I love to hear a great story that uncovers the source of inspiration behind beautiful objects, and Monica Rich Kosann’s story is one of pure creativity. A fine art black-and-white photographer, Monica is also the creator of jewelry, image cases and frames.
Searching for unique ways to display her photography Monica began scouring flea markets looking for antique lockets, compacts and cigarette cases. Each one of a kind treasure she discovered was crafted into a unique frame. As demand increased Monica designed her own line of heirloom quality display cases, crafted from beautiful sterling silver or gold.
Intrigued by vintage lockets and charm bracelets, she fashioned a collection of modern day jewelry to hold images of her clients’ loved ones. Wanting the collection to be as precious as the images, Monica carefully designed each piece to be a keepsake, persevering special moments to be passed on for generations.
Looking to further share the importance of family and home Monica authored a stunning new book Living with What You Love. Beautiful images of homes, including her own, it is a gorgeous guide to living with your most cherished possessions everyday.
The Monica Rich Kosann Collection is a celebrity favorite and is sold at over 60 specialty stores nationwide and in Japan. In August 2008 Monica opened her own shop on on the 7th floor at Bergdorf Goodman.
How would you describe your personal style?
Eclectic. It’s funny, if I am going on a photo shoot I wear my jeans and flats with great blouse or a t-shirt and a scarf (I love scarves!). I figure I will be sitting on the ground or climbing some sort of rocks and benches.
Other times I love to wear beautiful fabrics that just feel great. Right now I am obsessed with Stella McCartney, her pieces are so elegant and timeless but with an edge. And, of course, I am always wearing my charm bracelets. I never leave home without them.
What is your favorite luxury in life?
I talk about this in my book Living With What You Love. I love surrounding myself with cherished objects at home. In my library all my family photos surround me. On a Sunday I love to gather all my magazines and newspapers from the week, sit with my 2 dogs, the cooking channel on TV and slowly leaf through all of my reading. It leaves me ready and energized for the workweek to begin!
What is your most prized possession?
My charm bracelet. It holds photos of my family, so they go with me wherever I go. I love the sound it makes when I walk. It makes me feel so feminine. An most importantly, it tells my story.
What is your idea of earthly happiness?
I love food. I am first generation American (Viennese and Hungarian) and food and dining was always very important in my family growing up. I am so happy when my two girls cook for my husband and me. I love the entire process of being their “helper”. We first take our time and chop, sauté, sip wine, and then sit down to a meal and enjoy it together. Of course I get stuck with the dishes!
What inspires your creativity and designs?
Art and timeless designs of all kinds. I love to visit flea markets and go antiquing, especially in new cultures. Art has always been important to me. Going to museums and galleries are always a source of inspiration. I love just meandering, and I always carry a little book to jot down ideas and sketches.
New ideas pop up in my head in the strangest places. I came up with our new jewelry collection for fall while I was on a chairlift going up the mountain! Sometimes my own photography sparks ideas, like our gate collection, which comes from a photo of a little girl behind an iron gate. I created an entire group of open lockets from this photo.
What is the one thing in life you cannot live without?
Travel. There is nothing like going to new places and destinations. I love exploring a new culture and meeting people. I also love to revisit places I have been, for instance I can visit the Victoria and Albert Museum in London or the Rodin Museum in Paris over and over and never get bored. My husband and I travel a lot for business and I always feel so lucky to be working with these amazing artisans from all over the world.
Who are your style icons?
I have to say when I watch old movies I adore the stars from the 30’s and 40’s—Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, Deborah Kerr, Katherine Hepurn. I admire not only their style, clothing and sensibility, but I love to watch the accessory pieces from that era. They are so inspiring to me, every accessory they wore or carried was a piece of art!! And, of course, the great Coco Chanel. I love to layer my jewelry, and she did layered so masterfully!
Who would you most like to collaborate with on a project?
I would love to work on a project with Ralph Lauren. He is a lifestyle brand that captures timeless design, and that is what we are about. My collection encourages people to surround themselves with what they love and to wear their most sentimental and treasured pieces—I know he gets that!
What books are currently on your bedside table?
I have piled high tons of Design and Fashion Books. I love to sit in bed with a heavy book on my lap and glance through them before I go to sleep. I also have lots of old Sotheby's and Christie's auction catalogs which I love to look at as well.
Past or present who has most influenced your direction in life?
My family, clients and friends. They are my biggest fans and supporters. They are always encouraging me to create more. I am very lucky!