Emel Kurhan is one half of the team of two sisters that create Yazbukey, a range of quirky, fun and beautiful accessories and jewellery. Emel was born in Cairo, an Ottoman princess and descendant of Mehmet Ali Pasha, King of Egypt no less! After a spot of globe trotting Emel decided to settle in Paris with her sister, Yaz. She worked with Christian Lacroix’s textile prints department for three seasons before studying at Studio Bercot. In 2000 Emel and Yaz launched Yazbukey. Their point of inspiration was dressing up the Little Black Dress – adding jewellery, shoes, bags, belts – anything that would make a classic piece fabulous! Emel and Yaz are inspired by a variety of eccentric and interesting sources – from old musicals and Tim Burton films to fairytales. Their current collection features otherworldly High Priestess medallions, cording and ropes and….Sebastien Tellier! You can buy Yazbukey at Colette in Paris, Kokontozai in London,Le Fati Ignoranti in Rome or Walter in Belgium.
I never thought of it, but as a kid I always wanted to do something creative. I was, and still am a daydreamer! So I knew very, very young that I would be making money with dreams, drawings, my imagination and doing something visual, but I never put a name on it.
How did you get to where you are today and would you do anything differently?
I wouldn’t do anything differently. I have made mistakes and learned a lot. I have no regrets. I think I never gave up dreaming and buying into my dreams. I truly believe in what I do but don’t take it too seriously.
Who helped you along the way?
My sister Yaz, and my dearest friend Eren.
Who inspires you?
People that have guts!
Love, life, my boyfriend, Fatih, travelling, cinema, books, friends, art, cinema,my sister Yaz, sleeping, laughing, my dog, fairy tales, tv, pop culture…anything and everything.
What do you think is the biggest problem in French society today and what is the most positive thing?
Concerning fashion,the French have this amazing history, but unfortunately they are too closed to new opinions and changes because they rely so much on this history,and it is so heavy and becomes so important that in a way French society is scared about doing anything in case it won’t be as good as waht’s gone before. It’s a old institution scared of that’s scared of anything new. İn french school they always teach you that you can’t reach perfection, that’s why on an exam you will never get 20/20. I think this is a good reflection of French society!
Do you feel Turkish, French or European?
French-Turkish-European …all in one but none at the same time.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
A lot of The Beatles! And Debussy too.
Jewellery trend for this season?
I have no idea!
What couldn’t you live without?
Above all love! And also my dog Kumpir, my sister Yaz and my dearest friends and of course Fatih.
Emel with her sister Yaz
My flat in Istanbul.
Since my childhood it would have to be “The Wizard of Oz” and from this year I really liked “The Wrestler”.
One piece of jewellery every girl should own?
Favourite European city and why?
Paris! It is the most romantic city at night with all of these lights.
Desert island book?
William Dalrymple’s “The Last Mughal”
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In 5 years, I see myself in a happy and mellow place.