Whether it is a piece of jewelry, my home, or wardrobe, I have always favored the juxtaposition of the avant-garde and classic over mainstream trend. There is something very alluring about moving forward with a nod to the past while honing one’s own style. Since its inception four years ago, Designs by Alina has embraced that philosophy as well as the ideas that beauty and inspiration should forever be entwined and that quality should never be compromised for the sake of design. Today I am thrilled to take those notions even further with the introduction of our 18K Gallery Collection.
It has been very rewarding to collaborate over the years with nonprofits from coast to coast. Our most recent partnership with The Carolyn Glasoe Bailey Foundation, "Influential Women in Art and Design" is unique in that this new collection is inspired by art and designed precisely to benefit the very community that galvanized it. We are grateful to the foundation's Executive Director, Frederick Janka, for the months of preparation leading up to the launch and honored to support those who help immortalize a moment in time, a moment in culture, through their commitment to create.
When I set out to design this first conceptual collection in the series, I had six goals in mind:
- Use high karat gold which is unparalleled for its richness in color and texture.
- Juxtapose modern art with the look of ancient gold.
- Fabricate a cohesive collection that is in equal measure meaningful and stunning.
- Each heirloom quality piece to be fabricated by hand in my beloved state.
- Donate a percentage of proceeds at each launch and private event to organizations that support the arts.
- Collaborate with galleries and museums to propel their work.
About the first collection in this artist inspired series…
When Frederick turned my attention to Xaviera Simmons, recently named by Elle Magazine as “one of the most powerful women in art today,” known for her multimedia exhibits at MoMA, The Guggenheim and MCA Chicago among many museums, I was captivated. The moment I saw the piece below: Untitled (Green), I knew I had found my inspiration.
I knew very little about the artist when I designed Uncovered (above) but as the days and weeks progressed my obsession to understand the mind behind the work sent me on a quest to unearth everything I could on Simmons. The internet became my best friend offering a plethora of insightful podcasts, videos, interviews, and of course, images of her work, each new revelation fueling my own creativity.
When we met, I was delighted to learn that she is a kindred spirit of sorts with whom I share many interests and views. While we have both been infused with an insatiable need to create (Xaviera describes herself as “restless” when it comes to filling that need) I also discovered that her desire to carve out meaning as it relates to culture, spirit, and landscape, is suspended somewhere between past, present and future, a theme that runs deep in her ever evolving work. That fusion of nostalgia with the unexpected has been a topic of interest to me since childhood, especially as our family was uprooted so often. This is just one of the many ways I feel connected to Simmons’ work.
The rest of the collection was inspired, not only by her works, but by the conversations that followed. Our Cocoon necklace, for example, incorporates elements from Around the Y, (2010) as well as conversations Xaviera and I shared about the preservation of culture and being home.
While the necklace below Canyon, draws inspiration from Simmons’ love of landscape, our Migration earrings, spawn from conversations revolving around the theme of migration and Simmons’ work Superunknown (Alive In The) (2010).
Discover the full collection here: 18K Gallery Collection
With deep appreciation to Xaviera Simmons for the inspiration and wonderful conversations, to Frederick Janka for his friendship, support and laughter, and to the Carolyn Glasoe Bailey Foundation for giving artists a wonderful platform from which to evolve.