2 posts tagged "Robert Lee Morris"
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. Style.com 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 www.robertleemorris.com.
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” »