Last week we were whisked away to New York for the opening of the first ever Zara Eco-friendly concept store and whilst we were there we thought we’d pop by to see our friends at the Alexis Bittar for an exciting behind the scenes tour of their workshops in Brooklyn. For a brand that basically established global domination in such a short space of time, being stocked in the world’s coolest boutiques and department stores and being worn by the First Lady of America Michelle Obama, we could never have imagined that each and every piece of jewellery that is made at Alexis Bittar is still made by hand. But yes, they are indeed. Much of the collection is made from Lucite, a beautifully matte and frosted form of acrylic glass. If like us you have many a time drooled of Alexis’ fabulous flower brooches or his amazing earrings and bangles – each corner is intricately hand carved.
Each piece of Lucite jewellery originates from these simple blocks of the material…
And if you’ve often admired all the amazing colour ways available in the Alexis Bittar jewellery – then here’s the interesting part. Each piece of coloured jewellery, never mind how bright, is in fact made of clear white Lucite but is painted on the inside to give it a vibrant colouring. Super clever! Many of his coloured metal designs are made using bright car spray paint and the very first time Alexis road tested this technique he took a piece of jewellery to his local mechanics to get them to try it out for him.
All designs come from designer Alexis Bittar and are passed onto the initial design team who create samples and assess his designs. Once the prototype has been made, the head craftsman in the workshop trains the rest of the team and explains what process is involved to create each piece of jewellery - et voila.
Finally we were secretly let into the Alexis Bittar sample room – a room which doesn’t often have its doors to members of the press due to the sheer volume of samples covering each shelf and wall. So here is proof. We did have a few near accidents nearly knocking over and entire pile of Lucite cuffs (no names!) but we made it out in once piece and with samples for our upcoming shoots. Phew!
To view Alexis Bittar’s full collection shop at his online shop.