Amidst the showy and oftentimes shallow backdrop of South Beach there is a Brazilian born jewelry designer toying with conventions. His name is Luis Morais and his designs, like South Beach are an interesting juxtaposition of the secular and sacred. Rosaries, Italian horns and scapulars are just a few of the religious icons, which are transformed into trendy pieces of pop culture.
“I like to play with protection, superstition and mysticism,” comments Morais. “People use jewelry for a reason. I believe beauty fights against evil and envy is the worst of all.”
So how does one go about protecting him or herself from the snares of envy? Look no further than Morais’ aptly named “Envy” piece; a leather rope adorning a Turkish eye, a crucifix and an Italian horn.
“Turkish eyes and Italian horns fight off evil spirits,” explains Morais. “Mysticism is big in Brazil. Brazilians are very creative. They have to be. The more difficulties you live with, the more ways you must get around them. This contrast is what you grow up seeing and it becomes a part of you.”
Contrast is certainly a staple of Morais’ designs. One such example is a necklace by the name of “Good Girl—Posh Punk.” Playful duality characterizes this interesting hybrid of tarnished silver and cultured pearls.
“I like to make the precious look not so precious,” Morais says. I love the delicacy of pearls and the aggressiveness of something tarnished; a contrast of the ugly and the beautiful.”
“I also like to the change the elements, to make silver darker, almost black. It’s trendy, I like the rocker look,” Morais describes.
But if rock star chic doesn’t interest you, Morais also has several softer designs. A shiny silver leather bracelet embedded with a small delicate cluster of diamonds is another piece, which plays more with androgyny rather than allegory.
“I like leather and silver, it’s easy. I enjoy mixing elements of masculinity and femininity. Many of my pieces are more understated, the person is pivotal.”
Eclectic and iconic are certainly two words that come to mind when describing the designs of Luis Morais. From mystical to minimalistic, Morais’ creations are a labor of love.
“They are all my babies,” Morais comments. “If you say something bad, I’ll kill you. I’m in love with all of them. They came out of me, out of a lot of thought.”
To no surprise, when I asked Morais what kind of a client he had in mind when designing he responded with, “stylish men and edgy girls; annoying and naughty, always playing around.”
Luis Morais designs may be purchased at the following locations:
Miami - Base
920 Lincoln Road
Delray Beach - The Rectory
14 South Swinton Avenue
Puerto Rico - Ona Saez
Avenida Roosevelt # 312