To be seduced by chains, and metal, and leather is something maybe only the fans of Bliss Lau can appreciate. This half Chinese half Caucasion (or hapa in Hawaiian), New York--based designer creates jewelry that's sensuality leaves you wanting more...and more, and more and more. Bliss grew up in a family of entrepreneurs in Honolulu, which is why the success of her business comes as no surprise. After moving, sketch book in hand, to New York and studying apparel at Parson's (where she now teaches) Bliss began her career with a handbag collection.
While her handbag collection still carries a part of Blisss past and passion, she felt restricted by the utilitarian requirements of this particular genre of design. With handbags you have to incorporate things like pockets and zippers, but with jewelry all Bliss needed was her desire to create a fantasy, and her fantasy has no boundaries. After draping a chain from one of her handbags across her body one night, Bliss knew the direction she wanted to head. Her intention is clear: to create body jewelry thatmakes you feel good. Pictured above is a piece (the Calder) that does just that. While she was the first at her trade, which began in 2007, this trend has more recently become globally recognized as part of our visual language.
Does it threaten Bliss to see her original idea becoming popular in the designs of others? It doesn't and it shouldn't. With various magazine spreads including a 10 pager in Italian Vogue, she is truly a master of her trade. As she said, "If I know anything at all..lets hope its how to drape a piece of metal!!" And just speaking to Bliss you get this strong sense of self. She has this reservation that can appear intimidating but is just defining of her authenticity. She seems to have found herself in her jewelry. However, just as sand travels through an hour glass (the shape that inspired the piece above) securing that confidence takes time.
Bliss describes designing as a visceral experience. Resting her outfitted hand overher sketch book you can literally see her design come to life. She is heavily inspired by New York architecture as seen by the design of the Chrysler bracelet, pictured above, which was influenced by the Chrysler Building. It's one of my favorites, but that doesnt mean Bliss's work is everyone's favorite. Commenting on consumer opinions she advised, "You have to listen to what people say...But you also have to go with your gut...I have to know what I want my jewelry to stand for." She does everything with integrity and of her own mind. She delicately nurtures every collection, and while she confides that living through an unsuccessful collection is the worst experience, it teaches a designer how to bounce back and be flexible in order to "give the world what it wants, right now."
Just like she takes leather on a journey through the shrinking, stretching, burning, etc., she takes her followers on a journey. She translates New York architecture into jewelry, taking advantage of earth's gravitational pull to drape chains and leather so they lay perfectly on the body, just like the Brooklyn Bridge is so perfectly suspended by its draped framework. Like the piece above, you can wear some of her jewelry multiple ways. You can wear it underneath your clothing over purely skin, or on top of your clothing to truly showcase it. Either way you decide to wear it one thing is for sure: you are going to feel different...and sexy. Bliss's creativity is contagious and her passion for her work is enviable. I am constantly finding it to be true that New York is a place for risk takers. So how appropriate that her jewelry has found such popularity with people here--people who want to be different and are willing to take a risk.