Vanessa Geroulanos

Vanessa Geroulanos | Lesoleilfoundation

Vanessa Geroulanos

Vanessa Geroulanos

Vanile on the Rock by VANESSA GEROULANOS

She studied Fine Arts and graduated from the USA Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) as well as from Central Saint Martinsin London. She collaborated with Sonia Trussardi and Christian Francis Roth in New York and then returned to Greece in order to take command of one of the most important fashion houses active in Greece, Artisti Italiani, as well as the Marasilcollections. In the end however, a globetrotter as she is, collecting precious stones from all over the world, it was the jewelry industry that won her over and ever since she designs jewels imbued with her unique perspective on the modern world.

How did you decide to become a fashion designer?

Starting from a very young age, I was interested in drawing on fabrics and designing clothes for my doll as well as for myself.

I had countless ideas and I remember spending endless hours trying to learn on my own how to achieve the result that would be satisfying for me, using any kind of medium I could get my hands on. I always knew that I would be involved with art and design in my life; hence I pursued the best Fine Arts education at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in the United States.

What was the first time a jewel made you realize that you would become a designer?

I love anything that has color, depth, luminosity as well as an intricate and interesting design. After being involved in apparel design for 20 years, I very comfortably felt drawn to a new design adventure. This gave me the opportunity to further refinemy design and Fine Arts skills. I wanted to create wearable mini sculptures, works of art that could represent my fluid idea of nature, in an abstract way. I love to work with organic shapes to create bold and unique statement pieces that are timeless and rather different from the common industrial approach to jewelry. I want my jewelry to be worn for many years and not to simply go out of fashion.

You are a Fine Arts graduate from both the Rhode Island Schoolof Design (RISD) in the US and the Central Saint Martins in London. Would you like to share a few things from your experiences there?

When I first applied to RISD, I had no idea what was coming…I found myself in the most creative, crazy and vibrant environment that I could ever dream of. It was full of highly talented students and the best faculty staff guided us through the world of art. This experience would shape my life forever! I obtained the degree of BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) that opened for me all the doors to the world of art. Both schools provided me with skills but mostly with experiences of learning and approaching art that have helped me become versatile and remain open to try new and different design fields with confidence.

Your collaboration with Sonia Trussardi and Christian FrancisRoth in New York proved crucial for your career. Do remind us a few things about it.

Working with Christian Francis Roth was my first designing job in New York. He was a hot, upcoming designer of the time, back in the mid-90s. It was my first “hands on” experience to the real world of fashion; needless to say that this experience set the foundation of my entire apparel design career. Beyond the glamour and hard work, I learned an incredible amount of secrets of the magical world of fashion… A few years later, I met Sonia Trussardi. It was an encounter that developed into a work partnership and an amazing lifetime friendship. Based in New York, we created our own dress line that would sell successfully across the USA.

Nevertheless, you returned to Greece and took command of the then very successful Artisti Italiani, as well as of the Marasilcollections of children wear.

When duty calls… For family reasons, I had to return to Greece. Upon returning, I was asked to create and lead designing teams for two fashion houses of Greece, with a large sales volume at the time. I already had the experience of working and producing in the Orient, and I was a designer with skills that were highly sought after. While working, I also started teaching Fashion and Textile Design to the students of the Textile Technological Department at the Technological Educational Institute of Athens.

Following all those collaborations with fashion houses, you decided to start making jewelry.

After 20 years of being involved with fashion design, I felt I wanted something new, something different. I wanted a new challenge, a field where I can learn, create and move freely, breaking from the guidelines dictated by the fashion industry. I had taken jewelry courses during my BFA education and had worked on sculpture extensively. The time came where I felt it was the perfect moment to go back and use, as well as extend,those skills and knowledge on jewelry design. The more I was getting into it, the more I wanted to learn and get deeper into this profession. I had entered the world of jewelry, a world of magic and sparkle! I fell in love with how my hands, eyes and ideas were all working together in perfect harmony! It is a love affair…

How was it that you chose the brand name “Vanile on the rock”? I have to say it reminds me of very innocent and romantic times.

The funky name that I gave my company came was actually the result of a fun game we all played in my family. They were all so excited and supportive of my new adventure and I wanted them to be part of it somehow. It’s a combination of the first names of my daughter, my husband and mine; plus, I was working with luminous rocks. It just made sense!

Tell us a little bit about your new collection!

My latest collection, entitled The Empire, is an organic and geometric approach to the art nouveau architecture found in Manhattan. I always loved NYC architecture and wanted to use those elements dating from the 1920s, but not by copying them. I wanted to give them a “new” look, through my eyes and designdistinct jewelry pieces that would also stand in time.

Do you have any famous customers?

Many elegant and stylish women around the world wear my designs. One of my favorites is Geneva Carr. She is an American actress that was playing in the Broadway show “Hand to God”. She was actually nominated for the Tony Award for her theatrical performance in that show. She always chooses to wear VOR (Vanile on the rock) at the red carpet or at any other occasion! I can say that she is one of my biggest fans, followed by many chic women from New York, London, Paris, Milan, Athens, Los Angeles, Miami, Geneva, Mexico City, Buenos Aires and Berlin.

What was the most essential thing you have done so far as a designer?

That is a very difficult question to ask any designer. I feel proud and content having dressed women, making them feel special and look great! In terms of designing, every step forward I take with my work, it feels that I have conquered and achieved something for me, that I have contributed to the evolution of style! On a human level, I try to always support society by donating my work to various charities around the world. This is the least that I can do as a designer and as an artist to support my fellow humans in need.

What do you think on the “limited edition” approach?

Limited edition is a big part of my work. I completely support it.Furthermore, it happens that beautiful stones do not come in bulk and nor should they. Unique statement pieces should be created in limited numbers.

In your opinion what is the ultimate trend for this summer?

Well, it’s always about simplicity! Simplicity with a twist; let that twist be a unique piece of jewelry that would help you stand out from the crowd.

Do share! What is the “must” jewelry we should have?

Earrings and rings! Let them be large-sized. Do not be afraid!

How did your love of traveling affect your work? Which journey was the most influential for you?

Having being brought up in Saudi Arabia, Greece and the USA, I was exposed to travelling all the time, since birth. Travelling is in my DNA, I am crazy about meeting new cultures and people and food and local art. It’s all about pictures and smells that complete who I am! I have to say that having lived in Mexico for two months I was deeply influenced by the colors and the local art. Somehow, I see it every day in my work!

Share with us the phrase that would decode completely who you are.

Find strength through softness, find softness through strength!


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