Alexis Kirk (1936 – 2010) was an American jewellery designer who also produced garments and accessories for the fashion industry.
Kirk self-identified as Armenian despite being born in Los Angeles and raised in New England. One of his Armenian ancestors, Vemian, was a jeweller to the Turkish court. Some of his works are on display at Istanbul’s Topkapi Museum. His grandfather worked for Lalique Glass in Paris as a chief artist.
He went to Harvard University, Rhode Island School of Design, and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts to study fine arts. In Newport, Rhode Island, he opened his first store, “Derring Do,” an art gallery.
Alexis Kirk’s first design, which he wore, was an Islamic glass bead collar with assorted charms, which was typical of his early work, which featured amulets and symbols taken from cultures and religions all over the world, such as the hamsa, Indian Paisley motifs, and Chinese fish. Kirk was a superstitious man fascinated by the supernatural and spirituality, as shown by his work.
He received a Coty American Fashion Critics’ Award for his first jewellery collection. In 1971, he ventured into the world of clothing design, creating garments to complement his jewellery. His first fashion line was inspired by medieval styles, with tunics worn over hooded metallic bodystockings that resembled chainmail.
He used exotic woods, pewter, and plastic alongside more conventional metals and stones in silhouettes based on organic human and animal shapes, in addition to mystical, occult, and ethnic influences.
Cher and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis were among his prominent clients, in addition to the Duchess of Windsor. Even though Kirk was a registered Democrat, his elephant-themed designs were worn by the wives of Republican leaders Nancy Reagan and Barbara Bush during the 1980s.
Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The Design Encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing.
Stegemeyer, A. (1988). Who’s who in fashion. New York: Fairchild Publications.
Wikipedia contributors. (2020, September 25). Alexis Kirk. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 00:15, May 16, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Alexis_Kirk&oldid=980323417
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