Tag Archives: robert lee morris

Robert’s Muse

Collection by Robert Lee Morris / Modeled by Taylor Livingston / Styling by Kelly Framel / Shot in Mid-Town Manhattan September 2012

One thing Robert Lee Morris is is a true artist. He has not only received two CFDA awards for accessory design but was also awarded the CFDA’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007.  After digging around his studio, we had to bring some of the history to life. Modeled by our beautiful friend Taylor Livingston and styled by Kelly Framel, Robert took us through the stories and inspiration of his collection of art we call accessories.

Above image: “The long earring was a handmade, one-of-a-kind construction meant to evoke the feel of a water spout, or gingko leaf.”

Below image: Headpiece designed for a Kansai Yamamoto show, made of natural blonde horsehair; this piece was worn by every model on his Spring 1983 runway at once.

Above & below, on the breastplate: “I made it to form fit the body of Sayoko, which she wore as the bride, the finale look, under a massive embroidered coat while also wearing a very high crown I made of golden wings, formed from the reconfigured struts of a Japanese umbrella, set on a metal headband and sprayed with gold dust. This piece is incredibly special as it was the one item that I showed at the FIT museum show called IMPACT, which commemorated the 50 year anniversary of the CFDA.”

 Below image: “That belt is a brass disc with a square center ~ inspired by Chinese coins ~ and I made it as part of my belt license in the early 90′s. I believed in a form of body language, where a big disc at the waist was protection for the belly, the third chakra, the power of action and doing.”

 Above image: “The inspiration was futuristic armor, and it turned out to be one of the most beloved of my major headpieces for Kansai, very well-photographed for years after. This bubble collar was a version of the one that graced my very first cover of Vogue…this was one of the iconic pieces that helped build my early brand image.”

Robert created 12 of these headdresses, one for each model in the Kansai Yamamoto Fall 1982 shows in Paris, New York, and Tokyo.

Above image: “This green patina jumbo disc belt was made for the Calvin Klein Fall 1981 show; the inspiration was moss-colored river stones, Ireland, and the emeralds of Africa. I have kept this piece very safe and in mint condition since that show.”

Above image: “The mask was made from a mannequin of Sayoko Yamaguchi, the supermodel of the early 80′s and the muse of Kansai Yamamoto. I love this one because of the unique green patina and how the area of the eyes is left as brass. This was part of a limited production of masks that I sold at Artwear.”

From 1977-1995, Robert Lee Morris founded and ran Artwear Gallery, dedicated to showcasing wearable sculptures in the same sort of context as contemporary art.

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In the Studio With

Shot on September 4, 2012 at Robert Lee Morris's Studio on black and white Tri-x 400 film and 35mm Pentax Camera

A moment of crazy fun turned into a dramatic coronation.”

On a rainy day in Manhattan, I walked into the studio of Robert Lee Morris and all of a sudden, like a scene from a musical, we were pulling out drawers and drawers of jewelry!  accessories! belts! crowns! cuffs!… a whole lifetime of creating extraordinary, one-of-a-kind pieces for the world’s top designers. “This walked down Calvin Klein’s runway and oh yes! This walked down Donna Karan’s!”

All around the studio were artifacts from travels, books for inspiration, sculptures and studies on the human form, work benches, sketch boards, mood boards, old ad campaigns and editorals framed and leaning on one another – layered through time and history. Taylor, Kelly & I were like giddy little girls finding treasures while Robert told all the wonderful fairytales that accompany each of his masterful pieces.

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