Michelle, Janis and Wynne... a New York Story

It’s the 60’s, and 12 year old Michelle Savitt is making mod paper
maché earrings and 10 year old sister Janis is making copper enamel
hippie pendants. A few years later, chasing their passions for fashion
and jewelry, the two move on to the Crafts Students League every
Saturday, diligently honing their skills as silversmiths. Michelle and
older sister Wynne, still in their teens, also take part time jobs at the
well known ‘Tapemeasure’ custom fashion retailers, learning the fine
points of customer service and luxury fashion retailing. Then in 1971,
18 year old Michelle and 16 year old Janis boldly start their jewelry
company, M+J Savitt.  They launch with 12 special designs, which
immediately open the doors of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar,  Van Cleef
& Arpels, Cartier, and Henri Bendels, all in their first two weeks in
business.  The town is buzzing about these two young upstarts.

Jean Nevin at Harper’s Bazaar calls Angela Firenze at Van Cleef &
Arpels, who immediately has Michelle and Janis making designs for
them, such as kissing bird pendants, kissing fish pendants, 3" wide
chevron cuffs, and other original creations.  One day at Van Cleef &
Arpels, Claude Arpel grabs Michelle’s wrist and examines her arm
full of silver and gold bangles Michelle was wearing that resembled
door hooks. Michelle had studied the door hook that kept the bathroom
door closed at their new studio on 47th Street and thought it would
make a great design for a bracelet and ring... and so did Claude Arpel.
He contracts Michelle on the spot to do them for Van Cleef & Arpels.
They launch it with an ad campaign with matching hook and eye
bracelet and ring as signature Van Cleef & Arpel items.   

Things were moving fast. In 1972, Michelle was invited by the head
of world famous Zolotas Jewelry in Athens, Greece to come to Greece
for 3 weeks and collaborate on designs. Her mother Milly, gorgeous
and not yet 40, came along with 19 year old Michelle as her chaperone. 
Mother and daughter had the time of lives going first class all the the
way, staying in Hotel Grande Bretagne. After graduating from college,
older sister Wynne Savitt  joins the company as a partner, and mother
Milly begins making her own distinctive award winning jewelry.
A family fashion dynasty begins to take form.

The brand is now exploding. People magazine does a feature article
on the Savitt sisters and M+J Savitt in 1976.  Overnight M+J Savitt is
a global fashion sensation. Bloomingdales jumps on the Savitt sister’s
fashion train, having them fill and refill three large six foot cases at the
entrance of 59th & 3rd Avenue. Neiman Marcus comes on board and
hosts a trunk show with lines around the block forcing them to keep
the store open late.  Meanwhile, across the pond, Harrods, Brown’s
of London, and Selfridges showcase the line in UK with spectacular
results. Back in the states, I. Magnin, Saks Fifth Avenue, Henri Bendel,
Barney’s, Bergdorf Goodman roll the brand into their stores. Countless
fine specialty stores such as Fred Segal, Mitchell’s, and Richards also
feature their collections.  Flushed with these successes, M+J Savitt
opens their gorgeous flagship store in Chicago.

For decades, M+J Savitt grew, selling to the world's top retailers. Their
celebrity and private clientele grew as well to include such luminaries
as Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, David Bowie, Elton John, Rod Stewart,
Richard Gere, Julia Roberts, Martha Stewart, and countless others. M+J
Savitt also did contract design and production of collections for Ralph
Lauren, Michael Kors, Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier, and other top fashion
houses.  M+J Savitt received scores of fashion magazine cover credits,
and became one of America’s most editorially featured jewelry brands.

M+J Savitt’s success and their innovative designs changed whole
trends in jewelry and fashion, and they highly influenced the design and
merchandising of top global jewelry brands.  M+J Savitt also brought
top quality ‘Made In America’ jewelry to the forefront. To those in the
jewelry trade, the M+J Savitt brand became synonymous with the best
of American design and craftsmanship, and most importantly, designs
and products that retailed extremely well.

In 2008, Janis left to do her own line, and older sister Wynne retired
from the company after doing sales, management, and merchandising
for over 30 years. Michelle is still holding the torch for M+J Savitt.
Contact us to purchase M+J Savitt jewelry from our Classics Collection
or more recent designs, or have some stunning one of a kind custom
fine jewelry pieces designed and made to order.  M+J Savitt is also
available for private label and contract design and production work
done at the very highest levels.

Contact us at 917.728.8067 or by email at info@mjsavitt.net.