Designer Bliss Lau to hold seminar, trunk show in Honolulu

Bliss Your Heart

Bliss Lau

Sure, it's been awhile, but you still get nightmares about school. Especially the one where you're taking a test. On a subject you know nothing about. In your underwear.

Fear not. Local-girl-turned-New-York-designer Bliss Lau returns home this weekend, along with brand strategist Jasmine Takanikos, to conduct a seminar on pursuing your real dream. In Hawaii RED's A Masterclass in Design and Branding, you'll learn how to find design inspiration and build a personal brand for your business. There's no crazy exam to worry about – this class ends with a networking reception instead.

Lau herself is a branding success story, with her eponymous jewelry line featured in the pages of Vogue and Lucky and worn by the likes of Miley Cyrus and Alicia Keys. Below, we quiz the designer on everything from her latest projects to her closeup in Interview Magazine.

Fully clothed, of course.

What have you been up to since we last saw you?
Ooh, that article takes me back! It seems like a lifetime ago that I brought the NYFW11 Embraced collection home to the islands. I've been busy adding silver, gold, diamonds, pearls and onyx to my collection. My goal is to discover new methods to expand my jewelry.

Why should people attend this seminar?
Jasmine and I teach a course together at Parsons The New School for Design. This class is a compact version. Think of it as a mental cleansing and inspiration session. Anyone who feels a bit stuck or is creatively conflicted and in need of an outside perspective should join us.

What are some important lessons you learned during your career?
Never take "no" for an answer. In the end, there's always a way to make something work. The Kaleidoscope ring (pictured below) is a great example. I was told by multiple manufacturers that it was impossible, so I just kept calling people and re-working [the design] until, finally, I found someone with the engineering capability and shared vision to create it. Now, I'm wearing it in the August issue of Interview Magazine! It has become an entirely new, fresh and exciting direction for my design and is certainly one of my all-time, best-selling products.

Why did you transition from handbags to jewelry?
To me, designing is a relationship. I fell out of love with handbags and fell in love with jewelry. After that realization, the transition and execution were natural. I try to be as honest with myself as possible when making any choice in business.

The evening includes an exclusive trunk show. What are you bringing?
I'm bringing a curated group of new pieces from my Morning Noon Night collection: a group of interlocking rings set with black diamonds and onyx or crystal quartz. So much of my work is still inspired by thoughts from home! This collection is about the transition we make moving through our day – light and dark, happy and sad. In addition to the rings, I'll have my signature collection of body chains as well as some of the Embraced collection.

What are your plans for the future?
I want to keep having fun designing and creating new ideas. I will continue to explore the idea of jewelry as clothing. I'm also developing a full line of wedding bands and rings for men and women. I am doing insert rings and slid-to-fit rings, and I will have examples of both at my trunk show.

A Masterclass in Design and Branding takes place Saturday, 4-7 p.m., at The Kahala Hotel & Resort, with networking reception and Bliss Lau trunk show to follow. Admission costs $175 (register here). First 50 registrants receive a complimentary gift bag.

Attend the class for free!
Submit a 300-350 word essay on why you want to take the course and what your design goals are to by Wednesday. Bliss and Jasmine will pick their favorites and the winners will be notified Thursday.
Bliss Lau jewelry

1. Killjoy vest, $339. 2. Kaleidoscope ring, $565. 3. Chrysler bracelet, $229. 4. Shield ring, $565.