If designer Jonathan Meizler had his way, subtle elements of couture would be a part of every man's wardrobe. In Title of Work—Meizler's new menswear label—opulent beadwork, Swarovski crystals and black diamonds embellish English wool crepe, Italian cashmere and silk twill ties and bowties.
After studying art and design in Vienna and London, the Massachusetts native returned to the States where he co-founded JonValdi to industry acclaim. Expanding from hand-painted ties to a fully developed sportswear collection for both men and women, he later created a women's evening wear line exclusively sold at Bergdorf Goodman. Now the NYC-based designer has returned to his menswear roots with the line of luxurious ties, showcasing his background in couture and a talent for understated flair.
The Title of Work collection is now available online and at Neiman Marcus, hitting select retailers in the United States, Canada and Japan later this fall. Read below to learn more about where Meizler draws his inspiration from and the future of his new line.
You call Title of Work "architectural jewelry." Can you elaborate?
Architecture is a constant inspiration on both a personal and work-related level—from the Egyptian pyramids to Italy's basilicas, the humor and function of Gaudi, the fluidity of Noguchi and Zaha Hadid, and Gehry's postmodernist vibe. I am drawn toward symmetry in the asymmetrical. I feel the most successful of my collection incorporates this structure while integrating jeweled elements, achieving simplicity in the ornate.
What couture techniques do you apply to the ties?
I created Title of Work to explore the craftsmanship of a well-made product, similar to that of a couturier, where each piece is hand finished. Hand-beaded techniques—primarily used in women's clothing and accessories—are rarely employed in menswear. With this first Title of Work collection, I wanted to establish that beading for men could be modern and accessible, while pushing the boundaries of masculinity.
The collection looks labor intensive, tell us about the process of fabrication.
It is. For example, one of the signature pieces in the collection is a hand-cast sterling silver grommet with Swarovski crystals, attached by a jeweler who hand welds each sterling grommet around the crystal. There is little room for error. All of the collection is handmade and beaded, so no two ties are completely the same.
What's missing from the menswear market that your line fulfills?
When creating a collection, I think it is important to be as specific as possible, especially in defining one's point of view in an overly saturated market. I saw an untapped niche in neckwear and felt it was the ideal foundation to build from. As a designer, I take pleasure in the challenge of straddling the line of art and commerce, and I have hopefully created an approachable collection that is subtly sophisticated, modern, sexy and refined.
What do future Title of Work projects entail?
I currently have bowties in the collection, and for spring, I am expanding on that and creating sterling and black diamond cufflinks based on the amulets you see across the line. I am also in the midst of designing a bag collection. A bit raw and deconstructed, but, of course, beautifully finished with hand-cast hardware. On the other side, I am creating furniture, made from reconstructed wood, glass, metals and dead animals. I am obsessed with grommets, ventilators and industrial elements, so this should be interesting.