Jay Lane's rhinestone and gilt metal leaf
is big, but you know that by now.
news, fake Facebook accounts, fake product reviews, fake
love, fake hair, fake body parts Ö
has built its own little universe out there. So it makes
sense that Kenneth Jay Lane is hotter than ever.
a jewelry designer whose flamboyant pieces have graced
the arms, necks and earlobes of famously stylish women
from Jackie Kennedy to Rihanna and Gwyneth Paltrow (or
from Barbara Bush to Beyonce, if you want to get real)
died last year at age 85. He was unabashedly fake to the
most beloved costume jewelry designer in the world of
fashion, Lane, a Rhode Island School of Design-trained
designer, imagined his pieces with an artistís eye, a
flair for color and an unapologetic love of flashy, faux
stones. The bigger, the better.
was emphatic about the fact that he was never using
anything that was a real stone," says Victoria
Tudor, a decorative arts specialist at the auction house
Christieís. "It was all fake. It was all supposed
week in New York, Christieís will auction Laneís
estate, including the contents of his grand Park Avenue
apartment and pieces from his jewelry archive, and on
Wednesday, the auction house held a preview of select
pieces of jewelry at Chicagoís Space 519, a fashion
and lifestyle boutique with a growing following. At the
preview, potential buyers ogled elaborate waterfall
necklaces and fingered gem-encrusted earrings displayed
at armís reach. They were jaw-dropping, sure, but
meant to be worn, not squirreled away behind glass.
creations, which are estimated to sell for prices
ranging from the low hundreds to around $1,500, will
likely fetch lower prices than the paintings, furniture
and objects he collected. Which he probably wouldnít
mind. "His pieces are definitely worn by famous
women," says Tudor, "but they were also for
any woman to wear."
news? Divisive. Fake jewelry? Democratic ó in the best
sense. Long before Target mass-marketed style, Lane was
making accessibility the bedrock of his jewelry line. He
was so fake, he was real. Todayís statement jewelry
trend follows a straight line back to Lane, who credited
himself with making costume jewelry into bold, unabashed
objects of high style. "Costume jewelry is getting
bolder and bigger," says Jim Wetzel, co-owner of
Space 519 with partner Lance Lawson. "Weíre in
this moment where women want to be different. And with
costume jewelry, original can be attainable."
styles statement jewelry with simple, modern clothes or
even with a T-shirt and cool blazer. He points out that
getting your flair from a jaw-dropping piece of costume
jewelry is a trick employed by "past masters"
like Audrey Hepburn ó and it still telegraphs a
sure-handed style. Itís not hard to follow that lead,
Wetzel says. Just remember:
ignore the emotional. If youíre looking at something
and youíre like, ĎI love that color,í then buy it.
A color in a necklace isnít going to be unwearable if
youíre doing it with neutral clothes. If you see a
brilliant blue and youíre attracted to it, you can
that one piece, and wear that one piece. You donít
have to really pack on more friends. If you have an
amazing pair of statement earrings, then that is the
statement earring, and you donít really need to go
care of your jewelry. When you take it off at night, put
it in the little sleeping bag. Because you want it to
stay in good condition. It may not be a Cartier piece,
but it might be the piece your grandmother gave you that
she wore on Saturday when she went out to dinner with
her husband. Thatís important.
of course the point that Lane never forgot: Fake doesnít
have to be Putin-on-Facebook creepy. Fake can just be
fun. Wear it with pride.