Jewellery guru Alan Crocetti talks childhood, shoe obsessions, and “The Little Prince”.
Launching like a rocket, Brazilian designer Alan Crocetti has been accelerating expeditiously into the intergalactic fashion-sphere. After dropping out of a womenswear degree at Central Saint Martins in his final year, the designer first appeared on the radar with aggressively macho-looking mouthpieces for Bobby Abley’s Autumn/Winter collection in 2014. A year later, British fashion godmother Lulu Kennedy plucked him for her Fashion East showcase. One particular silver nose clip, an ode to Band-Aids on broken noses, went viral, and was pictured on every handsome “it” specimen of the season.
There’s an aura of gravity to Crocetti’s clean-cut, sleek and measured work. It’s neither minimal nor gothic, retro nor traditional—instead, it could almost be identified as extra-terrestrial. Jewellery transcends notions of delicacy and resilience, orbiting the upper body. An ecliptic cuff grace the axis of the ear, biker flames and tribal tattoos translate into elegant gold pieces, and a mythical scorpion with a rosebud stinger is stamped on to rings and pendants (one can only imagine what this symbolizes).
What’s gripping about Crocetti’s designs is that they genuinely flatter and accentuate the natural lines of the human face and body—it’s no surprise that his new collection is named “EROTICA“—which is also why brands such as GmbH and Helmut Lang have scrambled to collaborate with him in the past year. While the fashion world preys on and hunts Crocetti, Glamcult is blessed with an interview full of life lessons from the man himself. Where’s the anti-venom when you need it?
Coat Ninamounah, earrings, bracelet and rings Alan Crocetti
What were you like as a child? What’s your fondest memory growing up in Belo Horizonte?
I was a pretty active boy; I loved creating and deconstructing things from a young age. My fondest memory was the freedom I had. My parents were strict with things that would eventually help me become a better human but creative-wise they would let me explore whatever I put my head into doing. Also, the support they gave me coming out is one of my fondest memories. When I was 16 my dad wasn’t ready to hear about boys and relationships but he never lacked respect for me. He used to take me to gay clubs and would pick me up once I was ready to go home because he was scared of what people could do to me out of homophobia. A year later he was even ready to comfort me on my first ever heartbreak. It was a big lesson about mutual respect. That’s priceless.
You once mentioned you’d be proud if your father wore your pieces—has he done so yet?
Yeah—finally! Turns out he was just waiting for gifts…
You went to CSM. What’s the most important thing you learned there? Who was your tutor and have you seen them since you left?
I feel like I was at my best when I confronted my tutors (respectfully) and did what I had in mind. You can’t teach someone to be creative but you can learn how to stand your ground with things that matter. I take my ideas very seriously. Howard Tangye is incredible though; he really opens your mind in terms of letting you go beyond your initial expectations. I miss his life drawing classes with beer (he probably doesn’t know about that part). We aren’t in touch, unfortunately… let’s say I wasn’t a popular student.
Trousers Acne Studios, earcuff and rings Alan Crocetti
Earring Alan Crocetti
Fashion’s fairy godmother, Lulu Kennedy, supported you in her Fashion East scheme. How did you first meet and do you think you’d have the same success without her magic?
I had a meeting with Natasha Booth from Fashion East to show what I had in mind; she liked it and guided me through it. Natasha is someone who should also be acknowledged in the programme. Fashion East is an incredible platform that helped me get exposure a lot quicker. However, the work is still hard. It isn’t just doing it and you’re sorted for life. I like to think I’d always get to where I am and where I want to be (because I’m not there yet) but Fashion East opened doors I wouldn’t have been able to in the beginning. I’m forever thankful.
If you hadn’t ended up designing jewellery, what would have been your plan B?
Probably footwear; I have an obsession with shoes. I would design them in every single project I had at CSM, and I was often told off for doing so. But how can you design a look without thinking of the shoes?! Jewellery, on the other hand… naked or dressed, it will do the work.
Aside from sharing a passion for pearls, what is it about Diana Vreeland that excites you? And in the jewellery world, whom do you admire?
Diana had an amazing approach to fashion. She taught me from a young age that as an aspiring designer you’re not supposed to give people what they want, you’re supposed to give them what they don’t know they want yet. ALANCROCETTI is truly based on that premise. My fellow Brazilian jewellery designer Fernando Jorge is incredibly talented; the sensitivity in his work is truly beautiful.
Trousers Acne Studios, rings Alan Crocetti
Suit Comme des Garçons, earrings Alan Crocetti
Of all your designs, what’s your favourite? Can you explain the thought process behind the idea?
Let’s say you can’t really choose a favourite child, though you know the ones that are doing better. My rose earring is already in its third update and has been with me for a while now. It’s based on my love for roses, the first book I loved as a kid—Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s”The Little Prince”—and my first memory of art and surrealism, Salvador Dalí’s “Rose Meditative”.
Do you believe Instagram has played a part in your success?
I’m a true believer in the power of Instagram; it’s a big part of my career. And it’s literally where you see not only the product but the ideas behind it and old mood boards. It just makes everything more exciting.
How did your collaboration with GmbH, our Berlin favourites, begin? What exactly makes this collab work so well?
Serhat [Isik] and I were friends before they started the brand, back when I was still discovering myself as a designer and he had plans with his new brand. Knowing him as a person and everything he and GmbH stand for hit home. So, when Serhat and Benjamin [Huseby] approached me to work on their jewellery it was really a no-brainer. I identify and I’m an admirer of their brand’s empowering cuts as well as the inclusive message it represents.
Shirt Comme des Garçons, bracelet Alan Crocetti
What’s your birthstone, and have you ever used it in your work?
Wow, I had to Google that because I didn’t even know it. Citrine and Topaz! Funnily enough, they’ve been used in almost all of my seasons… is that a sign?
Is there anyone, dead or alive, you’d love to work with?
Have you ever approached a stranger wearing your designs?
I used to host at a restaurant in Mayfair in the beginning of my career and sometimes I used to see artists who had borrowed my pieces via stylists for events wearing them. I wouldn’t say a word. I was happy enough my jewellery was doing the job without further introduction.
The upcoming issue of Glamcult zooms in on the idea of nurturing. What does the word “nurture” mean in your personal and professional life?
It’s the common base of a good life. Treat yourself, the ones around you and the place you live with respect. It’s a simple recipe of internal peace and, very important, survival.
Do you have a pearl of wisdom to share with us?
Learn how to spend your time and don’t take yourself too seriously.
Trousers Wooyoungmi, balaclava Ninamounah, rings Alan Crocetti
This interview and photoshoot originally appeared in Glamcult’s Winter’19 NURTURE issue.
Words: Lawrence Harrison
Photography: Ferry van der Nat—UNSPOKEN
Styling: Leendert Sonnevelt
Hair: Daan Kneppers—NCL Representation
Models: Said—Tomorrow Is Another Day, Matthieu Rousseau
Special thanks to VAHQ studio