The Joaillerie Series: Conversations on Craft with Gaia Repossi

July 6, 2021

Repossi is a 3rd generation House of Italian designers creating avant-garde and timeless jewelry pieces designed to be worn as a second skin. After studying industrial design, Constantino Repossi founded the house in 1957 in Turino and created jewelry inspired by the Art Deco movement and avant-garde designs. Design remains the focus of the house and becomes glamourous when Alberto, his son, internationally developed the brand by establishing it in 1978 in Monaco. In 1986, he opened his boutique on Place Vendôme in Paris amongst the elegant and avant-garde. Regenerated by Gaia Repossi’s vision since 2007, Repossi reinvents iconic jewelry classics, blending modern art and architecture with Place Vendôme excellence for an assertive woman. Gaia Repossi, the third generation, rapidly immerses herself in her family’s jewelry tradition and starts a clean slate from the past. Balancing between traditional know-how and bold design, Repossi enters a new era, thanks to Gaia’s talent. At the age of 21, Gaia Repossi inherited the reins of the House as Artistic Director in 2007 and instilled her radical vision of jewelry and new ways of wearing products, breaking the rules of conventional high jewelry. The Repossi aesthetic takes its sources from primitive jewelry and blends them with the strong artistic universe of Gaia Repossi. As a refined and visionary designer, Gaia takes her inspiration from Modern and Contemporary visual art and art movements such as Modernism and Bauhaus Architecture or the works of architects such as Tadao Ando, and Le Corbusier. Japanese essentialism and Jewelry Ethnology have also served an important role. In Modern art, sculpture and architecture, nature and raw materials confront each other like “giant volumes in an empty place”. The works of Richard Serra, Sterling Ruby, or the land art of James Turell and Donald Judd’s Marfa are all sources of influence that feed her creative process. Repossi’s ageless jewels are sculptural, architectural pieces: « an Art à Porter ». They are an audacious, understated and less conventional approach to jewelry. High Jewelry is an ideal ground of expression for Gaia, a laboratory of experimentation that gives simplified jewerly a renewed purpose. From the realms of high jewelry, jewelry is born. A strong artistic direction and the expertise of dozens of years allows our workshops to reach the highest level of techniques to create our two signature features: floating diamonds and stacking. Repossi’s jewelry is particularly renowned today for its emblematic collections such as Serti sur Vide, recognizable by its floating diamonds, Antifer with its peaks and sharp angles, and Berbere, for the repetition of minimalist gold lines inspired by the ancestral tattoos of North African Tribes. Repossi’s latest collection Serti Inversé evokes sculptural movement and is inspired by Richard Serra’s work. These timeless creations with bold, architectural lines push the limits of traditional craftsmanship and position Repossi as the most avant-garde jewelry house on Place Vendôme.

Your earliest memory of something craft-related?

My father’s first gift he had made for my mother when he was 18. He made it himself during his years of apprenticeship. It was the most delicate bow in silver and diamonds.

How would you define craft today? 

Sadly, a lot of techniques have been lost, and the excellence is no longer a focus. The very skilled artisans are now very rare. I admire and try to hire these people as much as possible despite budget considerations. I’m interested in craft that is rooted in humankind and futuristic techniques as long as they don’t kill ancestral hand knowledge. Nothing can replace a skilled hand and a trained eye. Minimal and sharp design are solutions to obtaining the desired results.

The most challenging aspect of craft production today?

Technique. Rigour and quality. The industry is sustainable by definition; jewellery is kept and in the range of slow consumption. I believe that consuming less of better quality is more interesting and should be the future. But this emphasises the fact that the industry is still far behind in terms of sustainable solutions and green desires to respect the planet. I think we should be the example without waiting any longer. 

The most rewarding aspect of craft production today?

The exchange with the ateliers. It can be incredibly moving to hold certain pieces, or to reach solutions directly with the ateliers when receiving extraordinary requests.

Your message to people on the importance of craft?

Jewellery is embedded in our oldest memories — certainly to the extent of civilisation developing adornment and visual narratives to express themselves. In fact, the art is almost as old as humankind. Losing craft is losing our identity and our ability to give something more to our consumption. With jewellery, suddenly it has a meaning and depth beyond the basic responsibility that my industry has towards heritage.  

Your love of craft in one sentence?

Past mastery and future achievement of craft along with the beauty of a perfect object created now. 

Your prediction for the future of craft?

We will certainly buy mostly online, and we will invent a new experience to transcend digital reality through new physical experiences that will no longer involve standalone stores. 

Your wish for the future?

To respect humanity and its roots by offering solutions to sustain the planet that are smart, full of emotion and that nourish our imagination.  Meaningful objects that express a strong and surprising narrative allow my profession to endure.

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