Yves Spinelli embodies the typical LA-guy. Tall, fit, long hair, casual and chill. Super chill. When he launched in 2010 his semi-eponymous jewelry brand Spinelli Kilcollin (Dwyer Kilcollin being his wife), he did not envision that he would be the inventor of a new jewelry concept. His Stellar Collection has been forging his reputation from its very first day.
After meeting the rising designer at the Las Vegas Couture Show, we randomly ran into him in Tokyo airport catching our flight going in opposite directions. In between planes, we were able to chit-chat about his growing empire.
When did you launch spinelli kilcollin?
We have officially started the brand in 2010… but the first ring I designed was for myself in 2008. At the time, I was working at the Maxfield concept store in Los Angeles. The clients started asking where could they buy the ring I was wearing so I started to make more of them. Then my fiancé (Dwyer Kilcollin) turned it into a brand.
Why spinelli kilcollin?
I am Yves Spinelli and my wife is Dwyer Kilcollin, so it’s very straight-forward. Since our names were very unusual we thought it could be a good name !
How is your (now) wife involved ?
She’s a contemporary artist and she’s the creative director of the brand. I do all the operational work for example: the traveling, the sales, and marketing… also because it is more related to my background.
How did it start ?
Just like that ! I remember seeing someone wearing a sort of bar ring where you put your hand through it and it looks like brass knuckles. But it was like a fixed bar that I thought was cool ! I like the idea of rings all over your fingers, but I thought that looks very restrictive to have just a bar. That’s when I thought that if you had rings on every finger but that they were connected with connectors you could easily move your hand and it could be much more comfortable. We started making pieces with just plain metal. Slowly we incorporated diamonds, and then as we did that we started exploring a variety of possibilities.
I went to see my father who was a hair stylist but happened to make jewelry as a hobby. I asked him to make me this ring and when it was done, I thought to myself: Oh wow it’s super cool!
I started realizing that you can wear it all on one finger and play with different combinations: sizes, thickness or even stone settings, which makes it really interesting. It was very new to me and very new as a product per-sé, but never thought I would sell it! So I casually started wearing the prototyped-ring, until a woman came at the store asking to buy it. Then it hit me: this ring is actually every cooler for a woman. So I made some…
Don’t we call it serendipity?
Indeed … you are creating something you haven’t even considered in your own life. After that woman, I had my dad make different sizes but I didn’t even know how to size it first! This is such a simple concept … I was sure that someone must have done this before! But no, it turns out that after some researches, I could not find anything like it!
What do you feel about what you have accomplished so far?
I must say that it is quite an accomplishement for something we had never considered. Now we have around 50 point of sale thanks to a lot of hard work! When we first showed the ring concept to buyers in 2010-2011 a lot of them said that it was interesting, some people got it right away. But others thought it was too tricky…
“You won’t be able to start a brand if you just have one ring, you must have pendants and earrings and this is not a collection” I was told… a lot! Since I firmly believe that our concept was truly unique, I stuck behind what I believed in and today I’m happy I was able to turn the concept into a brand.
How can you renew a single concept?
With this concept we aim to keep things very simple: the circle is what we’re focused on. We’re starting to introduce new designs such as chain earrings or chain bracelets and we are also thinking about a lot of new developments but it has to make sense with our DNA.
Masculine or feminine clientele?
The products we develop aim to be unisex but we do focus on men’s jewelry as well.
If some claim that his Stella pieces are the new Cartier Trinity ring, Spinelli Kilcollin goes beyond the simple concept of just a ring. From Dover Street Market in Tokyo, to Maxfield in Los Angeles or Montaigne Market in Paris, he reaffirms his style offering a variety of options to suit men and women equally.