Born in New York of Hatian decent, designer Mckenzie Liautaud creates tribal inspired jewelry with a contemporary edge. His eponymous collection meshes precious stones, recycled vinyl, glass spikes, and African tribal beads into playful yet glamorous pieces that reflect a truly multi-cultural style. A darling of New York's fashion elite, Liautaud actually handcrafts each of his bold multi-media necklaces and bracelets. Read more about the designer and his inspiration.
How does travel inspire your collection?
As Diana Vreeland would say, "The eye has to travel." As a designer, the collections tell my story for me. I am able to share my experience with the world.
How do Haiti, Africa, and New York inspire your collection in different ways?
The glamorous elements are inspired by growing up in New York City; the spiritual elements from Haiti; the tribal elements from Africa.
Describe Mckenzie Liautaud in 3 words.
The Mckenzie Liautaud brand is eclectic, exotic, yet elegant. I chose those words because it is all about balance. My client is multi-dimensional and the juxtaposition makes it fresh and exciting.
Your collection of products keeps growing. What creative endeavors are on the horizon?
Promoting conscious consumerism and expanding in the accessories category with hand bags and small leather goods.
Who is your Muse? Describe the Mckenzie Liautaud woman.
I have so many muses. I love women and I design jewelry that makes women feel divine and look dazzling. My muses range from Judy Jetson to Vashtie Kola to Natalie Massenet. They all inspire me in different ways. The Mckenzie Liautaud woman is fearless -- she is a citizen of the world. Whether she is wearing a Caftan in St Barth or a power suit in the city, she is in control of her life.
Tell us about your favorite piece (or one of them) and where you were inspired to create it.
My favorite piece is the tribal black tie bracelets. I was inspired to create the collection when I visited the Omo Valley in southern Ethiopia and was inspired by the tribes' ancient tradition of temporary body decoration. The bracelets are all African tribal beads which I plated in four groups: sterling silver, yellow gold, rose gold, and black rhodium. They're strung with vibrant colors of semi-precious stones with other elements like glass spikes and precious stones. I wear my bracelets everyday or place them on my nightstand for spiritual healing.
Souk or Department Store?
Definitely souk. I find the greatest treasures in marketplaces.