A few years ago, at the Couture Las Vegas show, I saw many creations that had been inspired by such unusual flights of fancy, a bold fusion of styles and an eclectic use of materials from the most precious to the most uncommon and rarely seen together: different metals and precious stones, wood, coral, marble, steel, and more. This whole blend of colours, materials, techniques, styles and moods could easily become an uncontrollable cacophony if there weren’t a “but”, namely: each creation is imbued with absolute harmony! Unfortunately, I’d not had the chance to meet the designer in person at this point – I’d only ever read the name “Federica Rettore”.
Fortunately, Federica is a loyal participant of the Couture Las Vegas exhibition, and this year I had the opportunity not only to meet the Italian designer in person, but also to encounter her new creations. Over the past 23 years, Federica has produced a multitude of designs for rings, earrings, bracelets, necklace chains and pendants.
“I love to mix various gems together, because they create this intriguing contrast. Faceted stones are more ‘bling’ and unpolished ones are subtler in their shine. In my work I prefer to display the nature of the stones and highlight their unique properties as this is what attracts me the most to them. Even if I repeat a piece, it will never look exactly the same as the previous version because nature does not repeat itself,” explains Federica during our meeting.
Refined taste and unrivalled execution could guarantee the currency of Federica Rettore’s jewellery for many years to come. As a designer, she considers each piece of jewellery to be a small sculpture that can be worn and need never be taken off. She has, nonetheless, managed to put together two new collections every year in the past.
Incidentally, it was this approach that allowed Federica to win an award for best design at the Couture Las Vegas show in 2011. In 2015, she was the first runner-up in the category for ‘Jewellery made with precious stones under £20,000’ for her signature bracelet. “I have this bracelet in many variations with single, double and triple rows. They exist in horn, labradorite, rosewood or maple wood, milky aquamarine, rhodonite and many other gem interpretations. I cut stones in Germany specially for my jewellery as I use many custom-cut shapes,” says the designer as I pick up a wide weighty milky aquamarine bracelet.
So, what has Federica specially prepared for us this year? In the design of her 2018 collection, she has paid close attention to the composition of her stones, balanced in both their shape and their colour: black opals paired with aquamarines and emeralds that are reminiscent of the sea’s variety of colours, violet amethysts matched with diamonds and aquamarines, together recalling the colour contrasts of a sunset.
As you can see, Federica boldly borrows her ideas from nature, repeatedly mixing and juxtaposing various materials and colours. If you delve into the ideas behind her jewellery’s creation, you’ll find a layer of ideas and convictions: by putting different stones together, Federica is consistently driven by Eastern philosophy and the ideas of harmonising energy.
“I do not always come across natural stones to implement my ideas, so in the new collection I wanted to find a way to maintain my DNA but create something that can also be industrially produced. I figured out a way and introduced pieces inspired by nature with laser-cut 18 karat gold and a design that was inspired by coral. If you slice coral and you magnify it, this is exactly what you will see,” Federica tells me as she describes her new collection.
This new approach to “embroidering” gold has reinforced a series of her personal characteristics, distinguishing the work of Federica Rettore from everything else. This gold ‘lace’ also offers the opportunity to create large and bold shapes that are lightweight.
By preserving her unique designer style, Federica has created a new collection with elegant taste, mixing both traditional and innovative methods. And it is exactly this intriguing combination that provided success of her latest collection among the Couture Show visitors.