When in 2007, Gaia Repossi takes up the heritage of her family becoming the artistic director of Repossi House founded in 1925 in Turin by his great-grandfather, she had no intention of being a jewelry designer. She has a degree in Fine Arts and achieves two masters in Archeology and Anthropology.

Photo by Ezra Petronio

Today Gaia Repossi is one of the most talented young jewelry designers, her modern sensibility blends the artistic and cultural influences from around the world. Loved and courted by the fashion world, she has developed collaborations with Alexander Wang, Joseph Altuzarra, Zadig & Voltaire and Colette Paris. Redmilk met her to talk about her inspirations and work.

You have a degree in Fine Arts and a master in Archeology and Anthropology. How did you mix your studies with your family heritage?
I’m not sure if I ever mixed both aspects. If I ever did so it was maybe unconscious. My vision towards the art world, by painting, art crafts, sculpture and architecture has always been a great fascination. And beyond this, as any designer that takes this task seriously, I am here to bring something new in an industry that is very reluctant to change.

Your anthropological studies allowed you to get to know different tribes in the world. What culture has influenced your work the most?
Well, I was reading Sad Tropics from Lévi Strauss and that book has never left me since that moment. He mentions the Tribes of Bororo and Nambikwara from Mato Grosso in Amazonia, describing delicate feathers ornaments but most of all a certain fierce. Beyond this, the actual revelation was the art of the ornament itself; its elaboration sometimes using techniques we’ve lost. I was taught that these items used as ornaments in materials like plain gold, silver, bronze or feathers and bones were considered part of the human patrimony and it’s very important do not let this be forgotten.
As a designer, shapes and motifs enrich my imaginary as well as the contemporary art world, sculpture, monuments and stunning landscapes. Monumental shapes of the Bauhaus are now interesting me particularly. For me it’s a modern response to Africa and its strong essential modernity. Geometry is essential to my work, since the sculptural shapes are always adapted ergonomically to the body.

What did it mean for you and the House of Repossi to bring the brand into the fashion system?
It was for me a way to break the rules into a segment considered by prejudice “Classic”. It is for me the most frustrating term because in terms of design it doesn’t mean anything. I wanted to show that audiences could be mixed, and desire can be provoked also by enlarging people’ imaginary and nourishing them with something more and new.
Willing to stick in the art craft in a constricted field in the abnegation of renewal in design, it stops all freedom. There are no rules in renewal, because we decide ourselves where we lead our own ideas.

How has your career evolved, from your first collection to the present day?
I think at the opposite, I find myself very repetitive, almost obsessional; if you look closer to the collections in their global aspect, you will notice that I use always the same proportions, the same shape and volume and diamonds as touches of color and rhythm. It’s my “signature”.
I use three different directions for the collections, each one allowing me to use different art crafts techniques: one that we call minimal (épurée) with simple flat lines that is almost considered androgynous (Berbere Collections for instance) using gold craft techniques, other that we call organic where the volume embraces the body (Neree/Ophydienne Collections) in a very voluminous way, which uses sculpting and carving techniques (almost not used in jewelry anymore and one of the most old refined techniques) and a last one where motifs are used such as laces, drawings and patterns on the skin (Art Nouveau Collection) using a certain gold handmade craft technique as well.

Which requirements should a modern woman have?
In terms of jewelry, I think it’s all about freedom. Maybe it’s important not to fall in the trap to over wear jewelry or mix too many colors. Bare skin is always beautiful. It’s a shame to cover it. In a more general term I think a modern woman is an intelligent woman that lives for something else than her own appearance.

How would you describe your personal aesthetic?
It reflects my personality. I think I enjoy a certain clean aesthetic to be able to embrace renewal more easily, since I’m always looking forward to reinvent my work and myself. My passion for art makes my aesthetic more complex regarding patterns, shapes and color. Baselitz, Twombly, Kiefer, Serra, Franz West are some names that inspires me.

What places in Paris inspire, relax and give you the energy you need to recharge?
Very pure landscapes recharge me to the simple point of visual aesthetic and plain nothingness. Out of here, Iceland landscapes feel almost lunar to me.

Who was your childhood hero?
Pablo Picasso.

If one day you had to leave the world of jewelry to follow anthropological research, where in the world would you go?
I never had the chance to push studies around Indianist archeology (India civilization of Mohenjo Daro and Harappa), because in France you don’t find so many indianists. I studied fine arts before pushing my curiosity to archeology. Beyond my work I always wanted to be a painter. And I still paint.