Often kids from well-off families tend to rest on the family laurels (it is particularly true with the younger Russian generation), choosing to take it easy, enjoy the life on the party circuit and not even consider work for a living as a viable option-this is of course a generalization and so when you see a young lady from a well known European family work hard to establish her credentials in a very saturated world of jewellery, even if it’s in her DNA, you become curious.
Gaia Repossi is a member of an Italian family which owns and runs a very upscale Maison Repossi(started in 1920s) where Gaia she has been holding a title of artistic director from her early 20s, with her aim of bringing in younger clients. Yes, it probably helps that she is a familiar face on the fashion circuit (socialising with the likes of Charlotta Casiraghi, Tatiana Santo Domingo and Eugenie Niarchos) but I wonder if the fact that she has been exposed to art and culture from the young age is what makes her designs so distinctly unusual. She definitely found and gradually established her own niche with beautifully crafted rings, especially the one which cover the whole of your finger.
Gaia launched her first ‘stand alone’ jewellery collection called Czarina with Eugenie Niarchos in 2007 and last year she had a very successful collaboration with both Alexander Wang and Joseph Altuzarra (each reflecting the essence of each of the designers), so 2011 brought news of a new collaboration, this time with a French brand Zadig & Voltaire.
Hand on the heart, I love Z & V, as they make quirky clothes, shoes, bags etc. that stand the test of times and always give you a luxurious feel and edge when you wear them. Pricey? Hell yes, that’s why I love sales where you can always find plenty of items to add to your wardrobe, but I have wondered off the path of my subject, so forgive my little interlude .)
When I heard snippets about upcoming collaboration, I popped into my local Zadig & Voltaire where a young sales guy looked at me like I was an alien. Mercifully, I was rescued by a knowing wink from one of the sales girls who said that the items in question-rings and bracelets (in silver & gold)- will only be carried in three of Zadig & Voltaire’s London stores some time in May and called the Westbourne grove store. After a brief chat, my name was put on the …waiting list-yes, the dreaded and not liked by me, but what can a girl do on an occasion like that?
After a hectic but fun weekend in mid May I was ready to call the shop but the lovely sales girl beat me to it-I was told that they had the collection that I wanted but I had to come in that same day or else they will be gone as they received less stock and silver didn’t even come in-happy me, I actually prefer the warmth of gold to the coldness of silver.
So off I drove to the store, where from under the cloak of backroom, the rings appeared on the tray before me. I tried them and was about to pay for two-one covering half of the finger, another covering the whole one-harder edge, more rock’and’roll girl, which I am not, but the hell with it, we only live once. Well, I came down from dreaming as the lovely blond sales girl told me that I couldn’t have the bigger ring, as someone put her name down for it before me-what about me being there and willing to pay on the spot, I asked? The head was shaken and transaction for one ring concluded. Refusing to give up, I did say that if the lady didn’t want it, I will still want it tomorrow.
Coming out of the store, i almost forgot about it, as Gaia’s ring had a magic effect on me-it felt like part of me, being on my finger, glinting in the sun yet feeling like it was part of my hand-if that isn’t talent and vision put into designing this piece, I don’t know what is.
Well, as I was pottering around the next day, my mobile rang and it was another sales person from the Zadig &Voltaire store, this time a guy, saying that I could have the ring if I moved fast, as in, until the end of the day. So in a couple of hours, when my errands were done, I came through the stores doors again and was met by a smiling handsome face of the guy who called me…. So now I am a proud owner of two beautiful rings designed by Gaia for Zadig & Voltaire-a smaller, more girly and feminine one that gives me quite confidence and a larger one, that makes me feel cool and ten inches taller somehow. And you know what, when the sales staff is that nice, it’s a double pleasure to complete the shopping experience, even if the dreaded waiting list is involved. And having seen Gaia’s pieces, I expect a very interesting professional future for her, full of surprises for her ever expanding customer base around the world! Vive the talent and interesting collaborations-Gaia, you made me a very happy girl indeed!