Viceroy saw an opportunity for a new kind of luxury costume jewelry line. One that would make an unequivocal contemporary statement that was bold and bright, youthfully vibrant, and playfully feminine. And one that was 100% custom made by a design house – no stock designs with a name slapped on—a rare plus. We had the strategic vision, the style sense, and the technical know-how; we knew we could do the designing and manufacturing. We were missing just one key ingredient: a fashion brand to team up with us that didn’t already have an existing jewelry line.
Viceroy sought out an appropriate partner and found one in the fashion brand, Milly NY. For Viceroy creative director Gabrielle Rein, Milly was the first, the only choice. Designed by Michelle Smith, Milly NY combines a relaxed American sensibility with flirty Parisian flair and is sold in high-end luxury retailers such as Bergdorf Goodman, Harrods’s, Printemps and Takashimaya. Milly NY’s style incorporated the same vivacious and outgoing spirit of our proposed collection, making them our perfect match—and vice versa.
We approached Milly NY and Michelle Smith in the usual Viceroy fashion: calling them up directly, then going to their offices and giving a short presentation that showcased our strategic vision, why it fit their brand, and how we could achieve it together. We came in at just the right moment. Milly NY didn’t have a jewelry line, but they were searching for brand extensions. They loved the energetic, optimistic spirit of our concepts and the ability for them to customize every link, bead and closure within start-up friendly purchasing minimums. Viceroy provided Milly NY with the opportunity to build the line in-house, without having to form a licensing deal or third-party partnership. Michelle Smith would act as Creative Director, provide the inspirations and Viceroy would execute against them, create the designs and oversee production and manufacturing.
We’d meet with Michelle Smith who would take us through her upcoming fashion collections and provide mood boards, color swatches and other inspirational stimuli. We’d come back with sketches, and this collaborative back and forth continued until we all arrived at a full collection. Viceroy would then supervise production; vetting and then engaging several of the most highly respected luxury costume jewelry manufacturers in the business.
Each collection was composed of 10-12 themed lines per season and included earrings, bracelets, rings, and necklaces. There were practical pieces, whimsical pieces, and statement pieces. Quite a few of our designs represented the brand as a whole—like one based on their signature lattice pattern—and became Milly NY staples.
Milly NY’s and Viceroy’s high-end costume jewelry collection debuted at Fashion Week, and was highly lauded by press and buyers. We worked with the brand for two full seasons, creating designs and managing production before we helped Milly transition the brand in house. The jewelry collection has since been licensed to a mainstream luxury retailer, providing Milly NY with the profitable and successful line extension they were originally seeking.
Like many of our efforts, this project started at Viceroy with a specific strategic idea—in this case, a highly fashionable one. We took the concept, molded it, and presented it to a suitable partner who could help turn the idea into a reality. It was Viceroy’s expertise in strategic design, production and execution that sealed the deal and created a co-opportunity that benefited both partners. The result was an exceptional luxury product line that achieved short-term fanfare and attention, as well as long-term success.