Remembering Kenneth Jay Lane, Legendary New York Jewelry Designer

Kenneth Jay Lane in his living room. Photo: Andrew Bordwin

I saw the costume jewelry before I ever met the man who made it. During my time as a fashion stylist, I roamed through his vast showroom — an Aladdin’s cave of fashion treasures. When I later met the man, Kenneth Jay Lane, I instantly fell in awe. There was no one like him; he was his own brand of New York royalty. To wit: When I first met him it was at Diana Vreeland’s apartment, after a Met Ball. Lane was one of Vreeland’s best friends, and the duo were out together all the time: one night at Studio 54, another evening spent meeting the president.

Lane made a name and a fortune by dressing actresses and princesses in his fake jewels. But he lived among very real opulence, filling his gilded-age apartment in a Stanford White–designed building on Park Avenue with high-society guests and rich stories. New York visited Lane in that home in 2001. In honor of the illustrious designer, who died last week at 85, we’re revisiting Lane’s home, with its Proustian décor, engraved invitations, and photographs of friends, in the gallery ahead. (You can read the original story here.)

Remembering Kenneth Jay Lane, Legendary New York Designer