ME&ROíS STAR TURN 
Me&Ro is having its big-screen moment.

The New York-based jewelry design firm has created a collection of hair combs for the film "Memoirs of a Geisha," which Columbia Pictures plans to release Dec. 9.

By Sophia Chabbott, WWD 8/22/05

Colleen Atwood, costume designer for the movie, called on Robin Renzi, designer of Me&Ro, to develop the sculptural and organic combs. Atwood said the pieces are integral to telling the story, based on the novel by Arthur Golden, of one of Kyotoís most renowned geishas.

"Hair ornamentation is part of the geisha language," Atwood said. "It depicts season and sometimes honor. Itís a subtle show of elegance and wealth."

Renzi went to Japan before designing the combs to study the art of the geisha and absorb the culture. "I had to stand in the cherry blossoms that were described in the book to get the full effect," she said.

The combs-there are five designs-reflect Renziís source of inspiration. One style features an abundant cluster of brushed silver and gold flowers and coral beads from which hang multiple silver chains of linked smaller flowers. Another style uses a spiky grouping of silver foil flowers that resemble stylized chrysanthemums.

Barneys New York will begin selling the combs on an exclusive basis in October. They will retail from $1,015 for a hair stick with a flower on top-one geisha uses a similar style to attack another geisha in a scene in the film-to $7,585 for a silver and garnet piece. Smaller versions of the combs, as well as hair elastics, are also in development.

In addition to the combs, Renzi was so inspired by working on the movie that she has launched two collections, called Geisha Flower and Tibetan Flower; based on Asian influences such as floral and circular motifs, as well as symbols from a Tibetan book of animals and various flora.

"I loved the idea of flowers," Renzi said. "But it was hard to make flowers that werenít corny."

The collections are similar, except the Geisha Flower styles are made of silver and 10-karat gold, while the Tibetan Flower designs consist of platinum and 18-karat gold pieces with colored diamonds, sapphires and rubies. Both collections feature flowers of Renziís own design engraved on gold discs, beads and other shapes.

"My goal for it was to look like wallpaper," Renzi said, referring to the haphazard spraying of flowers across the metal, whether on a coin pendant or a hoop earring. "Itís about a nonuniformity."

Also offered are dangly earrings, bracelets with gold beads strung on a leather cord, signet rings and necklaces with charms and precious and semiprecious stones such as briolette diamonds and andalusite.

 

The new lines range in price from $61 wholesale for the midsize Geisha pendant to $15,092 for a multistrand platinum and diamond collar. They will be sold at Barneys new York, Neiman Marcus, other specialty stores and Me&Ro boutiques here and in Miami. 

The Geisha Flower collection rolls out to stores in September, while the Tibetan Flower collection bows this month.

This isnít the first product in conjunction with "Memoirs of a Geisha." WWD reported last month that beauty company Fresh is launching a line of geisha-inspired skin and makeup products, including a bath gel with sake, a rice face wash and a shimmer powder with crushed pearls.

Jewelry Industry News

Jewelry Industry News

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