Smitha Sadanandan: What inspired the latest Summer Snow collection?
Alice Cicolini : I had a commission last summer to create a tiara for an inspiring woman, who was looking for something feminine but strong to wear with her Vivienne Westwood gown. She wanted to work with carved stone and we settled on the idea of using the discs that I already had in my collection. I imagined the carved flowers falling around her face and looked again at kimono patterns, where the perfect circles of chrysanthemum fell across the geometric background of bamboo.
S.S.: The floral discs seem to evoke an Art Nouveau style. Was this the starting point for this design?
A.C.: I wanted to create a collection where the metalwork would show through the carvings and add to their impact, and began to look at Art Nouveau. My starting point was really the idea of these blossoms cascading all the way down the body, so the brooch was where I began.
S.S.: Why did you choose to work with craftsmen in Jaipur, India,for the hand-carving?
A.C.: I have been working with the same craftsmen in Jaipur for over six years, Kamal Kumar Meenakar on the enamelling side and Babluji on carving. Their families have collaborated for generations and Babluji makes all the ebony forms that have been a central part of my collections since I left Central St. Martins. The move into stone was really about a monochrome story – I had been working with black for so long and wanted white, which is when the cloudy rose quartz came on the scene. Babluji had never worked in stone before and what I particularly love is that he has such freedom in the shape and line of the forms he makes. I suppose this comes from not being too inhibited by formal training.
S.S.: What inspired the geometric disc shapes for the Summer Snow?
A.C.: The disc shapes were inspired by sections of South Indian temple pillars. I started to see an alternative role for shapes that I had used before. I wantedto be able to remind people about the value of the handmade, the master-crafted, in a world where so much is now made by machines. India has a living crafts tradition, and craftsmen working at extremely high levels of skill and I wanted to tell that story. Part of being able to do that is taking the time to be in the craftsmen’s world, and in the early days I lived in India, I spent many months sitting with Kamalji.Now, we have an understanding about each other’s work.
S.S.: You have chosen pastel shades instead of the usual brighter ones. Why?
A.C.: I wanted to create a collection that was “sophisticated pretty.” So much of my work is bold colours and forms; I felt it was time for an element within the collection to be softer. The pastels were right for that concept.
S.S.: Why did you choose rock crystals? Did you consider other gems for the design?
A.C.: The collection has green and purple amethyst, rose quartz, cloudy rose quartz and rock crystal. There is a practical as well as whimsical element to design. I try to work with the materials that are available to my makers.
S.S.: Which is your favourite piece?And what has been the most popular one withyour clients?
A.C.: I love the brooches. The ring is a striking – simple form but with these luscious touches of rose-cut diamonds on the surface. The hair jewels, earrings and bracelet are stunning statement pieces and they’ve definitely caught the imagination of my clients.
S.S.: Are you planning to expand the Summer Snowline next season?
A.C.: Absolutely. We have new layering necklaces, individual studs, cuffs and opera length pendants coming into the collection launched at The Couture Show in Las Vegas. In addition, new colourways will also be coming forward in London blue topaz, labradorite, moonstone, moss agate, black jade and rutilated quartz, highlighted with vibrant sapphires and tourmalines.
Add a pop of colour to your summer look with these lovely jewels by Alice Cicolini. Bracelets, hoop earrings, rings, brooch pins and hair jewels – our summer couldn’t have been more bejewelled.