I met Alina Alamorean briefly at an opening of her jewelry pieces at the IBU Gallery last year. She was stunning and striking, and there was something unforgettable about her. One of my tour client's/blog readers/new friend contacted Alina about buying a ring from her during her trip here last month and we all met for dinner and for a presentation of her jewelry. Alina is truly one of a kind and this provocative, passionate, and unpredictable interview is one of my all time favorites. Enjoy!
Where were you born and where did you grow up?
So many answers possible !! I was born in Transylvania. Better : I'm born on earth. Isn't it enough in the end ?? I don't know if geographical roots are important. I think it's more important when you give birth to yourself and free yourself from roots. I grew up with my parents art and architecture books and pencils of my father. My father was always drawing. I grew up also seeing my mother and aunt sewing and my grandmother painting. I grew up playing with ball dresses and high heels of my aunt during my holidays. She was so beautiful, so passionate. She had such a laughter which came deep from her heart. She always baked big cakes with a lot of Chantilly. I felt so free and happy in her house. There's were I grew up.
When did you move to Paris and why?
I always wanted to live in Paris because of his history and art and fashion scene. If you have dreams and believe in life, things come true one day. And Paris came to me when I started the famous jewelry school BJO-FORMATION on the rue du Louvre for a few months in 2004. I understood very late that I have to do what I love and feel. Till the end of my life.
When did you start designing jewelry?
When I was little I was always drawing girls and dresses. Or houses. Like my father who was an architect. And I started MAKING my clothes and jewelry when I was 16. When I had an idea I just realized it very quickly. I just DID it. The first time I had to design jewelry was in 2005 for the HRD INTERNATIONAL DIAMONDS AWARDS organized every two years by the Antwerp World Diamond Council in Belgium. I didn't touch a pencil during 20 years and I was very anxious because I never learned how to design jewelry. And I was very happy when two of my designs were chosen among many others in the world (the 5m long steel scarf with diamonds and silver fox fur and the mysterious veil). And the AWDC organized a very big show with all the finished jewelry pieces and the "MYSTERIOUS VEIL" (1.10m head-jewel) closed the show. And I cried a lot. And Marc LAUER, my teacher who helped me to make my dream come true, was here. And two years later my new design was chosen again by the jury. And the "INVINCIBLE CAPE" (1.70m iron-wire and 983.57ct rough diamonds) even won the first prize and it's now exposed permanently in the DIAMOND MUSEUM in Antwerp! And then there was the TAHITIAN PEARL TROPHY too...They were great moments of 2007...
I thought a lot about it after that. I just did one day what I always had inside of me. Children have already all inside when they are born...
Please tell us how you create your pieces, the style, the materials, and what inspires and influences your work.
How do I create and work? I don't work. I'm very lazy. I dream a lot. And I play a lot. Creating or playing is the same thing for me. I just want to have fun. Usually I have a wish. Or "nothing to wear". Or the ideas come to me. And then it's like you have hunger and you have to eat right in the moment. So I have to realize the collar or the dress or the model of the ring in the next moment I had the idea! Sometimes I draw the idea somewhere. For not to forget it. But that's the best way to forget it. And probably I'll never do it !
- The style? I don't think about it. My problem is, when I have something in my hands, is to do the best with it !! If I feel aesthetically and emotionally satisfied, it's ok ! If I'm happy and start jumping and dancing all around it means "I've got it, I'm great and I'm the best" ! But 5 minutes later it can feel exactly the opposite and think I'm zero !! And so on..Laurence KARSENTI, the girl who felt in love with my stainless steel scarfs, said that my universe is sensual, glamor, underground and fairy tale ! That my rings are sculptures. I don't know. I think my style is the expression of my soul and sexuality. Nothing more.
- Materials ? All kind of materials! Depends on what I'm doing ! I can use aluminum honeycomb and steel, leather and found objects, Plexiglas, stones and iron-wire as well as silver, gold and platinum and of course all kind of stones: precious and fine ones. Or stones from your garden or the beach. But they have all unusual forms and cuts. Standard cut stones don't speak to me. I only love stones who tell me histories and make me dream. They must have a garden inside. Their inner live. And I respect rough stones. And I never coat my jewelry. It's like a woman with powder on the visage! It's like a lie. But I love mascara..whatever..
- What inspires and influences my work ? I think love and beauty first of all inspires me. They make me dream. But also anger and pain. Everything that comes to my eye and soul. But nothing influences my work. I try to be honest to myself, to the others and to the materials I hold in my hands. But there are things I don't understand. I'm just doing them. It's like a therapy. When I caress the smooth polished outline of my rings, my fingers don't stop. I feel pleasure and that calms me. It's like when you touch the beautiful lines of the body you love : you smile while doing it and you feel peace inside...you just escape into a dream..What I'm looking for in my work are continuous sensual shapes and volume in the rough : pure architecture and free circulating air...through extrapolation the resulting emptiness.This is real luxury for me : to be able to let yourself breath.
Where can people buy your jewelry in Paris?
I'm very honored that some of my jewelry pieces are exposed near to IBU's masterpieces in the beautiful IBU gallery in the Jardins du Palais Royal in Paris. It's a place full of harmony and peace. Cyril ERMEL, the passionate director of the gallery, who works and chooses the artists in the spirit of IBU, started to expose my pieces 2 years ago. Twice a year he flies with jewelry to New York, at Yuta Powell's boutique, on Madison Avenue. He encourages me to develop the soft and sensible part of me in my work. There are also some of my pieces in the LEI boutique, on rue des Petits Champs, in Paris. Karim, the owner of the shop, exposes a very fine selection of sophisticated ready-to-wear clothes. And together with Laurence KARSENTI we're working to develop my business and find other places to expose.
