NEW YORK — Two and half years ago, when Michael Aram was walking on the beach in Bridgehampton, N.Y., with his two children, he fixated on something most people would have hardly noticed.
“I saw this sleek, windswept black feather, about six inches long, that was so ravaged by the weather yet still so graceful, so beautiful, and powerful in its way,” Aram recalled. “It really touched me.”
It became one of his design inspirations for the fine-jewelry collection that Aram launched Monday at his namesake flagship at 136 West 18th Street here and on a new Web site, michaelaramjewelry.com. The jewelry launches at Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale’s later this month, and in September at Louis Anthony Jewelers, an independent jeweler in Pittsburgh.
The 135-piece gold and silver fine-jewelry collection has five groupings — black orchid, molten, feather, enchanted forest and botanical — reflecting Aram’s creative process. It’s rooted in a realistic take on nature, not a fantasized one. “My whole work is finding the beauty in imperfection,” Aram told WWD.
Aram is widely known for his tableware, decorative home objects, metal work and sculpture. He points out that the company is 25 years old this year, and that expanding the design repertoire into jewelry is a fitting way to mark the occasion.
An American of Armenian descent, Aram visited India in 1988, when he walked the back streets of New Delhi and discovered craftsmen working with raw metal and creating buckets, scissors and shovels — everyday objects to some people, but to Aram, art. He started collaborating with the craftsmen on his designs, incorporating their techniques. Aram maintains a workshop in Noida, India, and another workshop above his Manhattan store. Jacmel is licensed to manufacture Aram’s jewelry.
He continues to utilize traditional methods, creating rings, for example, with stones backed with different sheaths of 18-karat gold to give the stones unusual auras. The technique, Aram said, is inspired by old Indian jewelry backed in metal foil.
Overall, the jewelry plays off the botanical motifs seen in Aram’s “twig” cutlery, “river rock” votives, and metallic web screens and other home products, rich in inspiration from the woods, gardens, mountains, ponds and oceans, and often literal in their interpretations, be it a banana or monstera leaf or a bird feather.
In the jewelry collection, Aram incorporates the feather motif, for example, into cuff bracelets, earrings, rings and necklaces created in 18-karat gold and black rhodium–plated sterling silver with black or white diamonds. There are also rings with overlapping botanical leaves in yellow gold; “vine” earrings with rose gold, smoky quartz and diamonds; and sterling-silver “bark” bangles with black diamonds. Prices range from $325 for a sterling-silver ring to $16,900 for an 18-karat-gold feather cuff with diamonds.
“Michael has translated his iconic home goods into jewelry and that really is the key to the success of the line,” said Charles Levy, Bloomingdale’s divisional merchandise manager for fine jewelry. “Michael’s jewelry will appeal to new customers and there will be a crossover customer. Michael has a very large following in our stores. A lot of his clients are collectors. They just don’t buy one piece.”
Bloomingdale’s is primarily purchasing Aram’s 18-karat-gold pieces, which have molton, handcrafted beads and accents of diamonds and will be housed in fine jewelry near Roberto Coin, Temple St. Clair and Marco Bicego.
Neiman’s, on the other hand, will emphasize the sterling silver. “We were really intrigued by his entry into jewelry,” said Ann Stordahl, Neiman’s senior vice president and general merchandise manager over precious jewelry, designer jewelry and beauty. “Both his talent and craftsmanship are unusual in his use of organic materials and shapes. There’s a good synergy between what he does in home and in jewelry. The quality of the merchandise in sterling silver, 18-karat gold and precious stones is excellent. All of his pieces have meaning behind them. There’s a lot of symbolism.”
“What he has done at Vuitton is really exceptional,” said @gameofthrones’ actress Gwendoline Christie on @mrkimjones’ final show for @louisvuitton. “He has rebooted luxury in terms of making it commercial, viable and contemporary. And most importantly artistic. He has never compromised his artistic vision for the sake of commodity.” (📷: @zefashioninsider)
After seeing a demand for men’s wear from its customers, British contemporary women’s wear label @ariesarise has added a men’s wear component and will launch a unisex collection with @mrporterlive. The 20-piece collection includes jackets, denim, logo T-shirts and more with deconstructed ‘90s vibes. Set to launch on January 18, you can shop the pieces on Aries’ website and on mrporter.com. #wwdfashion
“And so spending so much time with a character who thinks like that, inevitability you try and analyze yourself and go back and think about your own demons and dark chapters that you had in your life,” says @thedanielbruhl of his role in TNT’s “The Alienist.” The show, set in the Gilded Age of New York, also stars Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans. Head to WWD.com to read about how 39-year-old Brühl prepared for the role and why he thinks the show is so relevant to today #wwdeye ( 📷: @Eriktanner)
Now that Celine Dion’s collection has topped $10 million in sales, the pop superstar, fashion icon and newly-minted industry player is eyeing growth in Asia. Read the full report by @tiffanyap, link in bio. #wwdnews #celinedion
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
Among the familiar faces at @off____white’s show was a surprise figure: Japanese artist @takashipom, pictured here on Wednesday morning. Other show-goers included @jerrylorenzo, who spoke about his upcoming project: a @nike collaboration for back to school, with designs inspired by his childhood on the West Coast. Sitting in the front row were Future, Don Crawley, @miguel and more. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: Stephane Feugere)
According to @laurentsai, former “Terrace House: Aloha State” cast member, she didn’t know she was auditioning for the Japanese version of “Real World.” “I was telling a couple of my friends and someone’s like, ‘That sounds a lot like Terrace House.’ I was like, ’No it can’t be.’” Turns out, it was. But Tsai isn’t just a reality star — she’s an illustrator who has worked with Starbucks Japan and most recently, she’s dipping her toes into the fashion world. Head to WWD.com to read about her time on the show, modeling and her art. #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
More changes are coming to New York Fashion Week: Beginning with the spring 2019 collection, @alexanderwangny will move his New York show to June from September, adopting a biannual schedule with collections shown in June and December. Additionally, the @cfda is planning for an official summer/winter fashion season taking place as soon as June and December 2018. Read more about the upcoming changes on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @slovekinpics)