Lest you think that the act of designing jewelry falls somewhere between the mercenary and the emotionally mercurial—put a dash of gold there, an emerald cut here, but better make it cushion-cut to get the most bang for your buck, and let’s just bring back that motif that everyone bought before—Gaia Repossi’s inherently academic, artistically focused work is here to prove you wrong. And if you still have doubts, head to New York’s Dover Street Market to see her pop-up installation, opening today and exclusively previewed here.
Repossi’s latest collection, “White Noise,” takes its inspiration from Alexander Calder’s kinetic mobiles, the work of Franz West, and contemporary and modern architecture, among some 275 other cited references, and its initial presentation at Paris’s contemporary-art museum Jeu de Paume in March relied heavily on chiaroscuro and shadow play, which the designer described in a recent conversation as “funereal.” Visitors to that presentation included Cindy Sherman (a longtime fan of the label), Stella Tennant, and Rei Kawakubo, who subsequently invited Repossi to make a corner of her DSM New York flagship her own come fall.
The loosely looping gilded squiggles of the collection (which, the designer notes, mimic the sound waves produced by actual white noise) are something of a departure for Repossi, who is perhaps best known for her rigid digit- and cartilage-encasing Berbère cuffs, cult favorites that remain among the line’s best-sellers and are regularly seen scaling up the ears and down the fingers of the front row during Fashion Week. “This collection really is more free-spirited,” says Repossi. “It’s almost a sculpture. It doesn’t have any of the constrictions that jewelry can sometimes have in terms of weight or rigidity—the cuffs are even soft, which is normally not recommended in jewelry, but we didn’t care because we wanted it to be very free, very light-feeling.”
Dover Street Market has carried the line for the past eight or so years, notably in its London and Ginza locations, but this pop-up marks both the first time that an entire Repossi collection will be displayed stateside and the first time that the label will set up an installation for DSMNY—a collaboration that the designer describes as being invited to “a playground, a very serious and beautiful and free playground.” It’s more than just a retail experience, Repossi adds. “I see DSM as a very conceptual magazine that edits for their customer, and their eye is like one of the best magazines, for me. So to be accepted for such a long time and now even being almost a true part of it, with a corner that we can take over, that we’re part of the editing of Rei Kawakubo, it’s something thrilling and very important for us.” We imagine her fans will feel quite the same way.
Gaia Repossi at Dover Street Market, 160 Lexington Ave., New York, NY
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