Kenneth Jay Lane, one of the most influential and successful American jewelry designers of our time, is lending his iconic style to Italian women's footwear brand Via Spiga with a small capsule collection to commemorate the brand's 25th anniversary. Kenneth has been around forever. The RISD grad began his career with a stint in Vogue's art department, where he started to realize his interest in accessory design. Although Lane's time at Vogue predated Diana Vreeland, the EIC would later wear his jewelry frequently, along with royalty, first ladies, and movie stars. Other fun facts: He was filmed for one of Andy Warhol's screen tests in 1966 and made Vanity Fair's International Best Dressed List in 1974 (Perhaps Waris is following in his footsteps?). Also, before pioneering the elegant approach to costume jewelry that he would become known for, Lane designed shoes for Delman and Christian Dior, where he started playing around with rhinestone embellishments.
Decades later, the 80-year-old designer is still going strong. He continues to produce new collections of amazing jewelry while his vintage pieces are now treasured as collectibles. And while it's hard to call them the Jacki O's and Audrey Hepburns of today, Lane's jewelry is still beloved by celebrities like Nicole Kidman, Britney Spears and Sarah Jessica Parker. But most recently, Lane got the opportunity to go back to his roots by collaborating with Via Spiga's creative director Paola Venturi on two pairs of shoes, which we got to see last night at the brand's 25th anniversary celebration on the rooftop of the Empire Hotel.
Since Kenneth had to leave early because of a foot injury (aw, old people), we spoke to Paola, who is this super chic and hip Italian woman, about the collaboration and where the brand is going. Paola, who joined Via Spiga about a year and a half ago, has nearly 20 years of experience ranging from Calvin Klein to Kate Spade to, most recently, Te Casan. As the brand's first ever female creative director, she said if anything she has elevated the quality of the materials used to make the shoes and the image to something more upscale. We also think she embodies the Via Spiga customer more than anyone else would have been able to, which in itself has probably strengthened the brand's identity. Paola, who now lives in Italy, knew she wanted to collaborate with an iconic American designer to create something special for the 25th anniversary and just knew Kenneth, who she had worked with before, would be the perfect fit.
Admittedly, most of the party-goers appeared to be at least 10 years our senior and, not surprisingly, the shoes are not something we would ever wear. Still, the two pairs of limited edition heels are pretty and classic and complement the brand's current direction nicely. Plus, they're pretty reasonably priced at $300/pair. We're mostly just bummed we didn't get to talk to Kenneth about Andy Warhol and what Vogue's art department was like in the '50s. Can you imagine?