Bliss Lau represents the juxtaposition of culture, design and aesthetic; seeking to blur the lines between garment and accessory. All of her pieces are created and designed three dimensionally using traditional garment draping techniques resulting in distinct body jewelry.
You originally launched a handbag collection out of Parsons. What made you transition to jewelry?
I studied apparel and initially thought I would be a clothing designer, then discovered handbags and realized that I could play more with shapes and lines by taking the design away from the body and just focusing on form.
I had a mannequin in my studio leftover from school, and began draping some thin chains on the form and ended up making a top. I didn’t know how to finish the jewelry so I just used leather findings to make the first body-chain.
I immediately fell in love with the freedom, it allowed me to be so much more creative than designing handbags, the possibilities are endless. I love designing jewelry and making something that can be worn on the skin.
What are you thoughts on the price points of handbags now and the buzz built around them?
A handbag really is a tiny work of utilitarian art. I think that the seemingly inflated cost of handbags these days is completely merited, so much thought, design, strategy, testing and then craftsmanship must go into a handbag for it to reach the outside world and then to last.
We can all buy cheap handbags, they may have a huge amount of detail and false-precision but in the end those bags will just join the landfill. I think there is a huge separation now between the high end and the low end. It is very hard to create any in-between because of how strenuous it is to develop and make a bag.
Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration for your jewelry.
I usually start each season with a goal of how I will allow my client to enjoy their favorite part of the body and draw attention to it. Then I begin asking questions about how to do that and what that part of the body represents.
If it is a finger then I might ask myself why do we wear jewelry? How can I make that experience a little bit more fun or unique? Or if I am thinking about the neck, to me this is an incredibly sensitive and sensual part of the body that is almost always exposed to the world. That fact alone launches me into a specific direction of designing.
You’ve been designing body jewelry since 2007, was it as popular as it is now?
At that time nobody was doing it, people were scared of it! Some of them would just laugh when they saw the collection. It’s amazing that now it’s considered a norm, I had to fight to get here.
Who is your customer? Does she need to be a certain size to fit into some of the pieces?
When I launched the first body jewelry collection, the first thing I did was make all the jewelry in sizes. I firmly believe all women are beautiful, tall and thin or short and voluptuous, we should all be able to fit into the jewelry. If I have a piece that is too small or too big for a client I always try my best to make adjustments.
Is there potential for a RTW collection at some point in the future?
I design objects, for the body or the table or to be hung on a wall. I am not meant to create the primary form, I can ornament and be the accouterment to it. I don’t foresee ever creating a ready to wear collection.
How often do you get requests to use your pieces in editorials? Do you still get excited by the placement?
Of course!! I get excited whenever I see someone wearing a piece and of course press is so much fun and always exciting. We get weekly requests for editorials it’s wonderful!
Is there a publication you feel represents your brand best?
I design different items for different bodies, and personalities as well as ages, I could never say that one object or placement is better than another. Recently my Fathom Ring received press on engagement rings and there was a piece in V Magazine with Naomi Campbell dancing in my leather gesture skirt…both of those were perfect, it’s always changing.
Are you currently working on any special projects?
YES, always! I just came out with a custom limited edition fine jewelry piece with Dream The End (www.dreamtheend.com) studio for their Lunacy Edition of the online monthly magazine. It was inspired by the super-moon on May 5th, I call it Ray of The Moon…. For my Spring 2012 online campaign I worked with a brilliant young illustrator who I discovered, Heather Benjamin. She illustrated a magical naughty character wearing my jewelry in different situations…I also recently collaborated with furniture designer, Kenon Perry, who is a brilliant engineer. We share a common love of geometric shapes and worked to create a table for the Museum of Art and Design Gala inspired by Bacchus the Roman god of madness, ecstacy and wine… it was a vintage table cut in half and connected to an infinity mirror. If you are sitting at the table it looks like it goes on forever…. Challenging the experience of eating alone.
What was the last custom piece you made? Who was it for?
I recently customized the Zelda Bra for Chanel Iman, she is so sweet it (of course) looks great on her!
What technique do you use for the braiding of your hair? Is it your signature style?
I suppose it’s just one of my favorite things to do. I wake up, I braid my hair… it’s just like when I first created the piece of body-jewelry when I was procrastinating and didn’t feel like making bags at that moment. It’s nice to take a second and braid my hair before the ‘real’ day starts!