Meet the latest addition to OC's jewelry cabinets: Repossi
! The storied Paris-based jewelry house has been producing graphic gold creations since 1920, when current creative director Gaia Repossi's great-grandfather established the line in Turin. Taking up the family flame and feeding it with her own interests in everything from contemporary art to African tribes, Gaia creates pieces that combine heavy metal impact with breathtaking delicacy.
Last week, Gaia and I caught up to chat about her ongoing collaboration with Alexander Wang
, where to find good croissants, and how the art enthusiast gets nerdy.
Shop all Repossi here
Alice Newell-Hanson: Hi Gaia! Where are you right now?
Gaia Repossi: Hey there! I'm In our office in Paris. It's right in the center, on the Place Vendôme where all the jewelry is... so we can see Napoleon's column! And it's sunny out—which is unusual for Paris.
ANH: Same here! It must be around lunchtime. What are you getting?
GR: Ha ha. I usually go to the Japanese next door. My other favorite places are Yen and Kintuoraya. They are the cutest. Or sometimes I'll get a croissant for lunch.
ANH: Where's the best croissant in Paris?
GR: On Rue Vieille du Temple at Boulangerie Malineau, or at Flore.
ANH: What's your favorite Repossi piece to wear right now?
GR: The new earcuff—it's a multi-piercing earring with no piercing! It's on the cover of Self Service
at the moment.
ANH: Cool! I think my absolute favorite is the silver Berbere ring.
GR: The idea came for those came from Berberian tattoos from the Touareg tribes. They have these black lines all over their fingers, so the collection was all in black first, then we declined it later in several golds and colors. The tribes live in the Moroccan desert mostly, in tents, and they have amazing blue eyes.
ANH: And what about the Alexander Wang pieces? How did you guys start working together?
GR: I met Alex at a friend's dinner and he saw the ring I was wearing. I guess it stuck in his mind because a few weeks later he was asking me to create a collection
for his winter show.
ANH: What were his ideas about what the pieces should look like for Spring/Summer 2012?
GR: We used a pattern from the 50s. At first his ideas were about nose rings and punk references, then he settled on this idea of tailoring, combined with our house and heritage. But we still burned the gold to stay a bit punk!
ANH: I was just about to ask—how do you burn the gold?
GR: The rings are pure gold, so they were very expensive for a show and it was quite a bold move. But we just used flames in the atelier. It was really experimental; it almost felt like being in a sculpture atelier that could have been Calder's or Serra's.
ANH: Were you freaking out before you put the rings into the fire?!
GR: I have to say we were working with this very classic atelier and we were kind of laughing with the guy, because we couldn't imagine any other jewelry house doing that!
ANH: Do you ever consciously reference older styles of your father's or grandfather's? Or is it more about the guiding aesthetic?
GR: Well it's both. Our aesthetic is about graphic lines and I try to apply that to all my work, to dynamize older crafts in a modern, bold way.
ANH: What was the last thing that inspired you?
GR: I see patterns everywhere! Sometimes it's just a vase on the street in New York, but most recently it was the Chamberlain show at the Guggenheim. That was beyond beautiful. Even those metallic shapes could be patterns for me. The difficult part is to adapt them on the body nicely!
ANH: What's your ideal vision of how people should be wearing jewelry?
GR: I love less. I think something symmetrical is very elegant, like two cuffs or maybe just two identical rings.
ANH: Are there any women who you think always get it right?
GR: Hmmm. I think men make fewer mistakes than us! A blazer and a shirt are all you need!
ANH: What was the last thing you bought?
GR: A vintage Polaroid camera and a book of Rauschenberg's photography.
ANH: The last photo you took?
GR: Of my cat Petra. She's a spotted silver Bengal. I have a male one too, a black panther Bengal. They're very cute together.
ANH: Last movie you watched?
GR: A documenatry on Henri Cartier-Bresson my boyfriend wanted to see, and the latest movie about Anselm Kiefer, On your Cities Grass Will Grow—it's beyond good.
ANH: (I really want to see that!) Last time you laughed out loud?
GR: At lunch with my girlfriend!
ANH: Last time you really geeked out?
GR: A year ago my boyfriend took me to The Spiral Jetty
as a gift. That was geeky!
ANH: So cool!
GR: Yes, we'd just met and I was very impressed. It's near Salt Lake City in the desert. It's the most beautiful landscape I've seen in my life.
ANH: Do you have any hidden talents?
GR: Well I hope so. I paint. I studied fine arts at university, before I did my masters in archeology and anthropology. Painting was my first dream! So I still paint but it's more secretive.
ANH: Do you remember the first thing you ever painted? And the first thing you were proud of painting?
GR: My mother. And an abstract landscape picture of a Frank Lloyd Wright house on a lake.
ANH: Where did you grow up?
GR: In the south of France mostly. On the French Riviera, by the ocean. Like the little mermaid! It was very quiet.
ANH: Best Disney princess. OK, last one: if you could have any secret power what would it be?
GR: I'd have ten different parallel lives so I could do everything
Shop all Repossi HERE.