It’s fairly remarkable when a jewelry designer can say they have been around for 35 years. It is even more remarkable to be a fashionable, on-trend designer and celebrate that anniversary. LAGOS not only celebrates 35 years in jewelry design, but has remained relevant, interesting and trend-setting for its amazing run.
Founder and creative director Steven Lagos is celebrating 35 years with anniversary collections of jewelry, many of which highlight his most iconic design themes over the years. All of the collections are textured, rich in signature details, wearable, and affordable.
I had a chance to see LAGOS collections at the JCK Jewelry Show this year, and connect with Steven Lagos. Bold Signature Caviar was a particular favorite of mine, as I vividly remember his Caviar series in the 1990’s as being an enduring and recognizable aesthetic. It’s been reinvented with a fearless scale that feels very modern.
Muse is a collection centered around sapphire pave and is brilliantly executed with articulated shapes and gorgeous details. Venus is sculptural and lustrous, with special doublet gemstones that give the jewelry amazing depth.
Pirouette and Unlaced collections appear to unwind and unfold sinuously, with unexpected flashes of diamond pave. I was especially impressed with the level of finishing: the open work is incredibly silky and easy to wear.
Derby incorporates some of Steven’s classic aesthetic, executed with incredibly comfortable silver mesh. The clasp details are amazing, and the rings start at $150. This is fine jewelry at a fashion price.
Ombre was simply spectacular, and each piece is one of a kind in its combination and layout of multi-hued gems. Maybe my favorite? Although it’s hard to choose…
Steven Lagos Interview
idazzle.com: How does it feel to be an icon?
Steven Lagos: Really? I never considered myself an “icon”. I still learn new things every day and like to look at everything with an open and free mind. Feeling like an Icon would severely limit creativity. The fashion business requires staying relevant to what is happening today…sometimes what’s happening in the moment! It will always be about staying fresh. It’s good to reflect on your experience but you should never rely on it. I love my job and am proud of my position in the industry.
Ok, I’ll back off on the icon term! 35 years is a long time to design on-trend jewelry! How do you continue to create new and significant designs?
I have been so fortunate in my career to have been successful for a long time. I think the people and the product keep me going. People are drawn to jewelry to feel good and as a symbol of their love. Our customers are and always have been so terrific and passionate about their pieces. We’re part of different milestones in their lives, and this is pretty special.
Although you use other precious metals in your jewelry, what is it about sterling silver that continues to be your muse?
Silver is such a beautiful metal and such has a rich luster. I like that silver oxidizes. It’s natural. This creates more dimension to the pieces…Silver wears and works differently too…because it is soft, Silver will often take on the personality of the wearer with a gentle patina from the way they wear it.
Do you have a favorite anecdote or memory from the past 35 years in the jewelry business?
In thirty five years I have so many favorites. One thing I’ve learned is that our products are eternal. While some customers may pick up a pair of earrings to suit an outfit, others are bought as gifts and are chosen mementos to be a part of a history. These special treasures are worn everyday and become an actual part of people’s lives. Every piece, no matter how simple to us, may become a prized possession with a story that lives on far beyond us all. I think 35 years doing the same thing give me a great respect for timelessness…
You have an amazing roster of designs currently featured in your collection. Do you have a sentimental favorite? Why?
Our signature Caviar design came from a hematite torsade necklace. It was 12 strands of miniature (2mm) beads that were twisted and created a Caviar look. It was different and innovative. This one necklace inspired so much of what we do today. This is our signature design – this has a special place in the LAGOS portfolio.
I remember that necklace! Who is the LAGOS customer or collector through the years?
She varies quite a bit in terms of age. It is amazing to see my daughter and her friends wear LAGOS, as well as my mother. Overall, our customer is a woman who longs for easy sophistication when it comes to her accessories…she values craftsmanship and design, and considers her jewelry special and an integral part of her day to night wardrobe.
Any advice for an up-and-coming jewelry designer?
Stay focused and stick with it. To be a designer you need a look for an identity. It’s an image or feeling the customer gets when they hear your name or see your logo. That recognition only comes from focusing and staying consistent. It takes great discipline to stay true to one idea. Also, it takes time and persistence. I was considered an “overnight success” at 29 years old… However, the truth is at that point I had been in business for 11 years working 80 hour weeks to boot. Let’s just say it was a really long night!
It is hard to top the previous 35 years! What’s next for Steven Lagos?
It’s hard to believe that it has been 35 years. It’s amazing to look back and see what we have accomplished. This said, it is most exciting to look forward. With 35 years behind us we have a lot of experience and momentum. I have so much more I want to do. I’m not sure what the future holds, and yet, this is the most exciting part – this keeps me fully energized and ONLY looking forward.
Thank you, Steven! As you so eloquently said, looking forward is the best perspective, and I can’t wait to see where LAGOS goes from here!