PHOENIX – When it comes to beautiful baubles, emerging brand Melis Accessories creates a bevy of crave-worthy jewels including necklaces, bracelets, and rings – fashioned from an array of textiles including natural stones, leather hides, and assorted hardware. The line, which launched in 2000 featuring hair accessories, has a chic and edgy aesthetic, from oversize leather cuffs embellished with gemstones to metal charm necklaces in classic shapes like hearts and stars. The designs would be perfect coordinated with fall’s favorite moto and biker jacket. I recently caught up with designer Melis Cohen to discuss her line and design inspiration.
What motivated you to launch Melis Accessories?
Melis Accessories launched after I created a line of toe rings for fun. I hadn't really decided to sell them yet, but the owner of a small store that I went into on vacation in Florida, noticed them on my toes and got really excited. She wanted to order some for her store. Her initial order of 35 toe rings sold out in the first day. She suggested that I exhibit at the Atlanta Shoe Show … For three days my little temporary booth was packed. I wrote more orders than I could have imagined, even selling to some department stores. I was the only vendor there with toe rings, so other reps from popular lines like Guess and Luchiny were bringing their clients to me. It was crazy madness and I loved it. From that moment on, Melis was officially launched.
Describe the quintessential Melis girl.
I feel the quintessential Melis girl is actually in all of us. She is the quiet girl who is trying to step out of her box and make a bold statement; she is the conservative girl that wants to break out of her shell and show a bit of her wild side; she is the simple girl who doesn't want to be noticed but has an amazing sense of style; she is the rocker girl who wants to stand out and be noticed all the time; she is the girl that has that special style we all admire. She is the rockstar in all of us!
What inspires your designs?
I have to say I am truly inspired by color and textures. My ideas always begin with something raw that I see; a material, a stone, a piece of art or sculpture. I also get inspired when I find a void in an accessory that I want but cannot find.
Describe your design process?
My designing really begins with an idea and the medium I choose comes second. The design process determines the medium. I always say that there is something about an artist’s mind that allows us to see and create without barriers. There are challenges and we always find the solutions.
What's your favorite piece and why?
My favorite piece right now has to be my Skins Journal Wrap Cuff. It looks, wraps and ties like a journal and you can write in it like a journal. Write a special message, quote, or memory for a birthday, anniversary, graduation, loss or recovery. You can wear it close to you, always, and look like a rockstar at the same time.
If you could design a piece for anyone past or present, who would it be and what would you create?
This is a tough one for there are just so many choices. I grew up watching old movies with my father and still live in the comfort of the classics. I would have to say I would love to design a leather cuff for Brigitte Bardot. I grew up always admiring her because she is so beautiful and strong and had amazing style. I believe there just might be an inner Bridgette Bardot in me that wants to come out.
Melis shares 3 accessory tips to keep on your radar:
Less is more. One statement piece of jewelry is all that you need. It is clean and chic and creates a dynamic look. You don't want to make your accessories battle it out for attention.
Stay true to your personal style. Whether you know your personal style or are still creating it, don't feel the pressure to stay with the trends. Wear what you love, wear what makes you feel amazing, and wear what makes you, you.
Accessories are expression. They are so important in changing a look dramatically. Take a pair of jeans and a white button down for example. Change the accessories and you will have never ending expression.
What song should be the anthem for Melis?
"Turn the Page" by Bob Seger … on some level, the song speaks of sacrifices you make living your dream and how you continue to turn the page in the story of your life. There is such a long road in an artist’s journey, and creating is a part of your soul. No matter the sacrifices, rejections and people and things you have to give up to live your dream, you always continue to turn the page and live the next chapter.
If you were a Chic Spy Agent, what would be your code name?
Agent Crystal Stone
For more information on Melis Accessories, visit melis.com.
The Chic Spy
(Images courtesy of Melis Cohen)