Hello Gorgeous: Alina Barlow, Sydney
As a child in Soviet Union’s Leningrad (now Saint-Petersburg), Alina Barlow dreamed of making her own jewellery. When, 20 years later she created her own brand, it was important it expressed her own personal style, and tied back to her heritage and upbringing. Alinka Jewellery does just that: it’s beautiful, handcrafted pieces in rose, white and yellow gold with diamonds and a modern edge .
LUXE chats to Alina about her inspirations, her dream clients and loving the "light, sunshine and open ocean" in her adopted hometown of Sydney.
How would you describe your jewellery?
Contemporary, rebellious and versatile.
Who and what inspires your work?
First and foremost my mother is my biggest inspiration, supporter, best friend and fan. She is Alinka's original muse. I am also incredibly grateful to my close friends, many who I grew up with in Russia, and also those I met more recently in Australia who continue to inspire me. I find these women embody the true essence of Alinka; they’re strong, independent and open to the adventures that lie ahead.
I also look to modern art, particularly anything by Kandinsky or Chagall, Russian literature and Russian architecture. I find a great deal of inspiration from Russia – be it Saint-Petersburg and Moscow, where every street has a wonderful story behind it, and the buildings, museums, are just magical – or its rich history and heritage. I try to capture this in my design process.
Who’s your dream client?
Nothing makes me more excited than seeing someone on the street or in a restaurant wearing my pieces. I love seeing how they have styled it and how their personality comes through. On a more public scale, there are a coterie of women that I look up to, including Coco Chanel, Dior's Creative Director, Maria Grazia, Anna Wintour and Victoria Beckham.
Your best-ever purchase?
My favourite toy ever is the jet surf, which is a surfboard with a jet engine! I love riding it for hours at a time –it’s so much fun! I also love the Terry O'Neil print of Brigitte Bardot, which I have in black and white and which lovingly hangs in my bedroom. I love looking at it every day; it inspires me, makes me dream and takes me to various places in my imagination.
What do you love most about Sydney?
The light, sunshine, harbour and open ocean.
Your favourite restaurant table and bar perch?
Restaurant: Fratelli Paradiso in Potts Point, any table outside. It is Italian chic at its best, with a cool vibe. They have the best coffee and pastries and I can never resist the pasta al dente.
Bar: it’s a fairly new bar at the basement of Fred's restaurant in Paddington – it is great for its intimate and romantic yet uber cool ambience and very tasty finger food
24 hours in Sydney, what are the must dos?
Begin the day with a coastal run / walk from Bondi to Bronte. The sea air is intoxicating and will help you work up an appetite. Head to Bills for breakfast, where you are guaranteed to find the best coffee and ricotta hotcakes.
Next, head to the MCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) followed by the ferry or boat ride on the Sydney Harbour. Alternatively scale the Harbour Bridge Climb for the ultimate views of Sydney Harbour, in my opinion one of the best experiences in the world!
Who are your favourite Aussie designers?
Where do you go to escape?
Yoga Moves in Rushcutters Bay is the best yoga studio where you can practice every morning between 5.30am and 10am according to your own schedule. I also love Rushcutters Bay Park, there is one particular tree which is very special to me as I used to do my yoga practice there while I was pregnant with both my children.
What’s next for Alinka?
We are focusing on spreading the Alinka story, particularly internationally, making sure that the brand is represented at the right stores that can tell our unique story in a modern and contemporary way.
For more insider tips and insights to the Emerald City, nab a copy of the LUXE Sydney guide...
Mira Comara Alexander
An urban nomad with nine lives, Mira was born in Sarajevo and educated in the UK, where she worked for a political risk consultancy specialising in kidnapping. With stints in the Middle East and Europe, Mira now works in luxury fashion PR in Sydney. This Londoner is always on the hunt for an adventure and a great outfit, whether on the slopes of Megève or Bond Street.
- Mira LOVES... Fashion, art, adventure and romance, better still if accompanied by a cold glass of Bandol Rosé
- Mira LOATHES... A lack of integrity
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