BLISS LAU IN NEW YORK, APRIL 2013. DRESS: DONNA KARAN. ALL JEWELRY: BLISS LAU. STYLING BY JESSICA MYCOCK.
“When the world catches up with me, I like to change,” Bliss Lau says, and for the 32-year-old New York-based designer, exploring uncharted aesthetic territory isn’t just essential, it’s her raison d’être. After introducing her eponymous line of body jewelry in 2007 to a mixed response—”Multiple people laughed at me,” she recalls—Lau waited things out, and her line soon amassed a cult following among buyers for the likes of Saks Fifth Avenue and Florentine concept boutique and online retailer Luisa Via Roma. Raised in Honolulu, Lau studied fashion design at Parsons and sold her thesis collection of handbags to Opening Ceremony and Fred Segal, among others, before transforming her affinity for draping into what she calls a “wardrobe of jewelry.” Meant to be worn either on top of or underneath clothing as an alternative to lingerie, the draped chains draw from the structure and movement of a garment’s seams and are modeled as a second skin, something Lau describes as “sensual armor.” “My focus is based on creating a structure and battling with suspension and gravity,” she says. “I take an idea and I think about less.” Punctuated with braided details, spare black diamonds, and nondescript pavé, Lau’s elegant, architectural styles balance delicacy and strength. Lau—who recently launched the collection Bliss Lau Fine, which uses exclusively fine materials—finds her next experiment, a limited-edition sterling silver chain gown, a natural extension of her design ethos. “I’m going to make some things palatable and I’m going to make some things progressive. Some people are going to jump into it and some people are going to jump away,” Lau says. “I’m just going to wait on it.”
COSMETICS: CK ONE COLOR COSMETICS, INCLUDING 3-IN-1 FACE MAKEUP AND PURE SHINE LIPSTICK IN ALARM, BLOW, AND NAKED; ORLY NAIL PRODUCTS, INCLUDING GLOW. HAIR PRODUCTS: LEONOR GREYL, INCLUDING HUILE DE PALME. HAIR: TAMARA McNAUGHTON FOR LEONOR GREYL/HOME AGENCY. MAKEUP: KRISTI MATAMOROS FOR CK ONE COLOR COSMETICS/KATE RYAN INC. MANICURE: JACKIE SAULSBERY FOR ORLY/KRAMER + KRAMER. PROP STYLING: ABBY WALTON/WALL GROUP. MANICURE ASSISTANT: ARLENE HINCKSON. SPECIAL THANKS: LOFT 402.