Designer jewelry presented at the Fashion Museum


Jeffrey Bednarcik views jewelry created by Arthur Koby for the exhibition “The Creative Eye” at the Kent State University Museum on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013. The exhibition will be open from Oct, 25, 2013, to Oct. 5, 2014. Arthur Koby was described by Vogue magazine as “one of the masters of collage.” Photo by Yolanda Li.

Samantha Tuly

The Kent State University Museum opens its newest exhibition, “Arthur Koby Jewelry: The Creative Eye,” on Friday, Oct. 25. Koby, the designer, has worked beside fashion designers Donna Karan, Oscar De La Renta and Geoffrey Beene.

Each of the necklaces lies under a spotlight in a dimly lit room. They appear as individuals consisting of different textures, designs and materials.

“I find an object, look at it and remember what else I have that will go with it and that I can companion it with,” Koby said. “The piece just develops in the most organic way.”

Some of Koby’s designs feature materials such as balsa wood furniture pieces, stainless steel cables, salt-and-pepper shakers and a tortoise shell soap dish.

“I like to transform the surface of a component,” Koby said. “Because (transformation) gives you a mystique and a magic to” the piece.

Geoffrey Beene discovered one of Koby’s necklaces in a shop window in 1980 and decided he had to meet and promote the designer.

“1980 is the year my whole life changed,” Koby said.

His life became his jewelry; he was featured in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and on a number of runways during the 80s. Designers like Beene and Oscar De La Renta would supply Koby with swatches of fabric to inspire his designs, then present his finished products along with their lines.

“You can have a wonderful garment, but if it’s not accessorized properly, then it loses part of its statement,” said Jean Druesedow, exhibit curator and museum director.

At the recommendation of one of Koby’s clients, Druesedow reached out to Koby to orchestrate the collection. From there, a number of collectors loaned their Koby pieces to the museum.

One collector brought 32 necklaces from her personal collection to be loaned to the exhibit.

“I’m really a perfectionist about displaying them and (the Fashion School) has done the most superior job of every component lying just the way I would have done it,” Koby said.

Kent State students have the opportunity to visit the museum for free and view the exhibition. The hope is that students can view the pieces and draw inspiration from them.

Students “can see the conventional approach and the offbeat, more freewheeling approach,” Koby said. The collection, “I would say, is more freewheeling than most conventional jewelry.”

Students from a history of costume course came to preview the exhibit.

“When you look at it, you’re like, ‘Oh, it’s this giant necklace,’ and then you look deeper, and they’re very intricate, thought-out, methodical designs,” said Abby Schnure, a sophomore fashion design major. “It’s so fascinating to think of someone thinking so in-depth because that’s what we think when we design clothes.”

The exhibition will be open in the Fashion Museum until Oct. 5, 2014.

Contact Samantha Tuly at [email protected].