BY JUDY CARMACK BROSS
Fabulous fakes by Kenneth Jay Lane, an icon of past four decades, to be offered June 6 at Christie’s auction house in New York dazzled luminous local ladies at Space 519 and its new dining space, The Lunchroom, this past Wednesday. Christie’s Senior Vice President and Midwest Managing Director, Cathy Busch, invited the fetching young crowd to try on Lane’s version of the Jackie Kennedy’s diamond, ruby, sapphire, and emerald necklace given to her by Aristotle Onassis.
Eyes brightened upon viewing Cartier-inspired feline bracelets, Verdura-esque shell pieces, a delicate rhinestone leaf necklace, and brooches from Lane’s Egyptomania period.
The jewelry was only a part of pieces at auction from the Lane archives and estate to be offered along with collections of other celebrated New York style and design icons, including Arnold Scaasi, Robert Ladd, and Robert Couturier, in the auction titled Interiors: New York Visions.
Stuart Dyer Mesires, in mid-century Oscar de la Renta, couldn’t put down her receipt book as guests purchased glorious 1960s Lane pieces from her Ladybug Vintage collection at an accompanying trunk show at Space 519. The always charming Steve Zick, local Christie’s Senior Vice President, added to the fun.
Former North Side Chicago resident and current Christie’s decorative arts specialist, Victoria Tudor, came in for the event and saluted Lane as a lover of all that was “big, gutsy, and lavish”:
“He was a gifted artist who definitely thought more is more! He was proud of using all the materials he could find. He loved buying beads at tiny New York shops and whimsical things at little stores in France and India. His favorites were rhinestones that looked like diamonds—none are real stones but are organic materials or plastic. He frequently took real shells and adorned them with rhinestones.
“Although costume jewelry, such as Bakelite, was popular before Lane, he made it famous. His ‘Jackie Onassis’ was also worn by Linda Evans in the television show Dynasty.”
Lane’s jewelry not only bedecked Jackie Kennedy but other first ladies including Barbara Bush and Hilary Clinton. The line today repeats many of the old motifs. Lisa Salzer Wiles, creator of Lulu Frost, has said that her work is inspired by vintage Lane.
Lane was always a bon vivant whose faux jewelry brought great design to a larger audience. In Marilyn Bender’s New York Times article of 1966 chronicling Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball, she wrote: “The most important men in a fashionable woman’s life are her hairdresser, her make up artist, and Kenneth Jay Lane.”
For more information, visit christies.com to view the catalogue for Interiors: New York Visions.
Photo credit (event): Jeff Ellis Photography