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April 4, 2013

Be Jeweled: Alexis Bittar Comes to Saks, Atlanta, Thurs. April 11

Lucite Goes Luxe

By Nancy Staab

From sleek Lucite bangles to intricate, vintage-inspired pieces, NYC jewelry designer Alexis Bittar has you covered, and smothered, in statement jewels.

Spring jewels by Alexis Bittar Spring jewels by Alexis Bittar

NYC jewelry designer Alexis Bittar has lived something of a charmed life. An early treasure trove of entangled jewels, a gift from his antiques-collecting parents, gave Bittar his first taste of vintage beauty. Fast forward a few years and he was selling his own Lucite pieces, embedded with semi-precious stones and metals, on the streets of SoHo.  But it was a brief ride from street to chic. Bittar’s fusion of new-world materials like Lucite, sometimes in bold neon colors, with the charms of vintage jewelry and its lavish embellishment, caught the eyes of several prestige vendors like Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, and MoMA. And by 2012 he was named CFDA Accessory Designer of the Year.

Alexis Bittar Alexis Bittar

Bittar’s trademark may be his lustrous, painted Lucite bangles that seem lit from within, whether modern and minimalist or spiked with a million Swarovski crystals or semi-precious gems. However, Bittar also creates statement necklaces, eye-catching drop earrings, bold cocktail rings, and sculptural modernist cuffs. Recent collections have taken inspiration from such diverse subjects as Dickens’ eccentric, jilted bride Miss Havisham; the exotic island of Mauritius ( with the recent Elements collection), 80’s New Wave and Blondie.

In fact, Bittar has a particular fascination with the stylistically bold 1980’s, his own coming of age period, when he haunted the punk rock clubs of NYC. He even summoned the flamboyant, fashion loving, 80’s characters from Ab Fab, Edina and Patsy, to front his 2012 ad campaigns. He’s also collaborated with several noted fashion designers like Jason Wu, Michael Kors and most recently, Nicola Formichetti for Thierry Mugler. And, as if to seal his universal cool factor and appeal, Bittar’s distinctive jewelry has been worn by both the First Lady Michelle Obama and Lady Gaga. Take your pick: proper or punk, Bittar’s pieces limn both boundaries.

Meet the designer Alexis Bittar in person and view his latest spring collection of jewelry at Saks Fifth Avenue at Phipps Plaza on Thursday April 11, from 10AM to 4PM. For more info visit: