Emrata x SK
The story of our collaboration with Emily Ratajkowski
This past spring, Spinelli Kilcollin premiered our first collaboration collection with actress/model/social media force of nature/and personal friend, Emily Ratajkowski. Creative director and co-founder Dwyer Kilcollin took some time to catch up with Emily to reflect on their connection.
Dwyer Kilcollin So when did we start talking about collaborating? Palm Springs?
Emily Ratajkowski Yes! the summer before last. Time Flies!
DK Yes! You were wearing a vintage ring that served as inspiration for the collection. Tell me about how your design process started.
ER I was out in Palm Springs a few weeks before you and I went out, and went to one of the consignment stores out there. They sell furniture and weird knick-knacks. One of them has a really good jewelry section and I found this super cool ring that had these three simple diamonds placed next to each other.
When we started talking about collaborating I was thinking about ways to stay true to what I love about your designs, but also ways to kind of…um, bling them out? I guess would be the word?
DK (laughing) I love it.
ER (laughing) Because I love diamonds and stones so much! We were talking about designing for the girl who could wear diamonds and... sweatpants and I just love that whole contrast. I think SK does it so well. The rings are funky and cool but they are also beautiful pieces of art. So it was sort of just an extension of that.
When we met for our first design meeting I brought those in and I really wanted to make statement pieces... to not just do simple stuff. I wanted to be like, “lets go for it.” And I think we did!
DK We for sure did! What about the diamond pendant? That seemed to come out of nowhere but it is such a piece-de-la-resistance!
ER That’s actually my favorite piece. That’s the one I wear most regularly. I mean I wear the rings, obviously. But that pendant layers so well with other pieces. Thinking about the circular shapes that you use in surprising and new ways inspired me to wonder how we bring that in with diamonds. And it just came together. I love that piece because it is timeless but then the chain and the little details make it modern and special.
DK Tell me more about the icon you have in mind, the kind of girl who can wear diamonds and sweatpants. Who is the girl for this collection?
ER These pieces are like art. I think all of your work is. Because we really went for it with the stones I really do think these [pieces] are the kind that you would want to pass on to your granddaughter.
But I also like the idea of living in your jewelry and never take it off. So when I travel I’ll wear my Spinelli Kilcollin ring, and earrings, of course. The hoops are kind of re-imagined hoops and they look incredible with a cocktail dress, dressed up to go out. But I love wearing them with jeans and letting them be these amazing objects that are just fun. I think the whole collection, as beautiful as the pieces are, are just meant to be fun.
DK I always think of when we were in Puglia for your birthday. Everyone else would wake up maybe a little bit rough around the edges… a little hung over perhaps… but you’d wake up in your jewelry and be just lounging by the pool chatting with friends but also on the phone making amazing business deals. That kind of effortless boss lady glam. I feel like that’s the girl.
ER (laughing) Hahah I love that. You are so funny. Aaah but that was such a stressful work thing. Yea, I think it’s a woman who just knows who she is and can dress up or down. These pieces are at moments as glamorous as they really are but then at other moments can be worn just casually—that “downtown princess” vibe I think is just so fun.
I wore the hoops last week with jeans and boots people were like “holy shit.” They see the whole look and they are like “wait what are those earrings?!!” (laugh) I’m like yes. These are THE earrings.
DK I have one more question, more of a business question really. So many conversations
I have about business and representing yourself [as a business] surround social media. and people have this huge anxiety about how to beat the algorithms and how much to filter or edit themselves into the “perfect voice” vs just being yourself and somehow running the risk of…
ER …Getting lost
DK Yeah, getting lost or being too public or unedited or saying something you’d regret or something. You’re one of the few people who has always run your own account and you’ve never invited other people to help or edit in any way. But also, you’re just so fluent in it and it seems to come so easily to you. Is it as easy as it looks?
ER Um... yeah, listen, everyone gets caught up and it’s a business and I have a lot of campaigns and clients. Part of my deals are doing instagram posts.
But, I honestly really love putting it all together. It can be a super powerful tool. I do struggle sometimes with finding the balance: it is work and it is connected to my job and my clients rely on me for that promotion. But also just letting it be windows into my life, so people feel close to me. Like yesterday I posted a picture of Sebo and me that I normally would never have posted. But, those are the things that you find a balance between: “here is a targeted ad for a perfume, and here is some cool content I created with a photographer friend, or for my swim brand, here is me at a protest, and here is a selfie.” Finding that balance is important. The more authentic it is and the more you stick to what you feel is the honest portrayal of yourself and honest to your aesthetic the better.
DK Right. I always think for example about when everyone was dissing Melania Trump and you’d been at a dinner with a New York Times reporter. When you have something to say you don’t go home and think, “how can I format my thoughts and communicate them in a public outlet?” you just take straight to instagram and say what you are thinking. And that makes more of a difference.
ER Yeah, that was a particularly easy one, and I’ve thought about it a lot in the days since I was arrested in DC. So many people are like “look at her in lingerie and look at her in DC. How could anyone take her seriously?” To me, that is the perfect point. That is the conversation that I think is so important: a woman’s sexual history and the way a woman portrays her sexuality should never inform the way that we respect women. It is a woman’s choice to do whatever she wants with her body and her sexuality and that doesn’t mean that she’s not entitled to opinions on important subjects.
So, when someone was calling Melania a hooker?! There is a lot I can say about Melania Trump and her politics, but judging her for her sexual history, whether it’s true or not, is just not ok.
I think that we all need to be cognizant of that in any given moment. I got all this praise from the right-wing media when that happened but it’s really funny because since I got arrested protesting [Brett Kavanaugh]—basically being there for a leftist cause, those same news outlets who supported me when I defended Melania, are now coming after me saying I shouldn’t be taken seriously in this moment. So I think consistency is so, so key.
ER When it comes to social media that’s one of the things that makes it a powerful tool beyond just “here’s a picture of my outfit or me on vacation” there is plenty of that and its all light hearted and fun and it should be, you know, and then there is the other part which is that its very powerful. You can reach a lot of people.
DK YES. Go you!
ER Haha ha. You go!