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  THE JEWELRY IS FANTASTIC!  The prices are remarkably modest.  And the ladies who promote the collections are a glorious 60 years and older, a long way from the skinny young things the Fashion Industry is most used to. 

But….we are talking about Alexis Bittar, that designer extraordinaire, who doesn’t believe in doing things like everybody else and has thus forged a maverick but wildly successful career in the world of jewelry making.

BITTAR TOOK THE Accessories of the Year Award at the Council of Fashion Designers of America earlier this year and now, here he is in the classy Saks Fifth Avenue Emporium in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, presiding over a trunk show of his unique jewelry, the same that nabbed him the Award in the first place.  Bittar takes it all in his stride.

                                               Modest Start

THE 42-YEAR-OLD Brooklyn-born designer started his business in 1990 in a one-bedroom apartment and has moved up the fashion ladder at a breakneck pace. His jewelry runs from handsculpted and handpainted hinge bracelets (part of his Lucite collection) to oversized floral brooches handpainted the color of pomegranates. 

Trendy gold hoops and teardrop earrings are remarkably popular, along with rings, such as one that is crystal encrusted, chunky, gold…and simultaneously classic and wild!

Bittar appeals to an older audience of buyers.  “Is she going to be buying my jewelry?” Bittar asks, pointing to a picture of a teenage model. “Probably not. The woman who (is going to buy my jewelry) is probably going to be 60 years old, And that is a reality.”

Bittar’s advertising reflects that demographic.  The star of his next ad campaign will be 66-year-old Lauren Hutton.  And she is a full decade younger than his most recent advertising celebrity:  Joan Collins. 

“In the advertising world, you always try to be provocative,” Bittar declares. “Isn’t it amazing that you could use a mature woman and that’s provocative?  People all over the world noticed that ad and talked about her age.

YOU CAN FIND JEWELRY THAT FITS ANY AGE CATEGORY RIGHT HERE, PIECES THAT EVEN BITTAR WOULD APPRECIATE:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                            Surprising Prices

BITTAR IS BEST KNOWN for his exceptional Lucite jewelry, which sells for as little as $45 for a thin bangle.  His Dew Drop Lucite earrings are just $90. He has three distinctive collections, including Miss Havisham, which is a mix of punk and Art Deco pieces.  Elements uses semi-precious stones plus 60s metal smith work with inspiration from sculptor Alexander Calder. This grouping also shows the influence of painter Gustav Klimt.

Lucite is perhaps his most popular collection.  Here, Bittar fuses the techniques used to create Bakelite plastic jewelry of yesterday with the present day glassmaking art of Lalique crystal. The Lucite is initially made by some 250 American artisans in Brooklyn who cut and sculpts it.  Then, Bittar takes it through another six steps, gilding and painting it so that it reflects light.

Bittar is in the process of opening four stores, which will bring the number of Alexis Bittar boutiques to seven. And while he talks about the 60-plus ladies who wear his jewelry, the fact is, just about every age group is turned on by his work. 

Alexis Bittar jewelry is worn by the First Lady, along with celebrities galore.  Even young girls on their first jobs wear his jewelry, because some of the pieces are priced low enough for their budgets.   

But whatever the price, Bittar’s interest is in creating and selling what he calls “special pieces,” pieces that could be considered collectible.  “I went into the business thinking that way,” he asserted, “understanding that if I was handsculpting a piece out of Lucite, which no one was doing, then it would be collectible.”

IF YOU ENJOY BITTAR’S WORK, YOU’LL SURELY LOVE THESE PIECES, ALSO MADE WITH A CRAFTSMAN’S FINE ATTENTION TO DETAIL:

 

 

 

 

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Tuesday, November 16th, 2010


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