Designer Destinations: ALINKA designer on St. Petersburg's old world decadence and where to find the best view of the Mediterranean

Designer Destinations: ALINKA designer on St. Petersburg's old world decadence and where to find the best view of the Mediterranean

Growing up in Russia, it was only natural for Alina Barlow to look to someplace warm to go to university, which is how she ended up in Sydney, Australia studying economics.

“After qualifying as a chartered accountant I worked for PWC, however I’ve always been creative, and used to design jewellery for friends and family. Through word of mouth my business grew, and ALINKA was established in 2015 in Sydney,” Barlow says.

Now, in addition to ALINKA’s flagship store in Sydney, the brand is also stocked in London’s Harvey Nichols and Gold Union in St. Petersburg.

Working exclusively with black and white diamonds, Barlow has just launched ALINKA’s newest collection, AMALFI, inspired by the namesake Italian coast.

Alina Barlow, founder of ALINKA (ALINKA) Barlow explains: “This region has been a huge source of inspiration to me. My new collection fuses round brilliant and baguette diamonds, which from the side reflect the rugged and serrated landscape of this amazing coastline.” To celebrate the launch, we chatted to Barlow about some of her favourite travel destinations … All-time favourite holiday … “I am a total adrenaline junkie and water baby. Put me anywhere near the ocean and the hours will disappear. I love exploring hidden caves, finding inaccessible routes, and climbing up areas that probably shouldn’t be climbed. “Every year my family and I head to the Amalfi Coast, which serves as a wonderful respite from the Sydney winter. It’s great for the children, amazing food and gelato and at night Capri turns on the glitz with its polished restaurants and linen tablecloths, but during the day the rugged coastline is a maze of unexplored caves and rugged topography. I love the rawness of these two extremes, the high terrain and picturesque coves.” Favourite country to visit… “Always France! Wherever I go - whether to Paris, or the charming villages around Bordeaux, or down to the glamorous Cote d’Azur - it is such a different atmosphere and experience, and I am fascinated by the history. I got engaged and married in France, and recently took my children to visit the stunningly beautiful mediaeval village of Eze. The brutal history of this small village sits in deep contrast with the beautiful surroundings. We meandered up the winding mountain, hiking from the bottom of Anjuna beach to the top of the village to see, what I think, is one of the most incredible vantage points of the Mediterranean Sea.” Born in Russie, Alina now resides in Sydney (ALINKA) Favourite city… “I love returning to St. Petersburg. As soon as I land at Pulkovo airport, my childhood memories come rushing back. Days spent eating honey cake, keeping warm under layers and layers of clothes to combat the depths of the winter, and being in awe of the white nights phenomenon during the summer months. It never gets old. “The city is a wonderful blend of cultural decadence, natural beauty and exuberance. Old world heritage sits alongside a bustling art scene, fantastic shopping, and a vibrant culinary landscape. It is, and always will be, home.” Favourite beach… “I live in Sydney - and it doesn’t get more iconic than Bondi Beach. Sydney is a morning city and there is nothing more stunning than the Bondi to Coogee coastline. You can swim it (at your own peril given the sharks and rips!), run it, but I prefer a brisk walk. “Finish off with a swim in North Bondi - the waves can get pretty intense, and early mornings are filled with locals catching a surf before work. It’s a great way to start the day. And if you need caffeine, the local coffee shops which pepper the beach serve some of the best coffee outside of Rome.” Alina's new collection is inspired by the Amalfi Coast (ALINKA) Favourite restaurant… “Otto’s in Wooloomooloo. Located on the wharf, it serves fresh Italian seafood in a relaxed setting, amidst the backdrop of Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens. It has a special place in my heart because I moved to Sydney to study economics and I celebrated my 21st birthday here. It was so different from my hometown of St. Petersburg and I remember feeling so grateful and welcomed by this beautiful city. I now take my children here, and love spending balmy summer nights on the decking, watching the sun go down and the fruit bats from the Botanic Gardens wake up and fly above. It’s quite a magical.” Packing essentials… “Always a bikini - irrelevant of whether I’m going to a hot or cold place. You should always be prepared! “My jewellery - including my Dasha earrings which are endlessly versatile. I am a huge fan of asymmetric styling and mix the Dasha with other pieces from the collection. I also travel with my black diamond set which has an edgier feel. “My Lucas Hugh yoga onsie - great for yoga, meditation or pairing with a cashmere jumper for lounging about. And a pair of Nike sneakers - for exploring the local area.” Carry-on beauty essentials… “Lanolins – the ideal travel size and great for hydrating and soothing cracked lips. The St. Petersburg winters are harsh and lanolips sort me out every time. “Rationale immunologist cream and accompanying serum - I’ve found this to be the best accompaniment for a long haul fight. The cream is light, non-oily and a burst of much needed hydration for my skin.” Alina’s top picks from her ALINKA collection … (ALINKA) I am in love with our new AMALFI necklace. 14ct of approx. 300 round brilliant and baguette diamonds - the necklace is inspired by the rugged topography of the Amalfi coastline. I pair it with the 8ct Riviera necklace for a decadent layered look. (ALINKA) My go to item is the Dasha cuff - it is versatile and works with both pierced and non pierced ears. I style mine with the Irina cuff for cool, asymmetric look. DASHA MEDIUM Cuff Earring Black Diamonds | £1,250 | Shop it here (ALINKA) Eclipse ring - these are great for stacking, I wear two and pair them with the ID ring for a layered look. ECLIPSE Ring White Diamonds | £1,380 | Shop it here More about: | Designer Destinations | diamonds | Travel Guides | travel advice | St. Petersburg | Amalfi Coast