Fashion magazines are heralding the return of “big jewelry.” I’m so embarrassed—no one told me it went away! Perhaps that’s because I’ve always been a fan of Alexis Bittar’s bold, colorful pieces. The hand-carved, hand-painted Lucite wonders certainly attract attention, accenting a range of looks from punk-rock to pretty-girl (prices start at $60 for earrings and top out at $800 for a gold-studded cuff). And now they’re all on display in Bittar’s first shop (465 Broome Street; 212-625-8340 or alexisbittar.com).
Bittar once hawked his wares on these very Soho streets; that was before he started commanding entire cases at Saks. In addition to the Lucite, there are three other collections: delicate, beaded pieces with pearls and semiprecious stones set in sterling silver or 24-karat-gold vermeil; the Mercury line, which mimics the Lucite in sterling silver; and a very rocker-chic look Bittar created with Alex and Lee (huge eighties couture jewelers who are extremely collectible today). Most of the Brooklyn native’s work isn’t for the shy, but don’t write him off if you’re a pearl-strand type of girl—pop in and have a look. You never know what hidden parts of your personality might be drawn out.