Jewelry designer Alyssa Norton began her career as a fine artist at Cornell University, where she studied painting. She continued her training by earning a second degree in jewelry from Instituto Allende in Mexico. Alyssa soon began migrating influences culled from the minimal light sculptures of Dan Flavin and James Turrell and the tonal palettes of Richard Diebenkorn to the sphere of adornment. Her inaugural 2003 collection drew seamlessly on her training in both fine art and artisanal craft. Featuring delicate perspex forms riveted to impeccably forged silver, Alyssa’s work immediately gained a devoted following of NY collectors.
Throughout the early 2000s, Alyssa’s collections began to explore a more dystopian version of this airy, futuristic aesthetic. Her experimentation with the most elementary forms of craftsmanship—weaving, tying, and wrapping—produced intricate compositions of metal, leather, silks, and other natural materials, such as feathers. The more densely constructed each piece became, the more it hinted at the deconstruction of the norms of both jewelry making and jewelry wearing. Her pieces begged to travel around the body as necklaces, lariats, bracelets, belts or headpieces.
After Narciso Rodriquez commissioned pieces for his show and Vogue featured her work in 2004, Alyssa Norton’s following expanded internationally. She founded her company and began collaborating with major designers and brands, among them VPL, Rag & Bone, Daryl K, Pringle of Scotland, Tommy Hilfiger and Robert Geller. Since then, Alyssa Norton has been regularly featured in the finest fashion press worldwide. The CFDA recognized her contribution to the fashion world in 2006 with a nomination for the Swarovski Perry Ellis award.
Alyssa’s signature pieces of woven silk, chain and rhinestone changed the course of contemporary jewelry. A generation of designers appropriated her aesthetic and her techniques, which are now visible around the world.
Now, Alyssa Norton is poised to energize the fashion world yet again: her newest collection bravely explores new territory but also returns to the same impulses that drove her from fine art into jewelry. The collection is dominated by cuffs and chokers that cite the architectural strains of 1960s minimalism with their Donald Judd-like references to color and geometry. Alyssa tempers this reference to the modernist spaces of the museum by embellishing many of the pieces with the organic surfaces of street art. The primary color story of the op-art arrays of Bridget Riley is extended across the collection through an airbrushing technique evoking graffiti. Each piece is a fresh composition of mixed media.
Alyssa Norton’s jewelry is a study in tensions between the future and the past, between the functional and the sculptural. In every collection, Alyssa has always mined that place where modernism plays with punk, creating thought-provoking and wearable pieces coveted by editors, designers, stylists and collectors. Whether weaving silk and suede into heavy silver chain, or lacquering and airbrushing the brass panels of a wrist cuff, Alyssa invites us to rethink how we adorn our bodies with materials and ideas.