Alexis Bittar on His '80s-Inspired Bloomingdale's Collection and Obsession With Taxidermy

Alexis Bittar has taken his colorful outlook on jewelry to Bloomingdale’s for an exclusive collaboration with the department store.
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Alexis Bittar has taken his colorful outlook on jewelry to Bloomingdale’s for an exclusive collaboration with the department store.
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Alexis Bittar has taken his colorful outlook on jewelry to Bloomingdale’s for an exclusive collaboration with the department store. The 19-piece line, which launches in-stores next week and features punched-up takes on many of Bittar's signature elements, was celebrated with an editors’ luncheon at David Burke Kitchen on Wednesday afternoon.

Any fan of Bittar's knows that his taste veers towards the early 20th century—his stores are stocked with pieces heavily infused with '20s romanticism. But for Bloomingdale’s, he decided to mix it up a little, finding inspiration in one of the '80s biggest musical acts. “We decided to create a capsule collection inspired by Debbie Harry, mixed with a little bit of [art] deco,” he told Fashionista. “I’m always compressing eras so there’s a little bit of 1980s and a little bit of 1930s.”

The result is a Chrysoprase-stone-heavy collection ($85- $995) that is both strong and graphic. But for Bittar, the decades’ overlap makes perfect sense. “If you look at both '80s and '30s art, the 1930s art is super architectural with lots of sharp angles. And if you look at the 1980s, it's very similar. I think they have a similar energy.”

The line is available exclusively at Bloomingdale’s, a store which Bittar says, “represents a New York energy—it’s iconic.” And while the collection is pitch-perfect, it will be missing one classic Bittar element—taxidermy. In the past few years, the designer’s stores have become as well known for their jewel box appearance as they are for innovative taxidermy sculptures, which have evolved to include hybrid, Greek mythology-type animals too. (Bittar carefully noted that all of his stores’ taxidermies feature “naturally expired” animals.) “I love how when you have your own retail space you partly get to control the environment,” he said. “The first one I did was at my store in SoHo, which is very pink and ladylike— I liked the idea of bringing in a bear because it just seemed juxtaposed. I kind of just kept it going...this is now four years of taxidermy.”

Bittar has only received a small handful of complaints, like, “a nasty message from a woman in San Francisco saying they were in poor taste.” But that’s ok with him. “I like being provocative,” he said of the sculptures’ overall effect.