To purchase a bauble by Bande des Quatres is to enter into what designer Erin Wahed describes as the “BDQ Family.” “For me, Bande des Quatres has always been about more than just jewelry,” Wahed explains. “It’s been about an aesthetic and a feeling.” It isn’t rare to find members of “the family,” who often sport a handful of the 26-year-old designer’s addictive wares, eating homemade sushi at Wahed’s East Village apartment, listening to BDQ’s “Precious Metal” music mixes (e-mailed monthly to the brand’s legion of subscribers) or gushing about Wahed’s covetable goods to anyone who will listen.
Aside from the diehard camaraderie of the line’s supporters, Bande des Quatres (Which translates to “Band of Four” – an allusion to the four fingers decorated by the brand’s signature rings) is truly a family affair. Each collection is a collaborative effort between the New York-based designer and her Montreal-based mother, a veteran in the fine jewelry industry. Though many would scoff at the notion of working creatively with their mother, for Wahed it’s this relationship that brings the works to life. “I’ve never had a knack for drawing, but my mom can read my mind,” she says. “I’ll point to something and say ‘I like that part of it’ and she’ll know exactly what I’m talking about and translate it. You have to have that intrinsic family bond to communicate like this.” But that isn’t to say that Wahed and her mother don’t encounter the odd creative dispute. “There is always laughing and crying, but more laughing than crying, definitely,” she says.
BDQ’s latest collection, which will be available at Neuehouse’s Holiday Bazaar this coming weekend, draws inspiration from minimalist artists. Blinky Palermo and Elsworth Kelly’s geometric simplicity can be found in the polygon-shaped knuckle rings while Alexander Calder’s influence is felt in the way items seem to float on the hand, neck or ear in unexpected ways. New materials and items, most notably necklaces, were introduced as well. “The use of rubber in necklaces and bracelets adds a new dimension to the element of illusion apparent in previous collections,” Wahed says.
And though purchasers of BDQ goods are keen to offer themselves up as brand ambassadors, with her mane of curls, which frequently changes color, slick minimal style and her spectacular nail art (done monthly by her manicurist Ami Vega), there is no better embodiment of Bande des Quatres than Wahed herself. Just take a scroll through the numerous hand-selfies on her Instagram and you’ll be itching to join the family.