mini bag embroidered with chains by Isabelle Cornaro. Li Shurui’s version in coated fabric is embossed and printed with a holographic effect, while the black patent calfskin version by Mickalene Thomas is embroidered with a multicolored patchwork of beads, threads and organza.
Watch out for various events from the Dior fashion house to mark this latest limited-edition creative selection. – AFP Relaxnews
- Olga de Amaral.
- Mickalene Thomas.