Lisa Jackson: Creative Director & Founder of LJ Cross Jewelry

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Lisa Jackson, the Creative Director and Founder of LJ Cross, has travelled the globe searching for extraordinary examples of fine art and rare finds. During her career, her exacting eye and vision for detail established Jackson as the go to interior designer and her clients include such boldfaced names as Renee Zellweger, Vera Wang, Tory Burch and Michael J. Fox.
In 1996, the New York native launched Lisa Jackson Ltd., an interior design firm with its own signature furniture line and tabletop business. Business flourished and her reputation grew; in 2006 Jackson purchased Lucca & Co, where she also took on the role of both CEO and designer at the store, creating a signature line to be sold along with a well-edited inventory of international antiques, made to measure furniture, and decorative and fine arts. It was a natural step for the designer to delve into the world of fine jewelry. In February 2014, Jackson will unveil LJ Cross, her stylish line of cross earrings and necklaces that are sold exclusively at Phoenix Roze on Madison Avenue, with an e-commerce website coming this Spring to www.ljcrossny.com.

 

1) How did you get into the fashion industry?

I have an interior design background and I love product design. Over the years, I've designed so many things for commercial and residential interiors: Furniture, tabletop items, candles, lighting...Fine jewelry is what was next. It is a natural evolution for me.

2) Of all the designs, why did you pick religious symbols to accessorize people with and which ones are your favorites?

The LJ Cross brand is an homage to my late brother, who used to wear a lot of crosses. For me, the cross is not necessarily a religious symbol — it’s a spiritual symbol and an iconic fashion symbol. Chanel, Lanvin, Lacroix, Givenchy, Dolce & Gabbana...they have all designed collections based on the cross. I am attracted to rectilinear forms and I have been collecting crosses for years. It became a symbol for Christianity, but it existed well before that. It was an ancient Egyptian symbol for life and fertility, predating Christianity. And there are cave drawings of crosses dating back to the Stone Age! As to my favorite crosses: I do not offer up any designs that I would not personally love to wear myself!

3) Describe your transition from interior design to jewelry design - difficult or smooth sailing?

Design is always a process. Ward Kelvin is my design director, and he has an intensive fine jewelry background. I've been dreaming up this collection for five years, but I had never designed jewelry before. Sometimes though, you do find your match. We have a blast! Now we have signature looks that LJ Cross really owns. I'm very proud of that.

4) Where do you draw your creative inspiration from?

I have wanderlust and I shop the world. I draw inspiration from nature, architecture, and art from different cultures. LJ Cross creations play with scale and proportion, have a sense of hand, and are ultra-feminine. 

5) What is your favorite travel destination?

Mykonos - It's the most beautiful island, with everything that I love: White buildings, white linens, diaphanous clothes…It's a curated experience. I always find a beautiful cross at one of their flea markets. Nothing like weaving through the white-washed buildings to find hidden treasures.

6) Who is your typical customer - rockstars, celebs, socialites? 

There's an LJ Cross for everyone. Our smallest crosses start at $1,200. On the high end, statement crosses with over-scale gemstones can be $30,000 up to $100,000. We have rock stars and socialite clients who typically purchase three crosses in small/medium/large sizes and wear them layered. An artist recently bought seven in the same size, though. And then there are young clients who buy just a single small cross, too. There are no rules.

7) What is your life motto?  

As we are launching with fine jewelry, my current motto is: "The more diamonds, the better!" But there is a Gore Vidal quote I also adore: "Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn."

8) What person, living or not, do you try to emulate?

Of course it's my brother. He encompassed sartorial splendor but also had attitude and a love of life and people. He had individual style, confidence and an infectious smile. LJ Cross is an homage to Steven. 

9) What's next for LJ Cross?

We are just getting our feet wet in the fine jewelry world now, so we are singularly focused on this category. I don't want to get ahead of myself, but I do see LJ Cross as a luxury lifestyle brand with a clear point of view. Over time, there are other categories that I would love to enter, including fur, evening bags, leather goods, and even shoes and fine fragrance! 

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Whether it be a beautifully crafted, minimalist cross starting at $1,200, or a grand statement piece featuring large gemstones, organic pearls and halos of diamonds priced at $100,000, Jackson has created something to fit each of her discerning clientele's individual style.

Lisa Jackson lives with her family in New York City and has a home in the Hamptons. In addition to launching her new business, Jackson is currently attending Harvard Business School's Executive Program. She received her Masters of Business Administration from New York University's Stern School of Business and her BA from New York University.

http://www.ljcrossny.com/