How to Speak Italian:
Modern Gestures with Repossi
by Alexa Hotz
Photographed by Hanna Tveite
In any interaction it’s what’s unsaid that really counts. The subtleties of gesture—a distracted stare, pinched eyes, clasped hands, a single nod—linger far longer than the words spoken. Most skilled in the art of nonverbal communication are the Italians, for whom gestures serve as an extension of everyday language. From his 1958 supplement to the Italian dictionary, graphic designer and artist Bruno Munari depicted 46 hand-gestures central to life in 1950s Naples. Here, nine gestures are paired with the arresting beauty of Repossi’s Antifer jewelry; a collection made with simple lines and strong peaks inspired by the Antifer cliffs of Normandy. Slipped on the finger, everyday Italian is better understood with black or rose gold and pavé diamonds.
Word of Honor
The head tilts back and to the side while the hand, open, is brought to the chest. It is a helpful gesture for resisting gossip by withholding information.
Two hands are brought together at the front of the body. The fingers clasp in appreciation for hospitality, indicating basic needs are being met.
What do you Expect?
In true Neapolitan style, fingertips are brought together to make a cone shape—good for broad declarations and for teaching a lesson. Repossi’s semi-set pave diamond ring in black gold gets right to the point.
I see the body as a structure to build around.Gaia Repossi
Pensando, Preoccupato, e Silenzio
Thinking, Concerned, and Silence
The thought process in three separate gestures. In the first, the index finger is held to the chin in a natural gesture for pensive thinking. In a concerned state, a bent index finger is brought to the lips.
The third gesture is helpful for reducing useless chatter. Munari explains: “The index finger is laid across the lips, as if to keep them shut.” (“Silenzio! Per favore.”)
The first two fingers curl into an “O” shape to support the chin as energy fades. Then the lower cheek rests on a loosely closed fist, as on a pillow; a useful—though audacious—gesture to signal utter boredom. At least there’s Repossi’s 18-karat gold bracelet to soften the blow.
A gesture, often made behind the back, to indicate that the speaker is not bound by their words. Useful while being interrogated by a friend for a secret resource (of a favorite pair of shoes, a vase, decor objects). “It’s vintage,” you might say, with one hand back behind the back. Some things you have to keep for yourself.
Lighting Design Jon Ervin
Styling Gabrielle Marceca
Hair Takayoshi Tsukisawa
Makeup Kristi Matamoros at Frank Reps
Model Saskia de Brauw
Powered by Assembled Brands