Established in 2007, the unconventional jewelry brand Akillis embodies the free-spirited nature of its founder Caroline Gaspard. Designed to celebrate those who dare to shatter boundaries and live life outside the imaginary box, the notion of freedom is at the heart of the brand. This ideology is radiated beautifully through Gaspard’s bold, gender-fluid rock-and-roll jewelry.
Could you please tell us a little bit about ‘Akillis’? What is the story behind the brand name?
The name Akillis was an obvious choice for me because I have always been fascinated by mythology. I chose to use the name of the most legendary character from Greek Mythology, Achilles, which is Achilléa in Greek. I also named my son Achille, which, according to legend, means he will become a rock and rebel hero of the playground! Similarly, in a way, jewels and diamonds are the Achilles heel of women.
How would you describe your relationship with jewelry? Is it something you’ve always been passionate about?
My passion for jewelry came from my mother, who instilled her own affinity for precious stones in us. One of my father’s friends was a dealer in diamonds and often brought over pretty stones to show us. It became a game for us to see what we could do with these beautiful stones, and by 15 I started drawing and making jewelry for my family and friends. I started getting many requests from this casual interest and decided to take on the adventure to become a jewelry designer.
Your designs are obviously unique and stand out from other conventional jewelry pieces. How would you sum up the aesthetic of your brand?
Akillis pieces are always perceived as different, modern, and rock. Our customers are constantly looking for new products and designs, which is why innovative design is a key cornerstone of our brand. Pure forms, geometric shapes, and sharp lines are the key concepts seen in Greek architecture, which has inspired not only the brand name but its design ethos as well. I love to play with shapes that fit together, which is how my ‘Puzzle’ collection came about. The triangular pieces are seen in the ‘Capture Me’ collection or curvier patterns as seen in my latest collection – ‘Tattoo’ shows the parallels of a seductive game between two shapes fitting together, or two people!
I love the notion of unisex jewelry: partners should be able to share their favorite gems and pieces.
What does jewelry mean to you? What is the one piece of jewelry that we’d never find you without?
Jewelry is the art of working with precious materials and stones. Distinguished by the nobility of materials like precious metals and stones, and the craftsmanship of the artisans, the making of jewelry has always been a rather
unique and special process.
Jewelry has adorned Kings and Queens since ancient times, whether as part of their ceremonial attire or as a part of their daily life – from the Pharaohs of Egypt to the Crown Jewels of England, jewelry was always associated with the aura of magnificence, imbibing an air of confidence to the wearer. That is what jewelry means to me – an air of confidence and resplendence.
My ‘Tattoo’ ring made of black gold and black diamonds, or my ‘Tattoo’ bracelet in white gold and diamonds, are the two pieces you will never see me without. I really love this collection because the Tattoo represents a state of mind, with the freedom to have an attitude that changes every day; you can put on and take off your Tattoo pieces when you want or where you want!
Your designs are gender-fluid. What inspired you to design for both men and women?
My goal in founding Akillis was to create a resolutely modern and disruptive brand of jewelry where everyone, women and men alike, could express their individuality. I love the notion of unisex jewelry: partners should be able to share their favorite gems and pieces. I wanted to bring jewelry into a new age, where the traditional art of French jewelry would embrace ultra-modern design while testing the technical limits of production as we know.
Can you please walk us through the new ‘Tattoo’ collection? What inspired this unique collection?
With the ‘Tattoo’ Collection, I was intent on creating a collection that was different and fresh – aimed at young generations in search of something that truly speaks to them. For the brand, it was the most natural thing to reinvent the tattoo as a piece of jewelry to put forth your personality. The pieces are made to touch the body, fashioned like lace to reveal the skin in a sensuous manner, complemented with the touches of sparkling strokes of calligraphy.
Which is your favorite piece from the collection?
The ‘Tattoo HJ’ necklace is the first piece I created for the Tattoo collection and is, in my opinion, the crowning glory of the collection as it is a remarkable technical achievement with an articulated structure that molds perfectly to the
contours of the neck. I would like to applaud our French workshop as they truly outdid themselves with this masterpiece.
What made you come to the Middle East? Why is the Middle East important for Akillis?
The Middle East has always been of interest to the brand — our Paris flagship store hosts a myriad of clients from the region. Clients from Dubai and Saudi Arabia, in particular, are very common and regular. For this reason, we decided to bring our presence to the Middle Eastern market. We started out with events in Dubai, to showcase the brand in all its facets and introduce it to a wider customer base, but we are now gearing up to a larger distribution chain to satisfy the demand.
What are your best-selling products in the Middle East?
We found a shift in the Middle Eastern consumers’ tastes and preferences – they are usually seeking sharper and more daring designs, which is the specialty of Akillis. Stacking pieces has always been an important trend in the region, which is why the ‘Capture Me’ bracelets are some of our bestsellers, as they are stackable and are available in all types of gold and diamond settings, making them available at multiple price points, which is also great for gifting.
Do you have any Middle East exclusive collections in the pipeline?
I really like the Middle East and enjoy spending time here because it’s such an edgy and fashionable market. We are, in fact, preparing a new collection for 2021 that will be designed especially for the region, using diamonds and emeralds.