As with our beloved Holy City, age is only a number. There’s such a timeless sense of well-being and enjoyment, ranging from the various types of people and personal tastes, the diverse culture that lies within this city isn’t trending or following a certain course in fashion; its artistic and cultural influence is blending the ages.
Similarly, jewelry designer extraordinaire, Alexis Bittar, has tapped into the center of style preferences with a truly ageless ad campaign that has high-profiled fashion editors’ and trendy bloggers’ minds blown.
The New York based jewelry designer’s campaign isn’t entirely surprising, considering his many previous collaborations in the past and varied muses, but much like Charleston, SC, yet again, Bittar’s jewels have proven to be truly ageless. The eclectic and bold 93-year-old Iris Apfel, whom I’ve previously written about, so happens to be one of his muses behind Bittar’s upcoming spring/summer 2015 campaign. Alongside Apfel will be the young 18-year-old, Tavi Gevison. I adore how the industry’s standards of being rigid toward specific age groups are now melding into a beautiful swirl of timeless style — something that both Apfel or Gevison could equally enjoy is the epitome of Bittar’s designs, just the way they’ve been in the past. The fashion industry’s ageism is becoming historical, and simply knowing how to wear these gorgeous pieces well, whether you’re 93 or 18 is what’s so chic about his designs, along with the direction that fashion is going in general.
Although very different, these two ladies for Bittar’s newest campaign are perfection pulled together. Apfel is a fashion icon who’s been donning brightly colored lucite bangles for many years, whereas Gevison is a blogger-turned-magazine-editor-turned-actress, who would equally love the wrist candy he’s putting forth among other things. Together, however, these two prove nonconformity in his ads and that their individuality is equally strong in terms of style choice. The full campaign, shot by Terry Tsiolis, is set to debut in February, but here’s an image that depicts honing your own style, not necessarily adapting to your age. This campaign aims to debunk the idea that age is anything more than a number.
Croghan’s Jewel Box is a proud carrier of Alexis Bittar Designs, and is truly a treasure trove of some of the most unique estate pieces and antiques, as well as new designers and more modern pieces that are truly special for every occasion and age. The store is now proudly being served by its fourth family generation, and the store having remained in the same Charleston single house on King street for over 100 years, Croghan’s, itself, is a true treasure to Charleston and brings in people from afar just the same as it continually lures the locals, assisting everyone with nothing less than hospitable service.
Here are some of my favorite pieces from his line, currently available at Croghan’s:
Growing up as a child, even at the young age of ten, his obsession with antiques was quite apparent. He began selling beautiful antique pieces, including jewelry, when he was merely 13 years old. Needless to say, he had found his niche very early on.
As he became older, his avid love for New York and its nightlife lead Alexis astray from his true passion for a period of time. Until he finally decided to curb his consistent partying, he began designing his very own line of costume jewelry, influenced by the antiques he would collect as a child. He actually began carving lucite pieces within his small New York apartment, while simultaneously constructing a different line made of semi-precious metals and stones.
The minimalist trend of the early 90’s, caused his bold and colorful designs to really stand out and rapidly take off, becoming favorites to fashionistas and style icons such as Iris Apfel (known for her love of anything bold and colorful). During that time, he had ignited what would become a vast journey in accessory design.
Bittar was soon sought out by Dawn Mello, Fashion Director of Bergdorf Goodman, and provided the young designer with his first opportunity into the retail industry. From there, his collections soared and are now found in Harrod’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, and many other high-end retailers and boutiques across the globe — including Charleston’s finest and best-known Croghan’s Jewel Box on King Street.
Other recent collaborations include works with Nicola Formichetti For Thierry Mugler, working cohesively to execute an exclusive earring design that carried all futuristic traits true to the Mugler name for their Paris fall 2013 fashion show. Lim with 3.1 Phillip Lim and Bittar collectively designed a gold chandelier earring For Lim’s New York Fall 2013 Fashion Show, not to forget his collaboration with designer Jeremy Scott for his fall/winter 2012 show, and Jason Wu (for the second time) creating exclusive collections of custom made jewels that debuted on the runway for Wu’s fall/winter 2011 show. Alexis has also worked closely with Michael Kors, Dennis Basso, and Michael Angel for their spring 2010 ready-to-wear collections.
In 2002, Alexis worked closely with legendary stylist and costume designer Patricia Field, creating pieces specifically for HBO’s Sex and the City’s costume curator.
Alexis’s visionary designs have been discovered on roughly 15 editorial covers, including Time Magazine, Italian Vogue, French Vogue, and Harper’s Bazaar UK.
* Written for Charlestoninsideout.com in January 2015