He’s cool, he’s hip, he’s trendy and does not like bullshit. He has a heavy ADHD(Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), is not good with emails, communicates with What’s app exclusively. He is a surfer, a father, a jeweler who creates his stones and is known to be the most stylish man at Burning Man. He doesn’t like to show off and does not pretend to be someone else. He lives in L.A., was born in Nahariyya-Israel, designs jewelry and dresses up celebrities. He just opened a shop-in-shop in Paris part of the Mad Lords concept store, the latest place-to-be rue St Honoré.
His name : Maor Cohen.
Interview with a man who changed his life through Burning Man !
When we met with M.Cohen in Paris during Couture Week, he had just landed from Costa Rica with a short stop in L.A. to fetch his Raf Simmons Stan Smiths, his Acme sleeveless jean jacket and his thick woolen knit hat to put his cool attitude on and come to the opening of his exclusive Parisian shop-in-shop, the coolest Mad Lords.
Where do you live?
I live in LA. It is the best I could ever reach for myself.
Would you consider living elsewhere? Nope ! L.A. is the best, my son is here and I have to travel a lot, roughly 65% of the year so it’s perfect.
You are from Israel, what made you come to L.A? I don’t know… Ten years ago, I came for surfing over the summer I was 23 and never left.
Family ? I am divorced but I have a 5 years-old little boy named Levi.
How do you manage with all of your traveling ? See… That’s is the problem ! But since he lives a few blocks away from me I can see him all the time when I am there.
M.Cohen – your second baby? I started the business 7 years ago and it litteraly blew up !
What triggered the explosion? It’s just what I do in the world that I am. Years ago, I did not create the wheel, I invented a trend for the men accessory world where jewelry pieces became all of a sudden a stackable piece that did not just stand on its own. I believe to be one of the first who created a brand for men…
M.Cohen collection ? I do 3’500 designs … but most of them are unique ! Everyone wants something different… you want beads, leather, wrap-around you can have them all.
How do you custom work? When clients call me asking if I could do something for them with a long list of requirements, I usually respond that I can do include everything they want but I usually tell them that it’s better if they can come and sit with me for half-an-hour. I need to understand who is that person, where is he or she coming from, what are they going through, what is his or her taste level, what do they do during the day : It’s the only way I can make something that really is made for the person.
Prices ? From 200 to 800 Euros roughly. But in LA, it can go up to 40K if the piece is paved with diamonds and set on gold. I offer a variety of pieces for a variety of prices.
Precious Gold jewelry? The gold pieces are exclusively sold in my store in L.A.
Who are your celebrities ? Matt Damon, Chris Hemsworth, Johnny Depp, Gerald Butler, Marc Anthony… Even specific actresses are buying my stuff on appointment !
Who are you M.Cohen Everything ! I’m the surfer, the jeweler, the father and the burner.
Ok – so, if we stop for a second, the 33-years-old man who surfs whenever he can, talks to his mini-him every chance he has and approaches jewelry in a way no-one has really explored before. Maor Cohen does that for a reason : his life navigates towards the festival of Burning Man. The playa delimits the portion of desert where is happening the Burning Man festival : he has a tatoo of it on his forewarm. The time he spends in the desert at the end of August influences his behavior, thoughts, thinking process and attitude to the world… Explanations.
Tell me about Burning Man… What I do here is the reflection of what happens there.
Have you ever created something out of Burning Man ?Back in 2013 inside the pyramid of the burn, there was a stack of polished rocks that created art infrastructures called Obsidian. After the templeburn (second celebration of the festival marking the end of it) I went with the man who had designed the temple and helped clean up. Walking in, I realized that the actual structure of the stone had remain the same even after the burn ! The oustide layer had just peeled from the heat. Although there was a rope not to access the place, I stole a few pieces that I kept in my jacket and left. Every single person on the playa (meaning 65’000 people) touched that rock at least once putting his or her intentions, let go things, received or sent wishes. Two years ago, I made 1000 jewelry pieces with a tiny rock in it !
What did you do with them ? I gave them away as a gift to the people on the playa.
What is your style outhere? On the playa, my style is an extension of my true style. There, I can express myself in the best way! I have one van filled with costumes. I put something easy in the morning and build on it throughout the day and night ! I create a lot of cool people for them to look good. I collect real designers pieces that I use in Burning Man in different ways.
So what do you do on your free time that is not related to Burning Man? I work a lot ! M. Cohen is my main brand but I have another one that I have developed call Object Nior.
Have you thought about women? YAD is my other brand made of gold and diamonds that I started 18 months ago !
What makes a true men’s bracelet? In what I do specific, I create pieces for men who travel in cool and fun places. The man I am talking about knows what’up in the world but does not have that extra flare of something on him. Men who wore jewelry 10 years ago where the Chrome Heart guys only. When I approached the industry I wanted the pieces to be more friendly and accessible. At the end of the day, I just design for myself.
What is the M Cohen jewelry style ? I want to see three different bracelets on a wrist that looks like the man has traveled through three different places in the world and brought something back that he stacked up next to the previous bracelet. I design jewelry to stack them up and eventually create a style. Every piece has a story and should go next to something else.
How many pieces tops ? 3 pieces is the best number.
Favorite piece? It’s tough ! But I must say that it is the first piece I made – all made of black diamonds.
Precious stones for men? Black diamonds are easy for men and they can look like black onyx ! I can use diamonds, rubies or sapphires but they have to be set in a subtle way. I like the meaning of setting just one diamond…
One stone? I like opals ! I find them very interesting …
Who can wear you? If you leave the spiritual type on the side, and stick with regular men : anyone can wear my jewelry ! Often, men need advice because they don’t know what or where they should look into. Men that have become regular customers first entered my shop by mistake !
What do you like about jewelry?There are removable tatoos.
Where do you source your stones? I create them ! All the beads : except the lava stones, 90% of them are special cut !
What about the African style colored bracelet? I have 3 big books of African tribes, and each tribe has its own style. I work with 3 African men who live in those villages, and buy from the chief of the village some raw material that he brings back to me then I get to choose.
Why Africa ? Their culture is the best! They have such a variety of elements you can work with !
Do you make pieces that you end up not selling? You have no idea how many I have !
Anything else? Inspire and live inspired !
M.COHEN @ MAD LORDS
From Monday through Saturday
10.30 a.m. / 7.00 p.m.
316 rue St Honoré, 75001 Paris