Future Vintage: Robert Lee Morris

Posted by Jeffrey
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Robert Lee Morris in his Studio, Photo by Jamie Beck.

Editors note: its almost a misnomer to call Robert's work "future vintage" since his pieces are already collectible and his career long enough that he has a foot planted firmly in the past and present. His work will only become more valuable as time passes!


ac·ces·so·ry …….noun \ik-ˈse-sə-rē, ak-, ek-, -ˈses-rē, also ə-ˈse-\ : Something added to something else to make it more useful, attractive, or effective

Apparently Robert Lee Morris has defied the dictionary definition of what constitutes an accessory. Mr. Morris is perhaps a pioneer (pillar of fashion) or maybe the founding father of what has become an irreplaceable and huge integral part of the fashion business on an international stage….

Once considered “bridge jewelry” or semi-precious, he has single handedly elevated its status by showing the world that the classification of sterling silver jewelry could stand on its own as a category and not just as a means of enhancing apparel or as a sub category to fashion jewelry. His enduring career was solidified in 1978 when he opened Artwear in Soho and has remained omnipresent in the world of jewelry and accessories ever since.

During his illustrious career he has contributed to the collections of Kansai Yamamoto, Calvin Klein, Anne Klein, Karl Lagerfeld, Michael Kors, the Olsens and Donna Karan. Most notably is his long lasting collaboration with Ms. Karan.

In my opinion Robert Lee Morris is a living legend of the fashion business and it is my pleasure to have had the opportunity to “get inside” his head. One more in my series of meet and greet sessions with great personalities who dwell in the world of fashion.


Jeffrey Felner: What is the most treasured possession in your wardrobe?
Robert Lee Morris:
Most treasured possession in my wardrobe: my oversized down coat from Donna Karan’s men’s line from years ago. It is the best winter coat ever.

What is your most sterling trait and what trait do you treasure most in your friendships?
My most sterling trait from myself and in my friendships is the ability to become a light of inspiration and love to whoever is around me.

What is your bliss?
My bliss is my work, my “job” of designing and making with my own hands, jewelry that comes to me in clear visions out of the blue.

What is your guilty secret?
My guilty secret is a passion for Cronuts.

What’s your advice to the “newcomer?”
My advice to any “newcomer” is to research deeply the field of fashion you are interested to grow into. Know what has been done before to avoid unintentional plagiarism.

Who or what is your inspiration/style icon?
My style Icon, source of masculine inspiration is Paul Bettany.

What is the best advice you ever received?
The best advice I ever received was from my original art dealer who told me to use my whole name (including the Lee) as my brand name. There already existed a famous Robert Morris artist when I entered my career in NY.

If you won a $200,000,000 power ball (lottery), what is the first thing you would buy or do?
With a $200,000 lottery prize I would buy gold coins and put them in a small treasure box so I could run my fingers thru the coins every day. Like Uncle Scrooge.

If you could invite up to 4 people for dinner, who would they be…dead or alive?
I would invite the following people to dinner Oscar Wilde, Picasso, Jennifer Lawrence and Ru Paul.

Whose opinion do you value most and why?
I value my wife’s opinion above everyone else’s. She has an uncanny knowing…

What’s your take on magazines, books versus the internet?
I read nearly all my books digitally on my iPad or laptop, but not magazines. I enjoy the physical appeal of them.

Do you have a dream collaborator?
My dream collaborator is Donna Karan…dreams come true.

What is your crowning achievement thus far in your career?
My crowning glory achievement thus far in my career was the being awarded The Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement award in 2007, my third CFDA award...

What’s your music library like?
My music library is heavily new age, meditation, exotic world music. I don't listen to much POP but certain massively  successful pop bands like Imagine Dragons, Dark heavy masculine sounds, emotional sounds like Staind, Depeche Mode, , joyful new age mixes like Alcyon Massive, Balligomingo, Lourde, or mournful soul of Band of Horses, but little of Beyoncé, Dr. Dre, JayZ, Rhianna, anything having to do with Kim Kardashian's world...

What and where is your favorite meal?
My favorite meal is Feijoada Completa, black rice and beans, with smoked and exotic Brazilian meats, with the odd white toasted flour called Farofa that you sprinkle on like sawdust...its hauntingly delicious and the mainstay of Brazil. I went to high school in Rio and was served the best Feijoada, always accompanied with a cold Guarana' over ice.  The Filet Mignon was always called an "alto" because of the extreme highest of the filet as it stood on your plate, medium rare from Argentina....only in Brazil can you find these magical carnivorous restaurants called Brazilian steakhouses, Churascurias...a most distinctive flavor only found in Rio.


Robert Lee Morris, 1970s.


Shot on September 4, 2012 at Robert Lee Morris's Studio from annstreetstudio.com


Some of Morris' jewels.


Michelle Obama, Alicia Keys & Chrissy Teigen - all wearing necklaces by Robert Lee Morris.

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