Last night JCK Art Director Todd Gast and I went to the launch party celebrating Robert Lee Morris’s new Andy Warhol collection. We left inspired (as always) by Robert’s talent and passion, happy to have met some fascinating new artists and industry types, and, okay, slightly giddy from the mix of two glasses of champagne and the sheer energy in the room.
It was one of those magical New York nights: so warm for December that the streets were bursting with activity, so I walked rather than cabbing it home. As I soaked in the Big Apple and the Empire State Building’s festive green and red lights floating above it, I reflected on its art (Warhol’s) and the ever-evolving role of fine jewelry in both fashion and pop culture—which this new quintessentially New York collection illustrates.
The fete—held at the Robert Lee Morris store in SoHo—introduced the new collection to the media, and the general consensus among all who passed the threshold was: “Wow.”
Upon entering the store, the entire wall of cases was filled with two collections that are bold, Mod, and definitively Warhol-inspired, but all with Robert’s signature touch. Warhol’s sayings and favorite symbols drive the collections (one high-end, with primarily one-of-a-kind pieces, and one a lower-priced production version). Each piece is inscribed with one of the artist’s famous saying, as is the packaging (boxes, for example, bear the Warhol quote: “Art is what you can get away with.”)
Perhaps the coolest element of this jewelry line—and what makes it even more special than the T-shirts, watches, and various other Andy Warhol items currently being launched in this very Warholian moment in time—is the personal friendship Robert had with the late artist. He told me last night of their long history, and it is clear that gives Robert special pride in these pieces.
“This jewelry is all Andy,” he says. “He would love it!”
Most is silver, which allows surprisingly affordable pricepoints, even for the one-of-a-kind pieces. As Lester Friedlander, president of Clover Corp. (which owns the Robert Lee Morris brand) told me, add the prices to the youthful flavor of the Mod-inspired motifs, and the collection is poised to capture teen and 20-something fashionistas who have the taste, but not the bank accounts for traditional fine jewelry. Brilliant, I say.
That’s not to say the collection doesn’t have much wider appeal. Proof of that? Well, Todd and I walked away with a serious wish list. On mine: the one-of-a-kind oversized cuff with the word “Fragile” cut out; his: the dollar sign motif bracelet. (Santa, are you listening??)