Please tell us about your customers.
My customers come from all over the world but they have all something in common : they have a strong personality and are free hetero- or homosexuality and they aren't afraid of life. They choose their jewelry to wear like a part of themselves. They don't wear objects, but ideas. And once they've found their ring or necklace, they won't quit it. It's like a fetishist kind of love. I could say after a few years of experience : "tell me what kind of jewelry you wear and I'll tell you who you are". You learn a lot about people as a jewelry maker. It's very funny, because I always create jewelry first for me. Most of all one-of-a-kind pieces. It amuses me to wear my latest idea and to see the surprise in the eye of people. I also know that people fall in love in my jewelry pieces when wearing them. Laurence KARSENTI said that my rings are more beautiful when they are worn than in photos. She's right !!! I feel the same. If people like my work - I'm happy, if they don't - I don't care ! I'm happy every day to do what I want and feel. That's happiness and freedom. But it's always very funny for me to hear when people say they don't like some of my rings. I feel their inner fears resurface.I understand the life they're living and their way of thinking. How far they're able to explore their lives or not... And it's funny too when they feel like me from the beginning and wear their rings or necklaces all day long - it's like a transmission. They go away happy - and I'm happy too !!! Incredible, no ???
If you could design jewelry for one person in the world, living or dead, who would it be and what would you make for them?
For a dead person,Edith Piaf and living, Zaha Hadid.
Edith Piaf was a very simple woman; always dressed in black and she would have never sung without her cross around the neck. It was a symbol for her. She never gave importance to her appearance - everything was inside her. All her beauty was hidden in her eyes and voice. She only sang in the last years of her life if when she felt an emotion to bring her to life. Again and again. When I think of her, I think of her eyes and her love for Marcel Cerdan. I know she would have never worn my jewel, only if it came from him. I think also of her hands together in a prayer to the sky. I imagine an endless necklace made of teardrops wrapped... around her fingers..and by each teardrop fallen on the floor a song rises to the sky.
For Zaha Hadid it would be an enormous ring, like my big water lily one. (see photo) or may be a new one inspired from her last project.
Will you have your own shop any time soon?
I'm dreaming about it for 40 years !! Let's wait and see !! Hope is another mysterious jewel...
What do you prefer about Paris?
What do I prefer about Paris? My lovers steps on the way to my home. His smell in the air..the love I feel.
Aline's jewelry is available at
IBU Gallery, 166 Galerie Valois-Palais Royal, www.ibugallery.fr, Tel. 01 42 60 06 41
You may also visit her site www.alina-alamorean.com
For special enquiries you can contact her at 00 33 6 82 88 40 36 or email email@example.comEye Prefer Paris Contest
If you have the competitive spirit or just love Eye Prefer Paris and want to spread the word, this month's contest is to see who can subscribe the most new readers. In order to do this, you must got to my homepage, www.eyepreferparis.com, and on the right hand side is a "subscribe" button. Above it , you need to put in the emails of the people you are subscribing, and you will then get a message that reads " Please check your inbox for a verification message from “FeedBurner Email Subscriptions”, the service that delivers email subscriptions for Eye Prefer Paris. You will need to click a link listed in this message to activate your subscription.", which they will receive too. Now for the important part: Make sure you tell whoever you are subscribing, they must click on to that link to verify the subscription and to also check for it in their SPAM filter.
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with a list of the emails you subscribed so I can check to see how many of them verified the subscriptions. Whoever has the most verified subscribers will win this glorious prize: A copy of the new, smart and funny book, 24 Hours Paris which gives readers the best of Paris, beyond the Eiffel Tower. Arranged hour by hour, from 5 am to midnight and back again, the guide showcases Paris’ amazing variety of activities. The user-friendly format lets readers see the top tips for what's happening city-wide at any moment in time. I am pleased as punch that my Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes are mentioned in the book.Click here to order 24 Hours Paris.
I will announce the winner next Monday, so good luck and I look forward to happily seeing tons of new subscribers to Eye Prefer Paris.
New! Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes
I am happy to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes. Come take an ethnic culinary journey with me and chef and caterer Charlotte Puckette, co-author of the bestseller The Ethnic Paris Cookbook (with Olivia Kiang-Snaije). First we will shop at a Paris green-market for the freshest ingredients and then return to Charlotte’s professional kitchen near the Eiffel Tower to cook a three-course lunch. After, we will indulge in the delicious feast we prepared along with hand-selected wines.
Cost: 185 euros per person (about $240)
Time: 9:30AM- 2PM (approximately 4 1/2 hours)
Location: We will meet by a metro station close to the market
Class days: Tuesday,Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday
Minimum of 2 students, maximum 6 students.
Click here to sign up for the next class or for more info.
I am pleased as punch to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Tours, which are 3-hour walking tours I will personally be leading. The Eye Prefer Paris Tour includes many of the places I have written about such as small museums & galleries, restaurants, cafes & food markets, secret addresses, fashion & home boutiques, parks, and much more.
Tours cost 195 euros for up to 3 people, and 65 euros for each additional person. I look forward to meeting you on my tours and it will be my pleasure and delight to show you my insiders Paris.
Check it out at www.eyepreferparistours.com