Kenneth Jay Lane (shop our sale today) is arguably the most influential creator of fantasy jewelry of the twentieth century, and—inarguably—one of the greatest ever. So imagine our thrill at the news that not only would we be holding a sale of fabulous Lane baubles, but that it would also include rare signed copies of his classic 1996 memoir-cum-retrospective, Faking It.
What’s so beguiling about Faking It is how it takes the reader into KJL’s world, and what a world it is. There are appearances by Lane’s legion of famous fans and friends, which includes everyone from Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis to the Duchess of Windsor to Diana Vreeland. But it’s Lane’s accessibility that has made him the icon he is today: His unwavering commitment to pieces that fashionistas-on-a-budget can wear has endeared him to generations of women who live and die by their “KJL.”
Your designs are as beloved as they are prolific. What has been the most memorable collection you've designed and why?
My first art deco collection 20 years ago. No store bought it—it took 10 years before it was understood!
Historical periods have played a huge role in influencing your work, particularly the Byzantine and Art Deco eras. What historical period would have you loved to live in?
KJL has adorned generations of fashion icons, everyone from Elizabeth Taylor to the Duchess of Windsor to Madonna. What are some of your fondest recollections of your well-known clients?
The Duchess of Windsor doing the shimmy in my first “diamond” belt in front of my mother at La Grenouille.
My mask was made of black feathers.
In Faking It, you reveal an unflinching honesty about telling your clients (including those very posh, often indomitable spirits!) when something simply does not work for them. What are your style rules to live by for all women?
Dress for your own personality not just to be a la mode.
Joan Collins & Liz Taylor—for better or for worse.