It’s a peculiar fact of the fashion industry that some of its most notable designers—Pierre Hardy, Adam Kimmel, Scott Sternberg, L’Wren Scott and Juan Carlos Obando among them—never planned to become designers at all. Instead, design found them.
Jewelry designer Ali Moosally can now be added to this list as well.
“I started designing by accident,” she told us. “My sister had her first son several years ago, and I wanted to give her something special to celebrate his birth. I kept looking around for the perfect gift and I couldn’t find anything, so I decided to make something I knew she would love. I ended up creating a small, diamond pendant in the shape of a little boy. Afterward, people started asking her where she’d found it.”
Sure enough, Moosally was soon inundated with orders, so she left her career as a lawyer to pursue her passion for jewelry design. Barneys New York snapped up her delicate, diamond-dotted collection earlier this year, in part because her design philosophy is one we wholeheartedly endorse: “Subtlety trumps bling.”
The hallmarks of Moosally’s collection—clean lines, restraint and a particular fondness for black diamonds—have earned her more than a few fans within Barneys’ ranks. Tomoko Ogura, the Barneys fashion director, included two of Moosally’s pieces in her holiday gift guide this year, including the sapphire and diamond evil eye bracelet whose hot-pink cord can usually be seen peeking out of one sleeve or another at the Barneys offices.
“The evil eye bracelet is one of my favorites,” Tomoko told us. “Ali often uses pave diamonds in her refined designs, but with this particular piece she incorporates something less precious like a neon cord. The everday wearability is what I’m drawn to.”
“I’ve always loved the symbolism of the evil eye,” Moosally adds, “and I thought it would be perfect for a piece of jewelry in my collection. It’s small, yet powerful. It’s whimsical, yet has meaning. And with the cord, you can go to the beach with it, you can shower with it, you can sleep with it. You look down a year later and it’s still there, which is great because jewelry is so personal; it really becomes part of who you are.”
It’s this emotional resonance that makes jewelry such a perfect gift—it becomes a talisman representing a relationship or a moment in time, which is recalled every time you wear it. Moosally’s collection itself was inspired in this spirit—as a gift to commemorate the birth of her nephew. (That said, we won’t blame you if you end up keeping one—or more—of the pieces below for yourself!)
Before you go top off your Barneys bag, we thought we’d leave you with a few words of wisdom from Moosally. When asked to describe her style philosophy, she told us: “Be comfortable, be yourself and dress for yourself. If you feel like wearing one piece of jewelry one day, wear it. If you feel like wearing ten pieces the next day, do it.”