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Alexis Bittar’s eponymous jewelry collections can be found in a number of sophisticated places. His elegance-meets-edge pieces are sold all over the world, and are known to grace high fashion runways, having debuted in previous collaborations with Mugler, Phillip Lim, Jeremy Scott, Jason Wu, and Michael Kors. Bittar is also known as the jewelry designer who, beginning in 2002, collaborated with Sex and the City’s stylist Patricia Field for custom designs for the characters, and a creator who, in 2008 alone, scored 15 editorial cover placements. But need not forget that it wasn’t always the limelight for Bittar.
In 1991, as he was starting out, he relocated from St. Mark’s Place to SoHo to sell his one-of-a-kind pieces on Prince and Greene Streets among just a few other vendors. From there, a series of relationships were built with retail companies, organizations, and museums such as Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Museum of Modern Art, and the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA).
Whether you know his company for the famous Lucite bangles, or for one of your other favorite cocktail rings, necklaces, or cuffs, his latest collaboration with Bradley Theodore is sure to shine on your wish list.
Theodore, a Turks and Caicos-born artist, graduated from the School of Visual Arts (SVA), and made his name on the streets of Manhattan with images of fashion industry icons Anna Wintour and Karl Lagerfeld as colorful skulls. He has gained recognition and partnerships with fashion designers, hotels, restaurants, and more, like One Management, Mackage, Hotel Chantelle, The Jazz Foundation of America, and now, Alexis Bittar.
So how did their creative relationship start?
“He actually started following me on Instagram—that’s how we met,” said Bittar of his budding friendship with Theodore. “He was blown away by the ad campaigns, the jewelry, the windows—and he also knew that I sold on the street for years—so he approached me through Instagram. And when I saw him, I was blown away by his art. This is the second collaboration we’ve done.”
The first, back in February, was for Bittar’s 25-year anniversary celebration with 1,000 of his closest companions. So now, for the second time, and for a limited time only, Bittar has gained Theodore’s eclectic color splatters and patterns, and has handcrafted a select few wearable pieces to be available at his SOHO boutique location—465 Broome Street.
To celebrate the launch of this new collaboration, Bittar and Theodore held a cocktail reception at the downtown studio, and Theodore performed a live painting on a model that periodically wore the collection’s different pieces. The store’s front window now displays a signature Theodore skull, and the windows and walls of Alexis Bittars’ store mimic, in Theodore’s paint colors, some of the looming flowers within the store’s space.
The new, celebrated collection is made up of a variety of sophisticated and playful pieces including: a silver headband with two red, yellow, and pink flowers that encompass silver and diamond skulls; a colorful cuff with two diamond-studded skulls that face each other to appear as a butterfly, operating on a hinge and magnet closure; a twisted choker-like necklace that dons a hefty hand-painted bird charm; a silver chain necklace holding the diamond-studded skulls; and a painted eye and mouth mask with a black tie-on ribbon. The line subtly shows the transitional and metaphorical states between life and death through Theodore’s staples: butterflies and skulls.
As the artists mingled with guests and friends, they welcomed everyone to try the pieces on. Making his way to the back of the shop, Theodore smiled, and said, “I’m trying to put ‘New York’ back in New York.”