Byline: Karen Robinovitz
British musician-turned-designer Simon Sassoon made a deal with himself: If he didn’t make it in music by the time he was 27, he would do something totally different.
In 1989, Sassoon, who specialized in R&B and classical music, cut a deal with Motown, but it fell through soon after — when he was 27. The deadline was passed.
“Two days later, I woke up thinking ‘watches,’ and started to design,” said Sassoon, who is now 35. He began his career in fashion by selling plastic watches on Venice Beach in California, and last year he officially launched Shape, a collection of accessories.
“I wanted to go more upscale, as I was influenced by European culture,” said Sassoon, who is a nephew of hair stylist Vidal Sassoon. So over the next six years, Sassoon started to build his collection, and last March he signed on with the Apropo showroom.
Inspired by the Bauhaus art movement, music, hard contours and artistic lines, “like the vibe of Frank Lloyd Wright,” Sassoon’s designs are clean and minimal. He works with materials such as sterling silver, croco-embossed leathers and PVC, and all the watches are equipped with Swiss movements and hands imported from France.
There are five “shape” groups in the collection — Simplicity, the circle; Harmony, the square; Absolute, the ellipsis; Precision, the rectangle, and Equilibrium, an eclectic range of unusual shapes. There are more than 60 styles in all.
The business has evolved to include a number of other categories, and sales this year are expected to be $1.2 million.
Sassoon branched out with “accessories for life” — money clips, flasks, cigar cases, pens, key chains and other little necessities.
Shape is carried at Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, Henri Bendel and Giorgio of Beverly Hills. Wholesale prices range from $70 for leather bands to $350 for a heavy sterling bracelet band watch.