The eccentric-looking design team for Maximal Art jewelry staked out a corner of Greta's, the Beverly Hills boutique, to display its latest collection.
Wearing dark, costume-like clothes and their own estate-size jewelry assemblages of antique watch faces and lorgnette-like magnifying glasses, they seemed like a couple from a Charles Dickens novel.
One of them, John Wind, pinned a chatelaine--a long chain with a watch face attached--to his jacket. It stretched from his breast pocket to his hip. The other, Hillary Jay, said actress Christie Brinkley owned the watch-face earrings with the gold saxophones from their latest collection, and Carolina Herrera, the fashion designer, used the lorgnette earrings with the pearls and bows as accessories for her recent New York show.
They say they buy the raw materials for their jewelry at flea markets from here to London. They live in Philadelphia, but West Coast women are their best customers. "Californians have a very good sense of humor," Jay explains.
Maximal Art hand-made jewelry is available at Greta in Beverly Hills, Faux in Los Angeles and Apropos in Woodland Hills.
Morris--Robert Lee Morris, the opposite of a Maximal stylist, wore a silver-polishing glove for a visit to Rodeo Drive. At the Miriam Rubins boutique, he dusted his jewelry and put it on the shelves as carefully as if he were installing an art exhibit. Morris is known for his unique styles in metal, but he widened his reputation in the past year when he made commercial jewelry to accessorize clothes by Donna Karan, the New York-based fashion designer.
Now, he says, "I'll probably retreat from mass production at the end of my two-year contract."
Her influence turned his head from "clean and non-decorative" to "draping, sensuous and organic," he says. He's too much of a purist for that. His idea of jewelry is what Picasso designed--or Alexander Calder--or Man Ray.
"I want to take jewelry to the museum level," he says.
Morris founded New York's Artwear jewelry store and wears a gold link bracelet from his own collection, even when he dusts.