Mon-Fri, by appointment only; Sat-Sun, closed
C, E at 23rd St.
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
The hides of cobras, crocs, jaguars, and other suitably handsome animals find new life on Jordan Betten’s five-by-eight-foot cutting table. Here, the lanky, self-schooled craftsman custom-cuts outrageously sexy leather garments and wildly chic bone-, shell-, and stone-studded accessories for Lenny Kravitz, Shakira, and other rocker types wishing to shake hips clad in a fringed belt dripping in lemur claws. Stylists and editor clients also frequent Betten’s sun-drenched studio in West Chelsea where, after browsing racks of thigh-hugging leather pants, oversize snakeskin belts, and fur-covered bags—including pieces that have been exhibited at the Met’s Costume Institute and at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum—they’ll select the material, style, and metalworking. After measurements are taken and the cutting begins, a cast of artisans gets to work; a pair of leather pants requires four to five weeks and can cost up to $20,000. Betten, a former model whose first projects were supple leather portfolio bags, also hand-paints organic-cotton T-shirts. Some designs are sold online, along with handbags of alligator, jaguar, and deerskin, adorned with amethyst, Tibetan turquoise, and Native American beadwork.