“Everything is about documenting lives and memories and being a storyteller. That’s what I am,” said Monica Rich Kosann, the wispy designer-photographer.
She was standing in her new shop inside Bergdorf Goodman, which is really the first true expression of her growing business and her design philosophy. Kosann’s collection of gold and sterling jewelry and home decor accessories offers a modern take on vintage pieces, and exudes sentimentality. “It’s all very personal,” Kosann said. “Why not wear your story close to your heart? Wear a locket. It’s sexy. It’s mysterious.”
The 400-square-foot Monica Rich Kosann shop is the only space on Bergdorf’s seventh floor selling jewelry, and also stands out because of its muted taupey tones and boudoirlike velvet-padded display cases evoking jewelry boxes. There’s a spectrum of product and prices, from $16 writing pads to $200,000 one-of-a-kind lockets designed around precious stones selected by the client. The jewelry, in gold and sterling silver, comes in three main categories: lockets; charm-focused styles and jewelry accessory pieces including layering necklaces and bracelets, earrings and rings. The look is “very classic, elegant and timeless,” so the jewelry becomes heirlooms, Kosann said. Among her most popular pieces are the $2,500 “carpe diem” charm necklace in gold and rock crystal and the “my earth” necklace where clients can have diamonds placed wherever they choose. There are also gold photo-case charms, priced at $1,150; diamond “baby feet” charms, priced at $2,900, and gold chains in different sizes. For the new shop, Kosann has added jewelry boxes, stationery, calling cards, leather journals and candles. She’s even created a new marigold logo on a white background.
“To think that 10 years ago I started at Bergdorf’s on a little shelf, two feet by two feet, with some image cases, inspired by vintage cigarette cases and powder compacts. It was a crazy idea,” Kosann recalled. From there, Kosann got into picture frames and other home accessories, and eventually jewelry, which currently represents 85 percent of her collection.
Aside from Bergdorf’s, Kosann sells at Neiman Marcus, London Jewelers, Mitchells, Lane Crawford, Isetan and Tsum — 100 doors in all, she said. Kosann also designs handbags, sold on Bergdorf’s first floor, and she continues with her black-and-white photography.
“Monica’s business has blossomed from an initial focus on frames and lockets to a full jewelry line,” said Joshua Schulman, president of Bergdorf’s, which he said has the first and only Kosann shop. With her “unique sense of style celebrating the values of family and tradition…she’s poised to become a full lifestyle brand.”