When a jewelry brand has its own signature color nail polish it's safe to say they've reached icon status. That little bottle of LAGOS Black, which came to me in a goodie bag one evening, also says a lot about the brand itself: elegant beauty served with bold style and a sense of fun.
LAGOS, best known for its silver Signature Caviar design, is the kind of jewelry you can wear equally well with jeans or a ball gown. In much the same way, LAGOS founder, designer and creative director Steven Lagos and his team take any hint of stuffiness out of luxury. Impeccable craftsmanship and stunning presentation are served up with genuine friendliness and a down-to-earth vibe. The flagship store may resemble a plush velvet jewel box but the window displays have also depicted Steven and his store team as Ken and Barbies shopping and a recent intro to the new Rare Wonders collection included a quiz to identify your animal talisman. (Mine: Elephant.)
This year LAGOS turned 35, a notable achievement for any company, particularly a luxury jewelry brand. Steven Lagos was kind enough to share with Style Maniac readers the secrets behind LAGOS' enduring success, and why he looks forward to 35 more years of design.
STYLE MANIAC: Steven, what was the first piece you designed for Lagos -- the piece that launched the collection?
STEVEN LAGOS: 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 cool. This one necklace launched so much of what we do today.
What is the best-selling LAGOS piece of all time?
It would definitely be our signature rope bracelets. Bracelets are great because women will wear several and we love to see them piled on. They’re designed to be stacked!
Thirty-five years in business is an amazing achievement for any company, and especially for a luxury brand in tough economic times. To what do you attribute LAGOS' longevity?
My people. I had the idea but it’s been the people that gave it life. I have smart and dedicated individuals working with me. LAGOS wouldn’t exist without them. They are a team whose perseverance, dedication and genuine spirit are the real reason I’m successful. We’re a family, and we work hard to play hard.
Steven, what personally keeps you designing?
I have been so fortunate in my career and 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. They seek out and buy our creations and attach their emotions. We’re part of different milestones in their lives. It’s pretty special.
What do you hope the next 35 years holds for 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 the 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.
Available at select locations nationwide. Flagship store: 1735 Walnut Street, Philadelphia PA 19103 215-567-0770
Thank you, Steven, for sharing your stylish secrets. Thanks also to Janice Waitkus, Store Director & Community Relations Manager, for including me in so many magical LAGOS moments -- including selecting my favorite pair of earrings ever ... or should I say "so far"?
Top photo and flagship store photo plus all vignette effects by Doreen Creede / Style Maniac. Bracelet display, Steven Lagos sketching and Rare Wonders necklaces all courtesy LAGOS.
"Use the good china for breakfast."