‘Sometimes my boyfriend will say ‘you look like a rapper’ - that’s when I know I’ve put just the right amount of jewellery on’ says content artist Giorgia Ascolani, ‘and my dad will ask, Gio what are you wearing?!’ - huge blue eyes twinkling as she laughs at her passion for ‘gaudy’ and outlandish jewels.
Half Italian (father) and half New Zealander (mother), Giorgia grew up in London and studied fashion styling, then global communication in Paris - ‘I got into it [her stop motion animation work] because I am very disorganised’, says the modest creative, though it’s clear from the projects she already has under her belt - with Zac Posen and Prada - that she has supreme talent and an inspired imagination. We met her to talk statement jewels, surrealism and future plans...
Tell me about your work and how you got into it?
I was at a fashion school and we had to make a film - the night before my final exam, I took 150 stills of my brother wearing these t-shirts one of his friends had designed, chose a soundcloud song, and put them together in a stop motion.
'I feel naked without my bracelets'
What’s the process?
I start with magazines, tumblr, pictures I’ve taken on a disposable camera - mixing modern with vintage images. Often it starts with the music - the style of the video will echo the style of the song. Then on Photoshop I make everything move, change things around, add subtitles. I work in mixed media and I love surreal things, graphics and fonts. I love the way Tim Walker works - he builds all his sets, creating other worlds that you can get lost in.
What projects are you working on at the moment? And who have you worked with in the past?
I’ve worked with the fashion designer Zac Posen - he sent me his new collection pictures and said ‘make it funky’. And I won a Prada award - they held a competition for their new eyewear line, the tagline was ‘show us your inner landscape’ so I made a video of a daydream, using a photo of my house in Tuscany, taken on a disposable camera - the colours are amazing. I have a few meetings coming up with some exciting brands.
'Somewhere there’s a fab crab strutting around wearing my Bulgari ring!'
A day in the life of you?
Art exhibitions, museums and I love Alfie’s - this huge antiques market - it’s quite eccentric, but you find amazing things. When I lived in Paris I would often just walk around - it’s so beautiful and you see so many interesting things - people at cafes, spilling into the streets - it’s more of a street culture than here, so people watching is amazing.
What else inspires you?
I read anything - the newspaper every day, The Economist, The Financial Times, Hello, OK, Heat, all the Vogues, Dazed & Confused, Business of Fashion - it’s about getting as much inspiration as possible. I go back to magazines again and again. My mum has Vogues from the 80s - I’m not allowed to cut those up, but I take photos of them. It’s funny, you read Vogues from the early 90s and they look like an outfit from today.
'My mum would dry chicken bones and wear them as necklaces!'
What’s your earliest jewellery memory?
In Italy when you’re born you’re often given jewellery - I got given these bracelets - a gold band with a spring clasp - I always had that on, it was really pretty. Maybe that’s where my thing for bracelets comes from...
Where did your passion for jewellery first start?
From my mum - she’s fab. She grew up in New Zealand and at that time everyone was pretty conservative, and her and her best friend wanted to really stand out, so they’d dry chicken bones and wear them as necklaces!
'In Italy when you’re born you’re often given jewellery - maybe that's where I get it from'
How would you describe your jewellery style?
My style is like an Italian Signora who’s spent too much time in Miami! Especially in the summer, I wear turbans and really big earrings. If I’m the Italian signora I’m dressed in a white shirt with one pair of huge earrings on and maybe some bracelets. The Miami vibe comes from something like layering my giant hoops with Chanel Cs in my second piercing...
Tell me about your collection?
I always wear my watch - it was my mum’s - she gave it to me for my 18th birthday - and these gold chains and cuffs stacked up on my right hand - I feel naked without them. And, if I don’t have my anklets, I don’t feel like me. I have alot of big earrings, gold hoops and little piercings.
'My Jewellery style is like an Italian Signora's who’s spent too much time in Miami!'
If you could swap jewellery boxes with anyone who would it be?
I love the jewellery in renaissance paintings - jewelled crowns, gaudy velvets and lace - gold everywhere. So maybe the pope, or a Catholic icon with tonnes of jewelled rings. The jewellery on the Ponte Vecchio in Florence is my dream — if I had all the money in the world I’d go there, and go crazy. And Le Bonne Marche in Paris - their buyers are amazing.
Do you see you a difference in the way your two cultures wear jewellery - New Zealand and Italy?
Italians are very into jewellery - especially the Milanese women and the Roman women - lots of gold and they love a dangly earring - a good drop, I always associate my aunts with smoking and swinging their hair and earrings going everywhere. Whereas in New Zealand, it’s more of a beach culture - string, cotton bracelets, maybe some crystals - quite minimalist, and they often wear the Maori powershell.
Do you have a piece of jewellery that’s particularly special, or a favourite piece?
My favourite piece of jewellery was a Bulgari ring my mum gave me. I was walking along a beach path in Nicaragua, swinging my arms, and I felt my ring slip off. We raked the sand for an hour and a half - so many people helped - but we couldn’t find it. I was so emotional because it was so special. So now I try not to get too attached to jewellery - somewhere there’s a fab crab strutting around wearing it!
Thank you to Giorgia for creating bespoke artwork with the images we took of you for this article.