Monday, 23 March 2009

Designer: Alexis Bittar

Whether you know his name, or whether you don't, it's safe to say that after reading this you'll be left wanting a bit of Alexis Bittar - America's jewellery darling du jour.

New Yorker Alexis was never shy when it came to demonstrating his entrepreneurial streak; by the age of 10 he'd set up a flower stall opposite his childhood home in Brooklyn; at 20 Alexis embarked on what has been an ever-growing career, creating his first line of vintage glass jewellery, handmade from reclaimed chandelier droplets.

In the two decades since, Alexis has worked hard; he's produced several stunning collections and, more recently, collaborated with the Burberry fashion house. His jewellery has featured in advertising campaigns for Estee Lauder and, most notably, Sex & The City, following Alexis' work with the show and movie's stylist, Patricia Field.
Though Alexis works with three ranges - Miss Haversham, Elements and Lucite - it is the latter with which his work has become synonymous. Producing a wide collection of Lucite pieces - from on-trend tribal bangles and floral necklaces, to deco-inspired rings - Alexis works with the seasonal colours and trends to keep his designs ever-fresh and ever-more striking. His colourful palettes are left chic and simple, or come adorned with gold studs, Swarovski crystals and giant faux gemstones. The current collection, Celestial, is a marriage of the sea with Alexis' spring-time pastel hues. Bright coral reds clash with gold studding to create a look that's both daring and high-glamour.

Last year I had the great opportunity of meeting Ashley, one of Alexis' sale representatives for the UK. It gave me the chance to get to know more about the techniques used in the creation of the Lucite range - each piece is hand-carved from a chunk of Lucite, painted with layer upon layer of colour and then sealed with a gold toned outer-layer - and of course about Alexis' future plans. Word is, following time spent in London, Alexis has been inspired by the club kids of Hoxton and Shoreditch, not to mention the (now sadly deceased) club night Boombox.
With such a chameleon-like array of colours and an ever-changing design portfolio, owning one piece by Alexis is never going to be enough; his bangles alone are super-stackable, very durable and great fun to mix'n'match. And with a promising future ahead of him - and a growing fan base - it's without hesitation that I say Alexis is one desinger you have to keep an eye on!
For UK stockists, check out EC One, Liberty and Kabiri, who sell online!

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