One to Watch: Bande des Quatres

Dale Gould

Growing up with a famous jeweler for a mother and a financial wiz for a father, it's no wonder Montreal native Erin Wahed has a knack for both skills.

"As a child watching my mother work, I knew I would never have the patience to handmake jewelry, but it always fascinated me," says Erin, who relocated to New York to pursue photography at NYU.

But what Erin lacks in patience she makes up for in design instincts. She and her mother, Janis Kerman, conceived of their shared jewelry collection Bande des Qautres while working on a few baubles to accessorize an outfit for Erin's senior thesis exhibit.

"The outfit was Michael Jackson inspired, specifically the black and gold sequin pants," says Erin. "I knew the jewelry needed to make just as much of a statement as the pants."

Two rings that would become collection signatures—the "Moholy-Nagy" and "Van der Rohe"—were created to meet that very purpose.

The mother-and-daughter duo's shared fascination with Bauhaus art and architecture translates easily to their sleek, structural jewelry. Their complimentary skills often yield spectacular, abstract results.

"I’ve never had a knack for drawing," says Erin. "It’s always ideas for me, so she can read my mind in the sense that I’ll point to something and she’ll know exactly what I’m thinking and how to translate it."

In their current collection, each piece is a kind of homage to a particular architect's aesthetic.

"To me, Zaha Hadid's buildings are large-scale sculptures," says Erin. "I can imagine that her biggest challenge is in making her buildings work the way she sees them. The 'Hadid' ring was inspired by her way of seeing." The unusual finished product—an oxidized silver loop and curving gold band inlaid with black diamonds—calls to mind Hadid's gravity-defying designs.

Whether or not the ladies continue to explore architectural references in their forthcoming collection, it's certain to bend the boundaries between art and fashion even further. "For me, both realms are not mutually exclusive," says Erin.

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