Neil Lane knows a thing or two about finishing touches. For nearly 20 years, the jeweler has added the wow factor to outfits for the crème de la crème, from Angelina Jolie and Reese Witherspoon’s red carpet sparkle to Kate Hudson’s engagement ring. At this year’s Oscars alone, Lane adorned the necks, wrists and ears of celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Sofia Vergara and Zoe Saldana with his brilliant designs. “I have great relationships with the stylists and stars. They’re clients and friends,” he says.
2015’s award show season brought a whole new list of trends. “We’re seeing long earrings that frame the face, tons of finger rings and big statement necklaces,” he says, naming Zoe Saldana and Cate Blanchett’s Oscars looks as prime examples. “For a few years, the neck was bare, but we’re seeing great necklaces that go back to the golden days of Hollywood. We’re seeing a lot of retro glam.”
Diamonds are also trending, according to Lane, who paired Saldana’s pink Versace dress with a 100-carat statement necklace and diamond ring.
“I want to make them glamorous and that doesn’t always mean putting on the biggest, most expensive jewels. It’s about having restrictions and being selective,” he says. “The dresses are so elaborate, so you don’t want to fight the dress. Like with Jennifer Lopez, we had maybe 50 pieces out with her, but when she got all dressed, she only chose one pair of diamond drop earrings and one ring out of a dozen.”
In general, jewelry trends are getting more sophisticated too. “Because the dresses are so powerful, the jewels have to be placed strategically…less is more,” he says. But it’s not always about having the dress front and center. “Sometimes people who want to wear a piece of jewelry will work the dress around it,” he says.
And the ladies aren’t the only ones who wanted a bit of sparkle. “We’re finding a lot of interest with guys wanting to have some kind of bling other than a watch,” says Lane, who made the cufflinks for stars like Adam Levine and Adrian Brody. “We also had a lot of requests for pinky rings. It’s going back to the days when every guy had one—it’s very Mafioso.”
Lane doesn’t always use bespoke pieces either. He often loans archival jewelry from his personal collection. But still nothing compares to seeing the jewels in action on the big night. “It’s magical,” he says. “You put them on the red carpet with the adrenaline, lights, crowd, paparazzi and it’s an amazing experience. The jewels come alive.”