The Kenneth Jay Lane jewelry exhibit of fabulous fakes is being showcased in the Dower House at Planting Fields April 4 through Aug. 31. The house was the home of the second wife of William Robertson Coe and where the widow spent her sunset years in this special place on the estate.
Planting Fields Executive Director Henry B. Joyce said when he saw the Art Deco building he thought how well it would go with an exhibit of the works of Kenneth Jay Lane. Mr. Joyce had curated a show of KJL at the Rhode Island School of Design and this is its second showing.
KJL is famous for creating costume jewelry in the style of everyone famous and for everyone else's purses. Starting April 1 the Planting Fields bookshop will have pieces for you to purchase running from $20 to $500 said Katherine Sterner, bookshop manager.
On Wednesday, March 25 Henry Joyce was greeting guests open-armed on a beautiful balmy afternoon at a show preview. Inside the rooms were set up with jewels on display. The central oval room is painted a bright pink to highlight the collection. The exhibit includes photos of the women who made KJL jewelry famous: Jackie Kennedy Onasis; Diana Vreeland, the Vogue editor who first noticed the jeweler as a young man; and the Duke and Dutchess of Windsor. KJL copied pieces given to both Jackie and the Dutchess, and interpreted them for a smaller pocketbook. Today you can add Sarah Jessica Parker, Paris Hilton, the Olsen twins and Jessica Simpson to the list of wearers of his jewelry.
Vinnie Simeone and his wife Gloria were one of the first visitors to the show. "This was our offices and now, since July, we have been in the renovated Hay Barn.
"Five years ago we renovated the house. We took off the carpeting and uncovered the beautiful hardwood floors. The house has a certain charm," said Mr. Simeone.
The next show will open on June 6. Henry Joyce said, it is called "Chocolate: A Dip into History." It is based on Michael Coe's book about the history of chocolate starting 4,000 years ago to the present time with trends in chocolate. There will be programs for children and families.
Henry Joyce has been at Planting Fields for eight months. "I love it. It's wonderful. The great, great estate, the buildings, the greenhouses, the landscape. There are a lot of exhibits planned. Certainly this place has excitement and potential. And to have such a landscape present and in the middle of Long Island - so close to New York."
Almost all of the 350 pieces in the exhibit are vintage, made between 1963 and 1993 and are in the personal collection of Kenneth Jay Lane. The show begins in the early 1970s when his avant-garde jewelry was featured by the famous editor, Diana Vreeland, in Vogue magazine. The history of KJL continues in his revival of several spectacular 1920s Art Deco pieces of jewelry that he began to reproduce in the late 1970s. The exhibit includes reproduction pieces Mr. Lane made of many famous designers of "real" jewelry as opposed to "costume" jewelry. People admire KJL fabulous fakes and there are KJL clubs all over the world for collectors of vintage and new items including in Buenos Aires, South America and China.
Katherine Sterner, shop manager/buyer/manager has lots of leopard heads, animals, critters and dragonflies for sale as well as some classic KJL pieces.
The Manor House was built for Caroline Graham Coe, the second wife of William Robertson Coe. The widowed Mrs. Coe hired architect Eric Gugler to create a home on one floor to accommodate her wheelchair. He came with a fine reputation after adapting the White House for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's disability. He also designed the now famous Oval Office for President Roosevelt in 1934.
"The neoclassical forms and grandeur of the home is as chic today as it was in the 1950s - as is the jewelry of Kenneth Jay Lane," said the press release. Museum-goers will be delighted to see that the show has all the piece descriptions at a comfortable reading level, adding to the enjoyment of the show.
Thank you Mr. Joyce.