Kieselstein Cord

Kieselstein Cord - TLC

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The 1980s saw a focus on sharp silhouettes, statement shoulders and bold colour as power dressing became a dominant force in high fashion. Tailored blazers and high waisted slacks were accessorised with chain link jewellery and luxe chiffon scarves as newly empowered women found a voice in the office, and in the board room. American fashion was now a major player on the world stage – Calvin Klein’s pioneering minimal tailoring had made him one of the most influential designers of the decade while fellow New Yorker Ralph Lauren became the first American to open a fashion boutique on London’s Bond Street. It was the decade in which Klein’s former collaborator, jewellery and accessories designer Barry Kieselstein-Cord, reached the apex of his style influence. The ultra-luxe jewels and belt buckles that had won a legion of followers among the fashion elite were the perfect finishing touches to the era’s statement-sleeved dresses and tailored jumpsuits. This new phase of creativity would lead Kieselstein-Cord to design some of his most enduring and iconic pieces. 

One of his most recognisable creations, Kieselstein-Cord’s infamous Alligator motif originated from a seminal 1980s collection. Evoking both the danger and beauty of nature, in the coming decades that reptilian symbol would crawl its way onto timepieces, eyewear, handbags and diamond encrusted jewellery. Another of the designer’s most prolific motifs, The Crown Heart, debuted in 1987. A solid gold heart fused with an ornate, sculpted crown, it’s a symbol that charms harmoniously with the status-led opulence of the era. As Kieselstein-Cord told Ikon TV, “I don’t really make jewellery – they are power symbols. That is all I make.” By 1985, the company’s first boutique had opened within Bergdorf Goodman’s New York department store. Boutiques followed in Neiman Marcus’ Beverly Hills store, in Mitsukoshi Tokyo and across Europe, where the designer drew praise for his unique aesthetic and intricate craftmanship. 

Launched in 1997, the Kieselstein-Cord eyewear collection built on that instantly recognisable design ethos, fusing playful opulence with beautiful materials and superior optical technology. The whimsical natural themes and trademark fauna-inspired embellishments that characterise the designer’s jewellery and accessories were woven seamlessly into his eyewear designs, resulting in a much-imitated look that has found a contemporary fanbase in the era of vintage inflected fashion. A mint-condition rarity, this classic sunglass is defined by that iconic Kieselstein-Cord motif – The Alligator. A sculpted metal embellishment, the Alligator is inset in the temples, enhancing a cut away detail that flows into delicate metal hinges. A softly rectangular frame that gently wraps the face, the classic dark brown and tortoiseshell colourway is infused with timeless elegance. Including the original sun lenses, but fully adaptable for RX requirements, this vintage frame evokes the energy of Kieselstein-Cord’s most creative period, bringing the high-glamour of 80s New York to a twenty-first century wardrobe.