There are a few words that come to my mind when I think of the Jewellery brand Aliita from Milan, founded in 2015 by Cynthia Vilchez Castiglioni.
Simplicity, humour, names like sandwich ring and swimmer and a clear geometric design aesthetic. Maybe all these aspects are rounded up by the translation of ALIITA which means important objectin the Wayuu language by the indigan Guajiro people.
We had a chat with Cynthia and are taken and inspired by the spirit of her design language
IRMA: One of my favourite is the Sandwich Ring, but what really caught my eye is the little swimmer in the bathing suit and the bath cap (reminds me of Esther Williams).. what is the story behind that?
CYNTHIA VILCHEZ CASTIGLIONI: I come from the Caribbean and the beach mood is very much reflected into Aliita’s pieces. Al agua collection which includes swimmers and sandwich deco came from a mix between research on swimming pools in Paris in the 30’s, Maria Svarbova exhibition and Clifford Coffin book.
IRMA: If you would design and create an heirloom ring, that should be passed on from generation to generation – how would your creative process be to find the design?
CYNTHIA VILCHEZ CASTIGLIONI: All the process will start from the type of stone and it’s cut, and then all the lines, shapes and proportions will come naturally.
IRMA: Jewellery is a fun accessory, and your creations have a sense of humour in a way – which other attributes describe the essence of your collection.
CYNTHIA VILCHEZ CASTIGLIONI: I think Aliita is hybrid about elegance, quirky essentials and irony. I love jewellery but I think it should never get too serious.
IRMA: What skill when it comes to making jewellery was the hardest for you to learn?
CYNTHIA VILCHEZ CASTIGLIONI: I feel the hardest part was learning all the persons and roles in the process. Who does only settings and who does only cameo flowers outside Naples all his life. It’s beautiful but at the beginning I couldn’t get the preciousness on going deep into 1 thing.
IRMA: Where in the world does creativity comes easy to you?
CYNTHIA VILCHEZ CASTIGLIONI: Definitely in the beach with the sun. But actually, not only. I can feel it when reading a book at night with my children or during a flight. Traveling is always a good source, understanding more other cultures enriches mind and soul.
IRMA: How much does fashion effect your jewellery design?
CYNTHIA VILCHEZ CASTIGLIONI: I really like fashion and I try to be updated of what is going on but not even too much. I feel our collection needs to go towards other directions (not necessarily what trends suggest) to go on new paths otherwise we will all stay swimming in the same ocean.
IRMA: How did it happen that geometric forms became very strong in your design?
CYNTHIA VILCHEZ CASTIGLIONI: Yes, actually after the first pieces I understood I am totally geometric. I think Aliita’s s charms are the trace and each client colour them with their personality and identity.
IRMA: Aliita means important object in the language of the Venezuelan Guajiro people, what makes it personally important and interesting in your life to be a jewellery designer?
CYNTHIA VILCHEZ CASTIGLIONI: I feel very grateful to be able to do what I love. Running Aliita brings me passion, joy, adrenaline, happiness and gratitude.
IRMA: Are you inspired by art, if so which artist do you look at?
CYNTHIA VILCHEZ CASTIGLIONI: Yes, I do. I can get inspired by architecture studios as Studio Pepe, artist as Valerio Berrutti and young photographers as Florencia Alvarado.
IRMA: Your favourite place in Milan?
CYNTHIA VILCHEZ CASTIGLIONI: Cafezalfor a coffee and Dryfor an aperitif (2 of my favourite moments of the day).