MORRIS ON THE MOVE: Although he closed his Artwear store and gallery this month, Robert Lee Morris plans to continue promoting accessories industry talent.
"A lot of people in the industry have had a very difficult time coming to terms with the closing and, ultimately, I ended up giving everyone a pep talk and telling them that it was a positive step for me," said Morris, who had operated Artwear -- a venue for up-and-coming jewelry designers -- from 1977 until its closing, Jan. 9.
Morris continues to operate his signature New York boutique at 409 West Broadway, near the Artwear site, and has projects such as accessories licensing agreements on his agenda. But he is also staying involved in boosting public awareness of accessories designers, this time in a project for the Council of Fashion Designers of America.
Morris is producing the CFDA's first accessories resource book, a guide that will include information and merchandise shots from the 40 accessories members of the organization, who are funding the book.
"We're hoping something like this will bring national awareness to some of the real hidden talents we have in the CFDA, accessories designers who may not have such high profiles outside New York," said Morris.
Morris credited handbag designer Carlos Falchi as being instrumental in coordinating activities such as the book and also an accessories trend presentation that will be shown April 10 at the Josephine Pavilion in Bryant Park as part of the New York fall collections.
"Carlos is one of the members who has always been active in rallying the efforts of the accessories designers," Morris explained. "When the idea for the resource book came up, I kind of got recruited."
WINNING WAYS: Two trendsetting designers, Isaac Mizrahi and Judith Leiber, are receiving much recognition this year as leaders in the accessories field.
Mizrahi is being lauded for his footwear by the Italian Trade Commission and the Italian Footwear Manufacturers Association, which have jointly named him the designer recipient of the 1994 Michelangelo Shoe Award. The sportswear designer is relatively new to footwear, having launched his line only last November.
A Stella McCartney sketch of a custom dress made from protein-based silk in partnership with biotech lab Bolt Threads. The dress will be displayed at The Museum of Modern Art's upcoming design exhibition, "Items: Is Fashion Modern?"