Kieselstein Cord - Not Even
The iconic artist and designer Barry Kieselstein-Cord once said, “I am not influenced by fashion, preferring to be an influencer.” That statement portentously tapped into the mood of the 2020s style zeitgeist, but as a friend and contemporary of the late Andy Warhol, Kieselstein-Cord is well-placed to understand that the modern day insta-influencer’s fifteen minutes of fame are fleeting. After five decades in the vanguard of fashion, Kieselstein-Cord has achieved a longevity admired by even the genteel fashion houses of old Europe. Modelled on the ateliers of Louis XIV, his innovative American luxury house has set new precedents in design, wielding an influence that resonates into the twenty-first century.
Inspired by the diverse greens of the American landscape, and by the past cultures that have fascinated him since childhood, Kieselstein-Cord creates distinctive collections of jewels and accessories that reflect on the essence of nature. Founded in New York in 1972, his synonymous company has attracted a diverse celebrity following – in the course of his longstanding career he’s accessorised a variety of tastemakers, from Mick Jagger to Jay-Z and Barack Obama. But one of the designer’s most significant contributions to the world of fashion was the two-year legal battle he waged against counterfeiters who had copied his instantly recognisable designs – a battle paid for at his own expense. That landmark case established vital protections for new designers and is still taught in law schools as a turning point in copyright law.
In the twenty-first century, Kieselstein-Cord’s heritage pieces have inspired the next generation and graced the pages of leading fashion titles alongside the new decade’s hottest new designers. When Gen Z pop firebrand Billie Eilish appeared in the twentieth anniversary issue of avant-garde style bible, V Magazine, her eclectic multi-layered outfit was accessorised by Kieselstein-Cord’s classic Serpent belt buckle. Like those seminal belt buckles, jewels and handbags, hard-to-find pieces from Kieselstein-Cord’s eyewear line are highly coveted by vintage fashion collectors today. Launched in 1997, the collection fused the designer’s signature whimsical themes and fauna-inspired embellishments with beautiful materials and superior optical technology.
Not Even is a rare vintage sunglass that hits on the 2020s hottest eyewear trends. The super-tiny lens look has been seen for the last few summers on It-girls of the moment, Rihanna, Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid, while the rimless rectangle shape is the latest cutting-edge style. It’s a trend that speaks to the cyclical nature of fashion, confirming the significance of vintage wear as a key determiner of contemporary designs. As an original piece, this mint-condition sunglass balances the tiny tinted lenses with tortoiseshell coloured sustainable buffalo horn temples and intricate metal detailing. Sculpted butterfly motifs on the hinges are signature Kieselstein-Cord embellishments – delicate touches offset by the sleek metal bridge and end pieces. Including the original sun lenses, but fully adaptable for RX requirements, Not Even is a playful variation on the designer’s classic aesthetic. As his company approaches its fiftieth anniversary, Barry Kieselstein-Cord’s continued relevance as a style inspiration is a testament to the uniqueness of his ground-breaking artistic vision.