- Austin McAllister
- So this is Blu, easily one of the cutest dogs I’ve ever seen.
Nicole and Kim Carosella are the kind of sisters who finish each other’s sentences and have the sort of easy communication that makes it clear that they know each other better than anyone else in the world. Besides their incredibly close personal relationship, Nicole and Kim also have a professional partnership that they’ve been developing for a little over two years—Sorellina, a jewelry line that is at once both modern and evocative of Victorian and Art Deco designs. We visited Nicole and Kim in their Williamsburg apartments—they live in the same building, Nicole two floors below Kim and her husband—and talked about Sorellina, sisterhood, and their too-awesome-to-be-believed dogs.
Although Nicole and Kim grew up on Long Island, they had both spent time living in other places (including southern California and New Orleans) before returning to New York and deciding to start Sorellina in early 2011. Nicole explains, “Since Kim was pretty much born, she has been commissioning me to do things for her. I’ve always been very creative and Kim has a really great eye, and we always knew we’d make a really good team.” And so Sorellina was born. Instead of naming the line after themselves, Nicole and Kim settled on the name Sorellina because, Kim tells me, “We wanted it to be about the two of us, something that reflected the romanticism of the line, and that was also a nod to our Italian heritage. Sorellina means younger or little sister in Italian, and even though I’m the younger one, Nicole is smaller than me, so it works both ways.”
While many people might find it difficult to work with a sibling, Nicole and Kim complement each other with such facility that it is easy to see how seamlessly there collaboration works. And as much as they might find inspiration from different places—like the time when Nicole spotted a dirty patch of snow near their apartment building, and based Sorellina’s Hail Storm collection around it—their apartments have a consistent sensibility, while still representing each of their own personal preferences. So while they both might love the whimsical wallpaper from Flavor Paper, Kim has one of the company’s more classic patterns lining her hallway, Nicole has her living room ceiling covered with Flavor Paper’s metallic birds, perpetually in flight. The fact that Nicole and Kim live only two floors apart from each other surely helps the dynamism of their relationship, they both seem like they are always in motion, always moving forward with new ideas, always trying new things. They are both clearly invested in their neighborhood, quickly rattling off a list of favorite dining destinations (including Roberta’s, Potlikker, Briskettown, Maison Premiere) that they frequent, and showing off their collaboration with Mast Brothers on a Sorellina chocolate bar that serves as a next-level business card for when they want to make a memorable business impression.
Chocolate bars aside, though, it would be impossible for the jewelry not to just speak for itself. Sorellina is an environmentally responsible line and Nicole and Kim utilize recycled materials and vintage gemstones in an effort to promote sustainability. The jewelry itself is notable for balancing classic designs while still maintaining a totally modern feel. Each piece has its own unique narrative, from the Otto collection inspired by Nicole’s love of the number 8, to serpent rings inspired by Queen Victoria’s bridal jewelry. The beauty and consistent narrative of the line is due in no small part to the wonderfully supportive relationship between the sisters, and it will definitely be exciting to see where Sorellina goes next.
Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen