Talking Style With Michael Aram

Aram’s festive Sleepy Hollow bowl celebrates the nobility of the laurel leaf.

I’ve long been a fan of Michael Aram’s metalwork designs, so it was a real treat to chat with the artist himself.

Aram, who grew up in Montclair, has fond memories of his years in New Jersey. “I still love Montclair—it’s sort of a fantasy place. As an architectural fanatic, I especially appreciate the town’s utterly beautiful homes. Actually, that entire area, including West Orange and Short Hills, has amazing residential neighborhoods and is very, very pretty.”

Aram studied fine art and lived as an artist in New York in the late 1980s. Then, in 1989, while on a trip to India that he now considers to have been a life-altering experience, Aram encountered local artisans who relied on ancient metalworking techniques to craft utilitarian objects. Later, he turned his own creative energy toward craft-based design, and established a home and workshop in New Delhi.

Today, you’ll find his work in galleries and specialty stores worldwide. Each piece is entirely handmade with no two examples identical.

Q. What inspires your work today?

A. My inspiration has always been nature, melded with the handmade process. One of my newest collections is called Sleepy Hollow, and it represents the laurel, which is symbolic of victory, glory and nobility.

Q. How do you approach your craft?

A. I shuttle between my home in the West Village and my workshop in India. As a maker, it’s important to me to work in the ancient craft traditions and reflect humanity through the handmade process. There’s a soulful quality and an energy that’s evident only in work that reflects the hand of the maker.

Q. What do you most want to be known for?

A. I’m particularly proud of the functionality of my pieces because they are attractive as well as useful. These designs are intended to gracefully slide from being decorative to being thrown into duty for dinner parties.

Q. What’s the next big thing for you?

A. We have many projects on the horizon—designs in porcelain, jewelry, furniture and textiles. I’m also very excited about our new metalwork collection that expresses the height of handcraftsmanship.

Michael Aram designs can be found at CBL Fine Art in West Orange, the Grey Dove in Livingston, Meli Melo in Bernardsville, and Neiman Marcus in Short Hills.

Classics We Covet   

I recently had the pleasure of moderating a fun and fabulous fashion show at Neiman Marcus in Short Hills. The program emphasized cashmere, wool and leather sweaters, pants and jackets, paired with unexpected statement pieces.

Although all the contemporary looks garnered rave reviews, I heard repeated compliments about the classic pieces: “I have to buy that Missoni pullover cap with matching gloves!” “Those Prada oversized sunglasses are amazing.” “That red plaid Burberry car coat is on my Christmas list!”

This comes as no surprise since we all tend to take comfort in the tried and true. Remember those bow blouses so many of us considered wardrobe requisites years ago? Well, they’re back in a big way, cut with more elegant lines. Tory Burch is all over this trend, with an exclusive Bow Blouse Shop now featured on her site.

Banana Republic just introduced a chic Mad Men collection for women and men. If you love the elegant looks resurrected in AMC’s hit television series, check out the new line.

Classically hip chicks will want to freshen their winter wardrobe with J. Crew’s darling Swish skirts and hacking jackets, Kate Spade’s cotton Jillian LBD and Victoria faux fur pullover, and Burberry’s trenchcoats in bordeaux, black and khaki.

No matter the decade, sleek silhouettes and classic styles always have a home in my closet.

Fun Find! 

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