August 28 2014

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2 posts tagged "Robert Lee Morris"

Costume Drama: Robert Lee Morris On The Relaunch Of His Namesake Brand


Robert Lee Morris. The first name—or three—in costume jewelry blazed a new path for contemporary fashion accessories when he launched his namesake collection in 1971 with big, bold, tribal-inspired pieces that attracted the attention of retailers, press, and fellow designers. He went on to collaborate with some—Calvin Klein, Karl Lagerfeld, and most famously Donna Karan, with whom he designed jewelry for 28 of her collections. After a brief stint in the fine jewelry sector, Morris is now relaunching his eponymous brand with Haskell Jewels (as in Miriam). The prices are lower—ranging from $150 to $1,000—but the iconic RLM look is all the same. sat down with Morris to talk old days, newcomers, and what stood between him and Tom Ford, and to take an exclusive first look at a few of his new pieces.

Robert Lee Morris relaunches this September at Bergdorf Goodman, Kirna Zabête, Morris’ Soho store, and

How is this collection different from anything else you’ve done?
The thing that makes this collection different is that it is primarily affordable. It’s constructed of solid cast brass, which is a wonderful metal; I’ve always used brass in everything I’ve ever made, because I can get big, bold shapes and I can do anything with it. With the economy being what it is, it makes more sense to shift my entire direction towards the affordability and my desire to want more people to have my work, and that’s the big difference. I’m able to distribute my work at a much more affordable price without losing its signature look.

How has the costume jewelry industry changed since you got started 40 years ago?
It’s come full circle. When I started, it was the beginning of a revolution that I was very much a part of. Similar ideas were happening in Japan, Europe, and America—of creating jewelry that was challenging and full of content. That was the beginning of the designer-artist jewelry movement. That has never died, though it’s certainly had some low points. When I started, it was a heyday and opened many doors; retailers went crazy for it. Then in the nineties we had the complete opposite: All shows of wealth became a no-no. The recession hit hard, the Gulf War was going on, the stock market crashed. Everything that was fabulous and wild in the eighties came to a screeching halt. Nobody wanted to spend money on anything that wasn’t just pure “meat and potatoes” safe, and my range of the jewelry business collapsed. Then in 1995, Tom Ford at Gucci started showing Halston-esque, sexy, body-hugging clothing, and the next thing you know, we’re back in business. It was a revival and we didn’t do anything. I didn’t think I was even old enough to have a revival. The creativity is still not 100 percent back yet, but there’s been a slow return in costume jewelry of big, bold, fun-to-wear, wacky, crazy things. Designers who were once subtle are kicking it up ten notches to crazy. Continue Reading “Costume Drama: Robert Lee Morris On The Relaunch Of His Namesake Brand” »

Designers Offer A Few Precious Metals


This Fall, New York’s Museum of Arts and Design celebrates its second anniversary. The traditional gift for such an occasion, as any bride can tell you, is metal, so that’s what the museum’s well-wishers are offering: All manner of metal art, jewelry, clothes, and craft, which will be sold at its annual gala on October 18th to raise money for its educational programs. Arts and design being top of mind for the fashion set as well as fine artists, plenty of style-world types are involved: The host committee for the Metal Ball includes Chris Benz, Duckie Brown‘s Steven Cox and Daniel Silver, Pamela Love, Mandy Coon, and (full disclosure) yours truly. The list of artists donating is even more impressive. Richard Meier, Michael Stipe, Rogan Gregory, and Robert Lee Morris have all donated metal items for the cause; I’ve got my eye on the enormous metal urn (left), contributed by designer-cum-interiors-guru Rick Owens. It’ll go perfectly with that one-ton Owens alabaster bed I’ve had my eye on. For tickets and more information, visit

Photo: Courtesy of MAD