Rachel Leigh, NY:
Rachel Bravman, a former Yves Saint Laurent publicist, branched out in late 2004 to start her own jewelry brand of versatile pieces that drip with lush personality. The company has grown from her humble living room to the international stage, where she now sells her baubles in showrooms in New York, LA, Dallas, and San Francisco, as well as Europe, Asia, and Canada. Rachel Leigh jewelry has garnered such success because it melds glamour, girlish femininity, and edge, perhaps best represented by her trademark piece: the Ribbon Bracelet ($30, RachelLeighNY.com), which weaves a richly colored silk ribbon through shiny gold chains. Her Bow Collection also captures the same spirit, featuring delicate ribbons in hard metals, often in glamorous gold. This amalgamation of aesthetics has found a Hollywood fanbase, including Mischa Barton and Jessica Biel -- the latter of whom collaborated on a necklace with Bravman for charity.
Kenneth Jay Lane:
Kenneth Jay Lane has been a big name in the costume jewelry business for more than 40 years. Ever since the former shoe designer for Delman and Christian Dior decided to dabble in creating flashy jewelry, the world of costume accessories has never been the same. Lane's initial line of drama-laden pieces sold out at Saks Fifth Avenue in one day, and eventually his designs found fans in such glamorous icons as Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, and Jackie O, not to mention political and genuine royalty (Barbara Bush and the Duchess of Windsor). Today's young stars also sport his designs, which are frequently very dramatic and elegant, for a fraction of the fine jewelry price. This season, Lane created many pieces with zebra, giraffe, and tiger prints, but our favorite item is this Isla Tortuga Turtle Ring ($37, QVC.com) because it demonstrates what Kenneth Jay Lane does so well with his work; his jewelry is full of exquisite statement-making pieces that we can actually afford.
CC Skye: CC Skye definitely exudes an LA vibe, as starlets have gone crazy for her self-described "edgy but elegant" jewelry. Her cuff bracelets in particular have shown off-the-chart like popularity, which is easy to understand; the chunky, gleaming hardware -- frequently faux screw heads, belt buckles, and pyramid studs -- is mixed with luscious Italian leathers. CC developed her design aesthetic while living abroad in the Himalayas, since the modest style of dress she adapted there made her long for more glitz. She worked with local artisans to create the fanciful items she envisioned in her head, which was a creative turning point for her. She then spent several years working at MTV and the Style Network, but eventually launched her own line. Her LA-glam look is best represented by her Woven Leather Chunky Gold Chain Bracelet ($170, BoutiqueToYou.com), which looks like a Chanel purse shoulder strap that's been wound around the wrist -- very chic.
So next time your outfit needs a kick of personality, look to these three designers for the perfect piece of jewelry.
-- Lindsay Sakraida
Note: there may be a way to make the items mentioned above an even better bang for your buck -- remember to search stylenotes for special promotions and coupon codes that may be applied to your order.