Arielle De Pinto Makes Jewelry in Montreal But Makes Time for New Orleans

Jewelry designer Arielle de Pinto got her Fine Arts degree from Montreal’s Concordia University, but taught herself to crochet, later introducing a metal version of the technique to the worlds of art and fashion. Like something out of Joan of Arc’s closet, the look of metal crochet is both bulky and delicate, recalling chain-link armor as much as breezy tropical getaways. The French-Canadian, in Paris during Fashion Week to show her fall collection, took time out to discuss her unconventional influences, from Jean Paul Gaultier to Mardi Gras…

So tell us about the collection.
I spent a lot of time working on this collection while I was visiting my parents in Toronto. I love them, but I don’t really love where they live. The city has a lot of chains, like chain restaurant, chain stores, condominiums. It is very spread apart, and it’s cold and gray. I also love everything that is flashy, like the lichen-colored carpet at my parents’ condo. I wanted to display the colors and texture of this as flat crochet.

You collaborate with a lot of musicians, like The Grimes and Beef, and you incorporated dance in your last show. How influential is music in your work?
Music is one of the biggest influences—the music, the body, the moves. Also going out dancing is the way I relax and regenerate. Last night I went to the Castelbajac after-party. It was fun but the music was a bunch of hits that I have heard many times before. I love The B-52s, but I like to hear them with stuff I don’t know. I did not learn anything about music. I learned something about dancing though. (Laughs.) There was a girl there and I couldn’t stop watching her moves. There were very early 60s.

Is there anyone in the fashion world you would like to work with?
Last summer I went to Jean Paul Gaultier’s exhibition in Montreal. I love some of his work. There is a lot of ego in fashion, but the way that he designs makes me feel like there is no ego involved. He is really goofy, everything is a joke. He is like a caricature of himself. A lot of his collections are like parodies. But it is still beautiful. It’s mocking, but not in a negative way.

How do you see yourself reflected in his work?
I feel like I am immersed in a commercial culture. I’m really sensitive to it, but I don’t want to be cut off from it.

Tell us more about your retreats to New Orleans.
When I launched my business I was often in New York, working like crazy. Those were “wake up and get in front of the computer right away” kind of days. But I also love warm places. When I visited New Orleans for the first time I felt like my life changed, my attitudes changed. It’s a great escape. Now I am working in New Orleans, so I am always on Skype, except when it’s Mardi Gras. In New Orleans you can do whatever you want. Worlds collide in an unexpected way. It is such a creative, fun experience.