Kenneth Jay Lane

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Kenneth Jay Lane in his apartment in New York City, 2003

Kenneth Jay Lane (April 22, 1932 – July 20, 2017) was an American costume jewelry designer.[1]

Biography[edit]

Born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of an automotive parts supplier,[2] Lane attended the University of Michigan and the Rhode Island School of Design.[3]

Lane was a member of the New York art staff on Vogue, before going on to design footwear for Delman Shoes between 1956–58 and for the New York branch of Christian Dior from 1958-63, where he trained under Roger Vivier.[3]

Lane was one of the subjects of Andy Warhol's Screen Tests (where, in a film taken in 1966, he represented "high fashion").[4]

From 1977 until his death his home in Manhattan was a duplex in the Stanford White mansion completed in 1892 and one of the few surviving mansions on Park Avenue, from 1923-77, it served as the home of the Advertising Club. At that time it was converted into a cooperative apartment house, his living room is the former club library and features an original marble mantelpiece, original artwork and lamps designed by Robert Denning of Denning & Fourcade.[5]

Lane collected Orientalist paintings and there is a gallery named in his honor at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in tribute to his philanthropy and bequests.[6]

Jewelry design[edit]

Lane started designing jewelry and launched his business in 1963 while producing bejeweled footwear for Dior and Arnold Scaasi,[3] he first came to public attention after Jo Hughes, a fashion industry insider, showed some of his designs to Wallis, the Duchess of Windsor, who bought several pieces and recommended him to her friends.[7] As both costume jewelry and society reporting were popular at the time, press reports of this incident launched Lane's business, his talent at copying high end jewelry from a quick glimpse proved popular, his clients proudly wearing the faux pieces.[7]

Jacqueline Kennedy was among those who commissioned fake jewels from Lane in order to enable her to wear them more freely while keeping the valuable originals in a safe.[8]

Writing for The New York Times at the time of Truman Capote's Black and White Ball in 1966, Marilyn Bender reported that the "most important men in a fashionable woman's life were her hairdresser, her make-up artist and Kenneth Jay Lane."[9] Lane's designs were hugely popular with a fashionable clientele that could have afforded authentic jewels; while stylists used them to complement the fashionable large hairstyles, short skirts and kaftans in fashion photographs.[9]

In 1966, he was awarded a special Coty Award for his jewelry design,[10] he won the Neiman Marcus Fashion Award in 1968.[3] Other awards received in the 1960s include the Tobé Coburn award (1966), the Harper's Bazaar International award (1967), the Maremodo di Capri-Tiberio d'Oro award (1967), and the Swarovski award (1969); in 1990 he won the Brides award.[3]

In addition to his American establishment, Lane had boutiques in London and Paris,[7] he created designs for Elizabeth Taylor, Diana Vreeland, and Audrey Hepburn, among many other high-profile clients.[3] More recently in 2011, Britney Spears and Nicole Richie were seen wearing Lane jewelry,[8] the Duchess of Windsor was rumoured to have been buried wearing one of his belts.[8] Barbara Bush wore one of his three-strand faux pearl necklaces to her husband's inaugural ball.[3]

In 1993, the year Lane commemorated the 30th anniversary of his founding, The New York Times compared him to Coco Chanel for having successfully made faux jewelry chic, noting that unlike Chanel's wealthy clientele, his rather more affordable designs were accessible to a far wider audience.[3] He established a presence as a vendor of jewelry on the cable television home-shopping network QVC, his twice-a-month four-hour appearances in 1997 each taking $1.5 million.[3] In 1998 the FIT Museum held a retrospective exhibition of Lane's jewelry from the 1960s to the late 1990s.[3]

Death[edit]

Through Andy Warhol he met Nicola Weymouth,[11] an English socialite who became his wife in 1974, they divorced in 1977.[7] a member of London's swinging set who achieved a small piece of cultural immortality as the subject of a portrait by Warhol. The couple married in 1975 and divorced within two years. Kenneth Lane died in 2017, aged 85. No known immediate family members survive.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Kenneth Jay Lane Dead: American Costume Jewelry Designer Was 85 | Pret-a-Reporter". Hollywoodreporter.com. Retrieved 2017-07-23. 
  2. ^ NB: Lane also claimed he had been born in 1930. See Hoby, 2011
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Markarian, Janet; Groshong, Lisa (2002). "Lane, Kenneth Jay". Encyclopaedia.com. Retrieved April 12, 2015. 
  4. ^ Angell, Callie (2006). Andy Warhol screen tests: the films of Andy Warhol: catalogue raisonné. H.N. Abrams. p. 295. 
  5. ^ Home Design 2002: Jewels in the Town by Bob Morris,online, nymag.com, April 8, 2002; retrieved June 29, 2006.
  6. ^ "Orientalist Paintings from the Collection of Kenneth Jay Lane | The Metropolitan Museum of Art". Metmuseum.org. Retrieved 2017-07-23. 
  7. ^ a b c d Sheppard, Eugenia (October 21, 1977). "Designer's Artifact Collection on Sale". The Monroe Newstar. Retrieved April 12, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. 
  8. ^ a b c Hoby, Hermione. "Kenneth Jay Lane: The fake's progress". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on April 12, 2015. Retrieved July 23, 2017. 
  9. ^ a b Davis, Deborah (2010). Party of the Century: The Fabulous Story of Truman Capote and His Black and White Ball. John Wiley & Sons. p. 139. ISBN 9780470893579. 
  10. ^ McDowell, Colin (1984). McDowell's Directory of Twentieth Century Fashion. Frederick Muller. pp. 299–301. ISBN 0-584-11070-7. 
  11. ^ Szeplaki, Andrea (August 21, 2012). "How I met Andy – Nicky Weymouth and the team of bohemians". dulwichonview.org.uk. Dulwich OnView. Retrieved April 12, 2015. 
  12. ^ Enid Nemy (2016-10-31). "Kenneth Jay Lane, Jewelry Designer Who Made a Fortune Faking It, Dies at 85". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017-07-23. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Lane, Kenneth Jay; Miller, Harrice Simons (1996). Kenneth Jay Lane: Faking It. Harry N. Abrams. ISBN 978-0810935792. 

External links[edit]