Repossi: Where Classic Meets Contemporary
October 03, 2014
Artistic Director Gaia Repossi
The House of Repossi is famous for its exquisite jewelry, incorporating exceptional stones into pieces that blend contemporary designs with classic elements. The family-run business, which is nearing its 90th anniversary, is more successful today than ever before, thanks to the skills and talents of the company’s owner, Alberto Repossi, and his 26-year-old daughter, Gaia Repossi, Artistic Director, who has breathed new life into the jewelry house. Today’s Outlook sat down with Alberto Repossi to discuss the company’s evolution and its ever-growing success.
In 1974, Alberto Repossi took the helm of the eponymous jewelry house originally founded by his grandfather. Repossi dreamed of becoming a painter but his father didn’t support his aspirations, and after a brief stint at a mathematics school, he decided to join the family business. “I started working in the factory when I was 17. I was happy with my work because for me, it was similar to sculpting,” said Repossi. “I have been involved in the business ever since.” Under his watch, the business continued to flourish with the opening of the Monte Carlo boutique in 1977, followed by the Paris store in Place Vendôme nine years later. “In 1994 we became the official supplier to the Monaco royal family and this gave us a lot of worldwide recognition,” he explained. Today, the House of Repossi works with royalty in many countries and its creative jewelry designs are also enjoyed by celebrities, socialites and jewelry connoisseurs around the world.
Now a fourth generation family-run business with rich heritage and craftsmanship, the House of Repossi has become synonymous with elegance and style and is famed for its ornate, diamond-studded creations. Today, much of the work is still done in the same workshops that were used in the 1920’s and in 2010, Repossi created exclusive commissions of fine jewelry preserving the storied skill of ancient metalsmiths. Each is executed by talented craftsmen using precious gems selected for their rarity and beauty.
The only daughter of Alberto Repossi, Gaia, is now at the forefront of operations as Artistic Director, a role she took on at the tender age of 20. Gaia introduced innovative ideas related to everything from design to marketing while staying true to the family legacy, which is rich in tradition and bold design. “I never asked her to come and work at the company,” said Repossi. “I simply took her with me on my travels, and while she showed me the monuments, I showed her some rare stones. One day she came to me with a complaint, saying that our advertising is bad and our website is terrible. I told her to do something about it, and she did!”
While the company already had an established client base, Gaia set out to broaden its market share by appealing to the tastes of younger fashion-conscious clientele and breathed new life into the generations-old jewelry house. With a background in Fine Arts, having majored in Archaeology and Anthropology, Gaia draws her inspiration from ethnic silhouettes and tribal adornment coupled with contemporary art, and has managed to transition the company into a modern jewelry house. Gaia's takeover saw the brand collaborating with some of the biggest names in fashion; in 2010, she debuted her Burned Gold collection with Alexander Wang for his Fall/Winter 2011 fashion show and also worked with Joseph Altuzarra for his Fall/Winter 2011 show. Her creations have become all the rage with everyone from socialites to celebrities wearing her designs. “We have had an unbelievable response to Gaia’s work, Karl Lagerfeld often wears a pendant designed by my daughter. He says she’s a genius!” said Repossi. Her latest High Jewelry Collection earned her the Best Jewelry Designer of the Year at the Elle UK Style Awards 2013. “Gaia has already created a number of collections but this time she focused on high jewelry,” explained Repossi. “I’m very happy; she has done very well, especially considering she is so young, but she’s tough and a very hard worker.”
Repossi views the Middle East clientele as one of the most knowledgeable and fashion-savvy around the world. “We have many clients in the Middle East and I daresay some of them understand jewelry better than me because they are collectors,” said Repossi. “I know a few ladies who could tell the quality of a piece from afar and when I asked how they were able to do so they stated that it was their hobby – like I said, sometimes they know better than me!” In order to cater to such clientele, Repossi strives to continually push the bar and create rare and extraordinary pieces. “It’s not a question of value when creating for the Middle East market, but rather creating new and unique pieces and incorporating unusual and old stones,” he explained. “While others are creating small dainty things we design big pieces with unusual stones, and there is a lot of demand now in the market for that.” Today, the Middle East represents the largest market for Repossi jewelry. “We have clients in Monaco, Russia, Ukraine and London but the biggest volume for us at the moment is the Middle East, particularly Lebanon, which is our top market in the region,” explained Repossi.
With three stores around the world, in Paris, Monte Carlo and Milan, Repossi has big plans for the future with a goal to open a new store in London by the end of the year, followed by one in the United States. Looking forward, he hopes to maintain the company’s exceptional quality and unique designs and fully embrace the outlook of the new generation of the family that is taking charge. “We have big plans; the new generation is taking on more responsibility,” said Repossi. “We are planning to open a second factory and as we have always done, we will maintain only the best craftsmen in Italy.”