FABBERZ INTERVIEW WITH JEWELRY DESIGNER CRISTINA GABRIELE
NEW YORK, 8.25.14
BB: Where did you grow up?
CG: I was raised in South London, we moved progressively further South as the years went on, I love the UK.
BB: Where and what did you study at University?
CG: I completed my undergraduate degree in Boston actually, with a major in Psychology and a minor in Business.
BB: What did your parents do for a living?
CG: My father was a truly miraculous man, he was an investment banker, amongst other things. My mother has always been and remains a renaissance woman. She taught music, was a food critic & writer, she had a career as a model, I’m very lucky, I have remarkable parents; and an astoundingly brilliant brother too.
BB: What was the first thing that inspired you creatively?
CG: Music most certainly; music was very much part of my childhood, some of my fondest memories have specific melodies and lyrics attached to them, I visit them often in my daydreams.
BB: Why did the cable tie capture your imagination?
CG: What a fascinating object, it’s incredibly intricate and facetted yet it moves / functions so seamlessly. It has a thousand applications, its very suggestive, you find it scattered everywhere (even in the most obscure places). I find its permanence spellbinding; there is an end to it, it cannot be undone. It’s so very detailed, there is this feeling of perfect fit when you play with it; such synergy to be discovered with its interlocking abilities; it is both masculine and feminine. It’s interactive, you get to DO something with it, anything. It provides you with the ability to stage a mini secret 20 second performance (just for yourself) with the pulling action of “zzziiippp...” there is something deeply captivating and addictive about its sound. You’re plugged in. It seems a remarkably harmonious, balanced, almost zen-like object, yet there are these undertones... its aggressive yet graceful, mysterious, provocative, sexless. It’s practical, yet none of it’s functionality takes away from its beauty. For me, it’s an obsession, I’m hooked, there’s no turning back.
BB: What contemporary artist/designer do you admire?
CG: Ying Gao, she’s an astoundingly talented designer from Montreal. Her “Walking City,” dresses were the first to capture me: she conceptually achieved out of garments that which I look to achieve in the future with jewellery. She constructed these meticulously perfect origami / accordion like dresses that literally breathe. The garments are wired with pneumatic pumps that respond to approaching spectators; I liken the experience to advancing towards a sea urchin and watching him swiftly tuck away his spines in response. I’m fascinated by the notion of interacting with design objects as living beings and giving them a life of their own.
BB: How would you describe your style?
CG: I don’t know that I can describe it, only because I am not an observer of my style, rather I’m the one choosing and experiencing it. True style is an expression, an innovation, a constant exploration of self, of identity, but it does not mimic. I believe people with true style dress first and foremost for themselves, its an emotional experience, an emotional response to the self each day; it allows you to connect with yourself artistically and creatively if you so choose.
BB: New York and London design scenes are . . .
CG: . . . remarkably different, London is wilder while New York is more tempered and streamlined, its less eccentric, however very elegant. For me New York is more Parisian in its aesthetic, its sleeker, London is batty, unconventional, outlandish. I feel very fortunate to be able to combine the two: being raised in London while hustling in New York?
I get to be a sleek freak!
BB: Why did you make the move to acrylic laser cut jewelry? What’s in store for new work?
CG: I always knew I would play with other materials and different technologies, there was never a doubt in my mind. I was provided an incredible opportunity this past February to present in New York Fashion Week for AW14 and I decided to leap into the world of acrylic. Conceptually I likened laser cutting technique to Miyake’s “one piece cloth,” the notion of working with one sheet of any material, I find fascinating and energizing. Not only does technology allow you to democratize design with experimental materials, it allows you to become more efficient, resourceful and prudent; also it never provides a ceiling to your imagination. While CROMA is my joy and focus at the moment, I am bustling with ideas, there is much to come.
BB: Who is the woman that wears your jewelry?
CG: Wonderfully, both men and women wear my jewellery; the loveliest part of all is that the designs are becoming increasingly unisex: men are buying “womenswear,” women are buying “menswear,” its brilliant. While I have historically created more male centric or female centric pieces, the designs have always intended to be flexible. My client tends to be inquisitive, detail oriented, intelligent, curious, expressive, confident, empowered, refined and playful; however these remarkable individuals take a thousand forms. CROMA is selling across the board and I couldn’t be happier.
ON ENTREPRENEURIAL BUSINESS
BB: From bespoke to mass manufacturing, where does success lie for you between the two?CG: It depends entirely on what sort of company you are looking to create and run. Ideally I’m looking to apply bespoke ideals to the mass market, I believe technology might be the key to this.
BB: As digital fabrication grows, how do you see it affecting labs like FABberz?
CG: Fashion and Technology are slowly but certainly courting one another, we are continuing to witness the surge of “Wearables,” and of course this will eventually provide enormous opportunities for labs like FABberz and for the designers that choose to engage with digital fabrication. Eventually, I imagine independent designers and fabricators will merge, allowing for local and in house production. Just as we use pattern makers and seamstresses for garment construction, eventually labs like FABberz will be called upon more consistently for digital construction and additive / subtractive manufacturing processes. There is much to look forward to!
BB: How do you see manufacturing partners like FABberz evolving in the future, to serve entrepreneurial designers such as yourself?
CG: I touched on this briefly above, essentially we are imagining the atelier of the future! I’m certain that within the next few decades, these sort of relationships will be abundantly prevalent. Its a very natural, logical and desirable shift: you need the wild imagination of the artist to push boundaries and the technical expertise of the engineer to articulate these concepts and bring them to life. Everything will be more “design” centric.
BB: Tell us the story of how you came to work with FABberz.
CG: Josiah and I met in London just before I launched Heart & Noble in the Fall of 2012; I was drawn to him immediately. Our first real tete a tete was at the top of Dover Street Market; they have a tiny pocket cafe there which had very much become a staple in my existence. Jo was fond of DSM too; it seemed the perfect location for our first meeting: two young creatives coming together, both passionate, eager and looking to dig their teeth into their respective markets. I had referred to the eatery, descriptively, as the “little baby cafe.” Swooping around the corner, I hear the brilliant Jo asking the maitre d’ “Pardon me, is this the little baby cafe?” Fairly bewildered, the kind gentleman ushered Jo into the bistro to find me tucked into one of their miniature corners with an enormous smile breaking across my face; from that moment I knew we were going to become fast friends and would share many a creative endeavor together.
BB: Tell us how being part of Manufacture NY has helped your business?
CG: Being surrounded by bright, motivated, ambitious yet grounded individuals on a daily basis is a huge rarity and an enormous pleasure. Manufacture New York provides support for burgeoning designers by providing a platform; each designer has the flexibility to slot into and out of the infrastructure depending on their business needs, this provides tremendous opportunity.
BB: Where do you see your work in 5 years?
CG: In 5 years Heart & Noble will be known for counteracting the effects of gravity through our “magnetic levitation jewellery.” Ideally, these pieces will double as miniature hovercrafts allowing our clients to arrive to work efficiently and in style; very Jane & George Jetson.
TO CONTACT CRISTINA