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Neil Lane - Hollywood’s Magician
The favourite jewellery designer of Hollywood’s most beautiful women, Neil Lane, finds every design that he works on—intriguing. An art connoisseur, Lane finds inspiration in Hollywood’s bold and beautiful past, flea market, antique jewellery and nature’s beauty. Preeti Srivastav finds out more about the designer who dreams of designs when asleep
By: Diamond World News Service
Jan 1 2013 2:08PM
Reference: 7513  

Modesty comes naturally to him, as naturally as creativity. He has mastered the art of giving shapes to dreams, vouching this statement are his striking collections. Meet celebrity jewellery designer Neil Lane, who has bejeweled the jewellery boxes of many Hollywood personalities. While some may find his designs out-of-the-box or unique, but to him, his designs are simplest possible translation of dreams and vision. Preeti Srivastav delves into the secret of the glittering vanity of Hollywood stars that is powered by Neil Lane.

“If it’s simple, it is already in the category of classy, elegant and thus unique,” says the designer. We couldn’t agree more, but the question is unavoidable, what inspires him to continuously create such emotion-like jewellery pieces? “I am inspired by Hollywood’s glamorous past, which was bold, beautiful and an original trend-setter. I try to bring those aesthetics to my contemporary collections. I am enamoured by historical reference and I love using that in my designs,” he shares.

While growing up in Brooklyn, New York, colours perpetually fascinated him, coaxing him to he take up painting in college. Later, he moved to Paris to continue his studies at L’Ecole des Beaux Arts. In Paris, he pursued his passion for jewellery, developed a keen eye for vintage pieces and began his renowned period jewellery collection.

Lane takes life as it comes, accepting every change in life as a blessing from the Almighty. “Being a jewellery designer was not a planned move. I was always inspired by drawing and painting. I studied at the Art Student League in NYC and at other art schools where, along the line, I became fascinated by jewellery when I was living in Paris. After coming back to America, I intuitively started designing jewellery.”

Sharing some more about his stint in Paris, Lane says, “I have spent a long time in Paris. What intrigued me most was the flea market there. I had a studio atelier where I used to paint. When I returned from Paris, I started selling my paintings in flea markets in Manhattan. I was always intrigued by antique and vintage jewels that are found in abundance in flea markets. I started selling bits and pieces of antique jewellery along with my paintings. Someday, someone said that I should go to Los Angeles and it did not take me much time to pack my bag and shift to LA. In LA, I started selling jewels. Today, it has been 20 years since I have been a part of the glitter and glamour of Hollywood, which is like living my dream,” reminisces Neil.

In course of narrating his story, Lane let out a secret, which not many know. “I dream of my creations and designs before I sketch them and bring them to life,” says he, adding, “Although contemporary, my designs are imbued with my passion for historical reference. As a trained painter, I see my jewellery as a harmony of colours and movement, whether it's the flashes of light that jump from diamond to diamond in my long finely millgrained platinum diamond chains, or the burst of colours in my cuff bracelets set with fancy coloured rough diamonds when they hit the sunlight. Hollywood, Red Carpet, and Glamour are part of my everyday life. My jewellery designs are equally at home with haute couture or chic ready to wear.”

While he delivers the best with such ease, we wondered if ever he finds something that can be categorised as difficult in the jewellery creation process. To this, he says, “Designing jewellery is passion to me and I have been designing since many years now. However, I always find it difficult to take my lifelong aesthetics and bring them to my collection. I wonder and strive hard to I take a vision, a dream, and turn that into an actual, physical piece of jewellery.”

While throwing light on his latest collection, which is inspired by the magic of Hollywood, he says, “I have designed a Hollywood glamour collection that had that kind of inspiration that was more accessible to America.”

Talking Hollywood, from Angelina Jolie to Madonna, Charlize Theron, and Demi Moore, Neil Lane has worked with some of the most beautiful women. When asked about his muse, in no time, he replies, “It can be none other than Madonna. She is a style statement, herself, so full of life and energy. A few days before the Oscars, I received a call from her about jewels for her Vanity Fair Oscar party dress. I was given a picture of her black Gautier dress. I started preparing black diamond beads and stringing them together with white diamonds. Madonna likes a large selection so I brought over many other jewels. The long black diamond chains were perfect for the dress and for a finishing touch we chose a large black onyx diamond ring which, besides having a glamorous look, added the rock and roll element to the look.” Lane also designed the most talked about ‘M’ diamond initial for Madonna for her GAP campaign. “The ‘M’ became a huge hit and popularised initial necklaces. She has gone on to wear the M on numerous occasions. When she launched the first leg of her recent tour, we created a huge sapphire M in a circle for her to wear on the tour, which was equally a rage,” adds Lane.

Recalling his toughest but best creation, Lane says, “I was working on ‘the layered look’ for Catherine Zeta-Jones. She was going to the premiere of the movie ‘Terminal’, and I went to the Beverly Hills Hotel where she was staying. I took my bag of tricks with me, it’s like a doctor’s bag, and we just opened it up and played around. She’s stunning, actually more so in real life, and she had brought a long, very simple black dress knowing I would bring jewellery. So we put on one diamond chain, then two, and she was fine with that, but we went on to add more and ended up with 10 diamond chains with about 500 carats of diamonds. She said great and just walked out the door, and it became an iconic look that was shown all over the world.”

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