Born in Soviet Union’s Leningrad (now Saint-Petersburg), calling Australia home, Alina Barlow dreamed of launching her own jewellery brand. She would make rings out of different coloured wires in order to explore her inner creative side.
Launching ALINKA in 2015, with debut collection ‘The Winter Palace’, inspired by St. Petersburg’s rich history and the Kremlin’s pentagonal stars, it was Barlow’s own personal style tying back her heritage and upbringing that was integral to the brand. Starting with one-of-a-kind pieces for private clients, word of the designer quickly got out and soon ALINKA had established a strong following. Beautiful, handcrafted pieces in rose, white and yellow gold with diamonds and a modern edge.
As well as Harvey Nichols, ALINKA is stocked through Farfetch and Parlour X Sydney, and has recently opened the brand’s flagship store in Double Bay, Sydney.
Alina takes Citizen Femme through her Sydney.
When is the best time of year to visit Sydney and why?
December – January. Summertime. Magic long warm and often hot days. Party atmosphere in the air. Exciting time. Beautiful friendly people. In summary, summertime magic.
What’s your ideal 48 hours in Sydney?
Begin the day with a coastal run / walk from Bondi to Bronte. The sea air is intoxicating and will help you work up an appetite. Head to Bills for breakfast, where you are guaranteed to find the best coffee and ricotta hotcakes.
Next, head to the MCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) followed by the ferry or boat ride on the Sydney Harbour.
Finish your day by finding one or two hours to visit Taronga Zoo, followed by a romantic dinner at Bathers’ Pavilion, on Balmoral Beach.
Head to Manly Beach on the Manly Ferry service from the Circular Key. Walk down to The Shelly beach and enjoy the swim there followed by brunch there at the Boathouse restaurant.
Scale the Harbour Bridge Climb for the ultimate views of Sydney Harbour, in my opinion one of the best experiences in the world!
A visit to the Sydney Opera House is a must! Either to see Opera or Australia Ballet performance followed by late dinner on the terrace of the Café Sydney restaurant overlooking the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
How have your city and your travels influenced your work?
Yes, most certainly it does. Every day. The most I love about Sydney is the light, sunshine, harbor and open ocean. I draw a lot of inspiration from being close to the water and nature. Sydney in my opinion is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
I love travelling and given that my parents live in Saint-Petersburg, Russia and I run my own business across the globe, including a concession within Harvey Nichols in London, I find myself being on planes a lot.
Where do you go to get inspired?
Jet-surfing, running, yoga practice almost daily gives me a lot of energy and inspiration. I also love long summer European days spent hanging out with my family while my children are on school holidays.
Which is your favourite neighbourhood and why?
Bondi beach. It is one of the most iconic beaches in Australia. It is just beautiful and has magic. I love swimming or running or scootering with my kids alongside it.
What’s the best way to get around?
Walking, ferry service, busses or uber / taxi if you are visiting Sydney.
In saying this I prefer to drive everywhere. I am very independent and usually running busy work / family schedule.
What should I wear?
Hot bikini. Thongs. Sunglasses. All are a must if you set out to Sydney.
Essential item to pack?
Lanolips (www.lanolips.com). My close friend Kirsten Carriol started the brand almost a decade ago. Quintessentially Australian, now sold worldwide. Aussie girls carry it and I cannot live without it. Especially the SPF lip balms when I am jet surfing or snow skiing.
In Sydney I would say The Park Hyatt overlooking the Sydney Opera house and the Sydney Harbour.
Ashtanga yoga practice. Jet-surfing.
Parlour X Sydney. It’s a very cool multi brand Sydney Store. The very first official stockist of my ALINKA jewellery.
The best place to grab brunch is…
Bills Bondi. Best Hot Cakes … E V E R
And a nightcap…
Opera Bar. A bar overlooking the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
What’s the one unmissable local attraction?
I will have to say there are two… The Sydney Opera House and The Sydney Harbour Bridge.
And the best spot where the locals hang is…
What’s the city you visit to get out of Sydney?
Souvenir to take home?
Tell us your favourite secret spot in Sydney.
Rushcutters bay park. I have a personal connection to it. It takes me to the time when my children were babies and I was starting ALINKA. I’ve spent hours there.
NEED TO KNOW
ALINKA unveils it EZE edit featuring the ‘Riviera’ and ‘MALA’ designs, inspired by the breathtaking panoramic views from the stunning hilltop town of Eze on the French Riviera. Day to night and layered for added impact. Shop it at Harvey Nichols and online. Shop Alinka here and follow the brand on instagram here
Read through more insider guides here