Six years ago, Lea Farah embarked upon the adventure of a lifetime. Starting with words of encouragement from a classmate, “anything you touch becomes exclusive and classy,” she quickly began testing herself professionally.
The 23-year-old bridal headpiece designer now finds herself diving into the wedding industry full-time with her original designs.
In school, for mother’s day she wanted to honor her teachers with a thoughtful gesture. Assembling coins and turning them into vintage rings wasn’t something difficult for the young artist. It is from this creative endeavor that Centimes Bourgeois became reality.
She started out her creative academic journey by getting a Bachelor’s Degree in interior design from l’AcadémieLibanaise des Beaux Arts (ALBA) back in 2015. Afterward, she pursued a master’s degree in jewelry design at the University of Central St. Martins in London while assisting classes in gemology at the Gemological Institute of America.
“There, in the heart of the United Kingdom, I stumbled upon headpieces and found my passion,” Farah said.
She returned to Lebanon in 2015 with a strong motivation to join what is a notoriously ferocious industry. In less than a year, she was able to launch her first capsule collection entirely bought by Pace e Luce, a prestigious Italian hairdresser salon.
“At that moment, my business started growing.” Her exquisite designs are exhibited at Pace e Luce and Esposa, a bridal boutique.
In 2016, she stood out during Beirut Fashion Week with her headpieces’ appearance in their first runway show. The fashion exhibit, hosted by the Lebanese designer Reem Kachmar, presented a collection inspired by Antonio Gaudi (the famous Spanish architect).
“The fashion show was a nice shift from the bridal pieces I’ve been used to designing, it was definitely challenging but I loved every bit of it,” the artist told Annahar.
Being influenced by the magnificence of nature, Farah uncovers her inspiration from leafs, flowers and anything else she stumbles upon. This inspiration often finds itself turned into a masterpiece with unique details engraved in distinctive headpieces.
Most of the pieces have a preconceived composition and aren’t laid out arbitrarily. They are worked stone by stone exactly how she envisions them based off of her drawings.
The Swarovski stones are shipped in from London, then Copper base (mold) or hand-twisted copper wires with drilled pearls are added. The final touch is to gold plate the items, “I am now exploring with antique colors, while also expanding to fabric-based pieces, in order to bring a new feel to the collection.”
Farah has wholesale clients from different countries in the Gulf region such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar.
Instagram was her main platform; “cbheadpieces” now has 16,000 followers, 4,622 on Facebook. Farah didn’t want to boost her social media posts; she wanted each piece to speak for itself, in a sense letting success grow organically.
The young jewelry designer didn’t expect her business to flourish this quickly, yet the beauty of Lebanon is that word of mouth spreads swiftly and headpieces turn into a necessity for brides.
Centimes Bourgeois is located in Downtown Beirut in the same building as the Louis Vuitton shop. There, brides can choose what they like best. Farah sometimes designs unique headpieces at the request of brides who want something personalized, whether it be adding diamonds or getting a part engraved.
The collection available at the shop exudes creative originality. Distinctive, unique and exclusive headpieces with new designs and a touch of elegance make a bold statement in the bridal scene.
Starting up a business is quite hard, however, headpieces have been around for centuries whether they move from millinery, crowns, flowers, or Centimes Bourgeois headpieces, stated Farah.
“I’m going to persevere doing what I love without fear,” noted the designer.