Jewelry as Art: Alexis Bittar

My Alexis Bittar bangle; photo by Sophie McMillan

While undeniably luxurious, with many designs featuring precious metals and semi-precious stones, we feel our work should be accessible, unique and attainable. ~ Alexis Bittar

I don’t wear a lot of jewelry; a pair of earrings, my beloved watch, and a bangle or necklace every now and then, round out my jewelry collection. But several years ago when I found out about jewelry designer Alexis Bittar, I knew that I had to incorporate some of his precious art pieces into my life, as my own collectibles. Bittar’s story alone is worth owning a piece: Brooklyn-born Bittar, using Lucite and semi-precious stones and metals, began selling handmade pieces on the streets of Soho. Perhaps he was inspired by his parents who were both university professors and antique collectors. His hand-carved Lucite bangles and bold creations were discovered in 1992 by Dawn Mello, Bergdorf Goodman’s then Fashion Director. In 2004 he opened his first boutique on Broome Street, Soho, and went on to open a total of 15 stores in the United States. In 2010 Bittar became the CFDA Accessory Designer of the Year. The success of the brand is the view that each piece is to be seen as collectible – modern heirlooms that will stand the test of time and trends. Alexis Bittar sold his business to Brooks Brothers in 2016 and he now works exclusively in philanthropy, but his jewelry as art will certainly stand the test of time.

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“Made in NY” Is Focus for New York Fashion Week

New York

New York

NY Fashion Week kicked off yesterday, with the city creating the Made in NY Fashion Initiative, a $5 million investment designed to tout, support and nurture the New York fashion industry. According to the New York City Economic Development Corporation, there will be a full-on “Made in NY” campaign, with ads to run on 75 buses, 600 taxi tops, five billboards, and in ferry and airport terminals and fashion publications. The ads feature the work of local NYC designers such as Prabal Gurung, Public School, Chromat, A-Morir, Rosie Assoulin, Tim Coppens, Ohne Titel, Eugenia Kim and Alexis Bittar. The campaign, which is starting now, will run through Oct. 15.

Good news for the local industry.

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Off the Cuff!

Double-cuff

Doubled

My favorite accessory of late? The cuff. Empowering, architectural, and very, very chic, think of the cuff as your personal power. Wear one, wear two, but rock the look now. Your jewelry box will thank you!

Photos by Sophie MacMillan; shot on location at Mondo Summit

 

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“I’m very aware of color and texture and fabric …”

Maggie at home with her artwork

Maggie at home with her artwork

… and I’m very tactile.” ~ Maggie

Maggie is an artist. She sees the world in color. She sees the world in music. She has a gift of expression. And even though she describes her style as clean, preferring simple, comfortable designs and natural fibers, like high-quality linen and cotton, it’s important to note that the artist in Maggie is never far away. As Maggie herself says, “I like to funk it up with earrings and jewelry. I wear a lot of vintage and I have a few preferred spots where I buy it, as well as the little flea markets, like the vintage brooch I wear on my blazer. I also love really good costume jewelry, like Alexis Bittar. A small strand of pearls looks good with everything, especially when you funk it up! I have a little edge but I always wear things that will last for several seasons.”

At 65, Maggie is aware that she is getting older and that affects what she wears: “I won’t wear t-shirts anymore.” But, I love Maggie’s philosophy on aging and fashion:

“Getting older never means it is okay to be sloppy. As you get older, start to wear more color around your face (I never wear black around my face anymore – only on the bottom half of me.). That is why I love wearing colorful scarves. I especially love sky blue and the blue/gray family around my face. I always wear lipstick, too. I used to wear red, but now I prefer a color with more blue in it; more pinkish with brown undertones (I wear Audrey, by Laura Mercier).” ~ Maggie

I think Maggie knows herself and her fashion well. She has earned that.

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