If "crochet" still conjures up images of your grandmother's doiley collection, it's time you met Canadian jewelry designer, Arielle de Pinto. A self-taught knitting expert, De Pinto combines classic weaving techniques with clusters of knotted chain to create a look at once soft and edgy.
"The work is consistently imperfect, adaptable -- really it's meant to work for its wearer," she explains. "I'm always playing, I'm never really trying to make it too serious. You don't have to be serious to have elegance."
De Pinto claims jewelry-making was never part of her career plan, but something she fell into organically. "I was doing printmaking and working with fabric, knitting, weaving, that kind of thing. but when I would look for materials to work with the only thing I liked was chain. And it was such a pain to work with, but I forced it into a structure." Her pieces, which include everything from necklaces and bracelets to woven chain mail body suits, give the impression of something tangled up in the bottom of your handbag, impossible to un-knot but somehow stylish inspite of itself.
Though the pieces themselves look somewhat haphazard, the materials are produced exclusively for De Pinto's collection by high-end Italian manufacturers. "We have such specific needs that there are materials that are fine-honed just for us," she explains. The expansive color palette of the chains -- which ranges from azul to ulltraviolet and "iridescent spectrum" -- was developed in conjunction with an MIT nuclear physicist. "The process involves plasma beams and actually resurfaces the metals, palladium and stainless steel."
The juxtaposition of old and new techniques is what gives De Pinto's collection its particular appeal -- and soon, men will be able to enjoy a few of her love knots. At Paris Men's Fashion Week this month, the artist will unveil her first-ever capsule collection of men's pieces.