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Adwoa Aboah and John Hardy Bring Bali to New York to Celebrate Their New Collaboration

Vogue logo Vogue 10/10/2018 Janelle Okwodu
a group of people posing for a photo © Samantha Deitch/BFA.com

The idea of trading the hustle and bustle of the big city for a Bali, Indonesia, retreat is something everyone has thought of once or twice, but last night, New Yorkers were given a taste of the island paradise thanks to supermodel Adwoa Aboah. To celebrate her collaboration with jewelry line John Hardy, Chelsea’s Cedar Lake was transformed into a Balinese market complete with spice stands, straw fans, and tuk-tuk rickshaws transporting guests to and fro. A welcome respite from the typical fashion party, the event brought out a well-heeled crowd that included Jenna Lyons, Young Paris, Mia Moretti, Alice Longyu Gao, and more. But the real star of the evening was the debut of Aboah’s limited-edition range of necklaces, body chains, and rings.

The collaboration grew out of Aboah’s starring role in the brand’s Made for Legends campaign last year, according to Robert Hanson, John Hardy’s CEO, who was instantly impressed with her presence and message. “She’s an icon [due to] her authenticity, courage, and how she uses her platform and success to be a force for change in the world,” said Hanson. “She immediately got the brand’s DNA, and we started thinking about how we could deepen our relationship with her.” The sentiment was echoed by creative director Hollie Bonneville Barden, who worked closely with Aboah to take the pieces from an idea to luxurious reality. “John Hardy is all about using jewelry to find your own power, so there was a natural synergy between her and us,” said Barden. “She represents a movement of young women who want to express themselves their way and not be inhibited.”

For Aboah, the process of working on the collection and with the team was heartening. “There was a strong sense of respect that shone through from the beginning and not just for me as a model. They were [also] very interested in all the work I do with Gurls Talk and in the realm of mental health,” she says. “They let me bring in everything that I stand for.” With inspiration drawn from pieces that hold personal significance—signet rings in the style of those given to her by her parents for her 21st birthday and the body chains nodding to a treasured gift from an ex to commemorate a year of sobriety—and with a foundation of sustainability and hand-crafted artistry, the collaboration is a meaningful one.

Guests were given the chance to try the pieces on for themselves, layering gems with their existing accessories to get a feel for the Bali-meets-London vibe of the intricate designs. “Layer it on. That’s the way I wear jewelry,” shared Aboah, moments before her big entrance beside a troupe of Balinese dancers. “I have pieces that are worth nothing, pieces that I saved up for, and things that have been handed down to me, everything is sentimental.” Spoken like a true jewelry enthusiast.

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