Gaia Repossi Saks Fifth Avenue

LOS ANGELES — Gaia Repossi and her family’s Italian jewelry brand walk that fine line between striving for greater brand awareness and a concerted effort to retain niche status.

Repossi, who has served as creative director at the company since 2007, is in town to celebrate the brand’s launch at Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills.

“We’ve been in the U.S. for the past six years and the strategy’s expanding. Beverly Hills is great for diamonds,” Repossi said of the unveiling at Saks.

The brand is sold in 70 points of sale, including The Webster, The Apartment by The Line, Printemps, Le Bon Marché, Montaigne Market, Lane Crawford and Dover Street Market. That’s in addition to two flagship locations in Paris and Monaco. Opening additional flagships is in the works, but Repossi tempered those goals saying the growth would be organic in key cities where the brand already has awareness.

Flagships Stateside would appear to be part of the plan.

“There’s a big awareness here for the product and still in that niche very trendy way, which I love, in New York and L.A. and certain key cities,” the designer said. “I think the product is really appealing to certain tastes here in the States so, yes, eventually quite soon. There’s already some structuring happening.”

Part of that’s being driven by an investment two years ago by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, which took a minority stake in the business in a move the company said at the time was aimed at growth through greater branding and increased distribution.

“We share the same values for product, the same values for a certain elegance in how we develop a brand, and it was sort of [an] evident next step into the growth of the company,” Repossi said looking back at what’s been achieved since the deal with LVMH. “What’s very interesting to me is that we’re exploring a lot of new directions for the brand in terms of identity, in terms of positioning and now we’re in this critical stage where you want to build an awareness to a wider audience and with a group like that you can do it in a very smart way without compromising the identity of the brand, the beautiful craftsman[ship], the quality of the work. It’s entirely European.”

For Repossi’s part, as the company’s designer, how the collections evolve will play into where the overall brand goes as the company seeks out that larger audience. The designer said her goal today is about making modern product.

“That’s really my number-one priority to make product that’s really relevant nowadays because jewelry is in a place that is very questionable: Is it necessary today? Is it not? Is it part of the silhouette? We wear pants, we drive, we work, women are equal,” she said. “And so what is the jewelry for that woman, and at the same time express the beauty and a design that is surprising?”

More collaborations are in the works and the designer allowed that, while the company has historically worked with bloggers and other influencers in a strategic way, it’s looking to go deeper with those relationships.”

“We’re a brand that’s very niche in the sense that we don’t embrace the mass of Instagram and social media so maybe that’s also another step that we’re working on,” Repossi said. “I think now there’s a new direction also for brands that are very conceptual or very straight point of view, like Céline, and I think now there’s a space also for these brands, which is new. L.A. is very social media-centered so I’d be interested to explore. It’s very interesting because [social media’s] a powerful communication and I feel there’s a moment now where…it’s going to go in a direction [where there] is also room for conceptual [brands] so I’m very interested in that.”

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