Kenneth Jay Lane

B. 1932

Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan

Awards: Tobe Award, 1966

Coty American Fashion Award, 1967 Harper's Bazaar International Award, 1967 Neiman Marcus Award, 1968 Swarovski Award, 1969 Brides Magazine Award, 1990

Even before 1963, when he began the company that bears his name, Kenneth Jay Lane recognized that every woman likes a little sparkle. "Style," the king of costume jewelry has proclaimed, "has little to do with money and expensive possessions. Attitude makes all the difference."

Perhaps he developed this belief while working in the art department at Vogue or while acting as fashion coordinator for Delman Shoes, in New York, or while working as an associate designer for Christian Dior, in Paris. But it was while creating a collection for Scaasi that he developed a technique for pasting flat-backed rhinestones on shoe ornaments and began to experiment with making costume jewelry, and Kenneth Jay Lane, Inc., was born.

Lane has always believed that costume jewelry can be as beautiful and desirable as real jewelry if it is executed with originality and perfection: "I want to make real jewelry with not real materials" (Martin, p. 236). His work has been praised from the beginning, featured in fine specialty stores such as Neiman Marcus, and worn by devoted customers including Barbara Bush whose strands of faux pearls by Lane have become her trademark.

Among his many contributions to the fashion world are special stones for use in costume jewelry which he developed. They actually rival the color of true rubies, emeralds, and sapphires. In addition, his reintroduction of the Art Deco jewelry style during the 1970s and 1980s evoked a renewed interest in the look of that era which has continued to the present. His creations have been featured on several television shows and in the Metropolitan Museum's Costume Institute exhibitions orchestrated by Diana Vreeland, whose own personal collection includes many of Lane's designs. As of this writing, his designs are distributed through his own boutiques as well as department and specialty stores around the world. See also: Christian Dior.

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