Silvia Furmanovich’s award-winning Silk Road collection combines ancestral Uzbek craftsmanship with original designs.
A love for fabrics took Brazilian designer Silvia Furmanovich on a trip to Uzbekistan to explore the country’s rich silk offerings. Her deep appreciation of ancestral craftsmanship and the potential to bring new techniques to jewelry making gave birth to her latest collection, Silk Road, which won Best in Innovative at the Couture Design Awards this year.
Furmanovich commissioned local artisans, all women, to create tiny handwoven carpets that could go in earrings alongside gold and gemstones. The experienced silk weavers had never worked on such a small scale. Crafting one earring required them to fit 1,600 fine needle points in a reduced surface, and involved a delicate and meticulous dyeing process to ensure every dot of color was in the right spot. Furmanovich then worked with craftspeople in São Paulo to produce jewels that incorporated the delicate embroidery, as well as marquetry, bamboo weaving, miniature painting and fine stones — all inspired by the traditional patterns of the central Asian country.
“I believe that in many ways, this collection encapsulates a lot of what we are trying to do as a brand. Much more than goods were traded throughout the Silk Road; it was also a rich network of ideas and concepts,” says Furmanovich. “This collection evokes a fascination
with the interchange of several techniques, as well as the cross-pollination of cultures, which has been so central to our work.”
The next stage of the collection was for the Uzbek artisans to create new patterns that drew on the designer’s love of flora and fauna, a harmonious meeting of two creative worlds.
Clients have received Furmanovich’s collection with enthusiasm, she says, as they are looking not only for original and colorful designs, but also for pieces that tell the story of the people who made them.
The Silk Road series, which comprises around 200 pieces, will be presented at Bergdorf Goodman in September and PAD London in October.
Image: Silvia Furmanovich