“Oh that is so cool!!” she congratulates me when I tell her I’m divorced. “One of my girlfriends told me it’s best to have three ex-husbands!” That’s splendid I think but I must disappoint her as I am only at number one, and I tell her that in my opinion you may as well keep going after number three because if you haven’t figured out ‘marriage’ by then, you will never get it right. Which also makes me wonder, watching Gonzalo as he’s smoking a cigarette, listening in on our peculiar conversation, how long they have been dating. “Nine years!” she coos. Amazing! She’s doing better than I did, so I must know: what’s the secret? “There is no secret! We discuss a lot!” she assures me in her tick Spanish accent – and by ‘discuss’, I must understand ‘argue’. “But in the end, we love the time we spend together, at home and while we work. When the samples arrive, we stay calm and look at the pieces and make something beautiful.” So is he a good boyfriend? She looks at him slyly and admits: “Yeeees… but I am only saying that because we have company,” she laughs. Gonzalo nods in silence. And then states: “All men are children.” He’s a man of few words but by God, they are truthful.
Aurora Vilaboa Crespo is 35 years old and designs clothes, accessories and jewelry. Foremost she is the production force behind her boyfriend’s namesake jewelry label. “Part of the philosophy behind the brand is that Gonzalo is an illustrator,” she explains. “He makes the drawings that inspire the collections. And I design the pieces including the quality, color, materials and size.” Six months ago, she also launched her own line of necklaces under the name Dori Gato (her nickname, “because Aurora is such a serious name!”). She says she “started this line of jewelry because I imagined using African print fabrics and liberty flowers in necklaces; a very simple and beautiful idea. I made a prototype with materials I found at home, and I liked it, so I started looking for high quality crystals, resin, fabrics and chains in Italy.” And just a few weeks ago she started a new job, which requires her to fly back and forth to Vigo, the town she grew up in, twice a week. She is the Creative Director there and in charge of everything from windows, to mood boards, colors, prints, inspiration and even marketing. “How would I have time for children?!” she exclaims feverishly when we pick up the relationship thread again. “I barely have time to feed the cats!”
I enjoy shooting Aurora. When I ask her to smile, she looks away, repeats “One, Two, Three” and looks up with a big, bright smile, that turns into a shy smirk seconds later. She pulls out some of the coolest prints and color combinations I’ve seen: a blouse with medieval knights, a skirt with Japanese geishas carrying umbrellas, a colorful, checkered dress she bought for $1 in Hong Kong, 1950s straw beach bags, and tons of other vintage pieces she bought on her travels. She collects just about anything that’s collectible: ceramics, doll heads, “and other body parts of the dolls”, paintings and drawings she finds in flea markets or made by friends, hats, jewelry, metal apples and elephants, a whole cabinet full! “Those are Gonzalo’s. He likes to collect all the things (more that me). At the beginning he collected all types of elephants but after a while he limited himself to only antique elephant toys (and some new too).” Aurora never buys anything on-line “because it’s easy to confuse size or color” and never throws anything away “because if I like it once, I will like it forever.” Dear Aurora, that is the secret.