William De Lillo Jewelry (1968-1976)
William De Lillo was born in Antwerp, Belgium and moved to the United States in the 1950s. He began his carrier as a designer for high-end fine jewelry such as Cartier, Harry Winston and Tiffany & Co. While designing for Miriam Haskell he met lead designer Robert F. Clark.
In 1968 De Lillo together with Clark, formed William De Lillo Ltd. It was a time of cultural revolution across American society, including gender stereotypes. Men wore long hair, layers of beads and flowing ropes, while unisex fashions were popular. William and Robert loved this trend and designed ‘gender bending’ jewelry for men. Their first collection was made from heavy gold-tone rhodium plated brass adorned with twisted ropes, fringes and tassels.
De Lillo tended towards one-of-a-kind, limited editions, couture and runway pieces. Much of it was created exclusively for the high society set such as the Duchess of Windsor, Baroness Rothschild and Hollywood royalty such as Elisabeth Taylor and Joan Crawford. Collections were retailed by high-end retailers such as Neiman Marcus.
William and Robert ceased production of their jewelry line in 1976 and moved to the South of France. While there they designed freelance for fashion houses such as Schiaparelli, Nina Ricci, Yves Saint Laurent and Chanel, together with their exclusive pieces for the European high society. In 1986, they returned to the USA and settled down in Phoenix, Arizona where they spent the rest of their lives.
In 1978 a retrospective exhibition was staged by the Metropolitan Museum in New York on the work of William De Lillo.
William De Lillo’s jewelry is collected worldwide and is displayed in Museum collections such as that of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.