Alexis Bittar Designer known for his eponymous jewelry company which was credited for reviving art costume jewelry movement in the 1990s. Bittar sold his entire company to Brooks Brothers in 2015 and parted ways with the business.
In 2004 Bittar was named "Rising Star of the Year" by the Prestigious Accessories Council of Excellence (ACE), in 2010 he won the CFDA Accessory Designer of the Year award, in November 2014 he received the Brand of the year from ACE.
Bittar was born in 1968 in Brooklyn, NY to Bob and Helen Bittar, both university professors and antique collectors.
At age ten, Bittar began selling flowers from a hand-painted cart near his home in the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn. As a teenager, he sold antique jewelry and vintage clothing on St. Mark's Street in New York City. Once, as a birthday present, Bittar's parents purchased him $300.00 worth of vintage jewelry that he then used as the seedlings of his nascent commercial operation. Bittar discovered the New York club scene while attending the Bronx High School of Science, which fueled his interest in fashion and design.
Bittar briefly attended State University of New York at Albany, but dropped out during his second semester. When he returned to New York, Bittar continued to party and supported himself selling antique jewelry and vintage clothing on the streets of lower Manhattan. Recognizing the destructive influence they had on his life, Bittar closed the door on drugs and alcohol by the time he was 22. He continued to pursue his interest in jewelry and design, focusing on his own line of costume jewelry influenced by the antique collectibles he grew up around.
In 2015, Bittar had 2 children, Sophie and Ivan Bittar. Bittar continues to pursue LGBTQ civil issues and currently resides on the Board for the LGBT Center of NYC.
Alexis Bittar bought his first block of Lucite in 1990 and holed up in his apartment figuring out how to hand carve it into the jewelry vision he had. Now, over 25 years later, that original vision of handcrafted jewelry is a core pillar of the brand and reinforced by the brand's factory in Industry City, Brooklyn.
Using Lucite and semi-precious stones and metals, Bittar began selling handmade pieces on the streets of Soho. In 1992, Dawn Mello, the fashion director of Bergdorf Goodman agreed to carry his designs, followed by Saks Fifth Avenue, the Museum of Modern Art, and Harrods.
In 1998, Bittar launched the first of what would become many designer collaborations, working with Burberry, the British luxury fashion house. Bittar designed Burberry's first Ready-to-wear jewelry collection, interpreting their trademark plaid onto Lucite. Subsequent collaborations include legendary stylist and costume designer Patricia Field for Sex and the City, the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, Estee Lauder, Michael Kors, Jason Wu, Jeremy Scott, Michael Angel, and Phillip Lim.
Michelle Obama regularly chose to wear Alexis Bittar pieces. Other iconic celebrities who have been seen wearing the brand are: Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Solange Knowles, Nina Dobrev, Shailene Woodley, Cameron Diaz, Alicia Keys, and Christina Aguilera.
In 2004, Alexis opened his first boutique on Broome St. and went on to open a total of 9 stores in the US. Alexis Bittar is known for celebrating women who are independent thinkers and nonconformists. He's used a variety of women throughout his advertising ads and has worked hard in terms of fighting ageism.
In 2010, Alexis Bittar featured Joan Collins as the face of his Spring campaign. Bittar wanted to mimic 80's fashion and believed Joan was perfect for this role considering she was the 1980s soap opera Queen.
The muse behind Alexis Bittar's Spring 2011 ad campaign was no other than 70's icon Lauren Hutton. Like Collins, Lauren portrayed a 70's vibe throughout the campaign.
In Spring 2014, Alexis Bittar was one of the first brands to feature a transgender model in an ad campaign with Ines Rao.
In Spring 2015, Alexis Bittar cast two of the industry's most well known names in his ads, 93-year-old fashion eccentric Iris Apfel, and Tavi Gevinson,the teen blogger turned Rookie editor turn Broadway star- 19. The ads were meant to highlight the essence of strong women.
Bittar currently pursues philanthropy.
Awards and honorsEdit
- "AlexisBittar.com - Biography". Archived from the original on 2013-01-29.
- "The Washington Post, June 13, 2010 - Fashion's awards gala highlights industry's resilience in the face of recession, by Robin Givhan". 2010-06-13.
- Rao, Priya (2011-12-15). "Alexis Bittar Shows Us His Jewelry". Huffington Post. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
- "New York Social Diary, Alexis Bittar Feature". New York Social Diary. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
- "New York Times, Feb 23, 2012 - The Evolution of a Jewelry Prince, by Tim Murphy". The New York Times. 2012-02-21.
- Murphy, Tim (February 12, 2012). "Evolution of a Jewelry Prince". New York Times. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
- "Vogue Italy, July 2010 - Alexis Bittar, by Teresa Cannatà".
- Elle Magazine (2010-09-09). "Alexis Bittar to Design for Jason Wu". Elle.com. Archived from the original on 2010-09-19. Retrieved 2010-10-22.
- "Tag: Alexis Bittar". Mrs-o.com.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-09-17. Retrieved 2013-09-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "CFDA Website - 2010 CFDA Fashion Awards". 2010-06-08. Retrieved 2013-01-13.
- "The Wall Street Journal, Jan 30, 2012 - Alexis Bittar Enters Partnership".[dead link]