How is the Hollywood red carpet used to promote jewelry brands and designer names? What role does celebrity culture play in influencing fashions in jewelry? In the United States, the last decade of the twentieth-century witnessed an increased awareness of second-hand clothing and estate jewelry. Fashionably called “vintage,” the attention corresponded with larger cultural changes that included a growing popular interest in celebrity life and a 24-hour news cycle. Analyzing E! Entertainment Television, the fashion industry newspaper Women’s Wear Daily (WWD), and the jewelry trade magazine Jewelers’ Circular-Keystone (JCK), this project questions why jewelry became more visible on the red carpet beginning in the 1990s. Using Neil Lane, an estate jewelry retailer and designer, as a case study this dissertation evaluates the jewelry worn by actresses to the Golden Globe and Academy Award ceremonies over the last twenty-five years, to consider how he publicized a vintage jewelry aesthetic and became a celebrated arbiter of taste. Using the theories of Walter Benjamin, Pierre Bourdieu, Erving Goffman, Igor Kopytoff, and others, this project investigates how the fashion industry, media, and celebrity culture intersected during this period to inform the aesthetic of jewelry which was subsequently designed, made, and retailed in America during the early twenty-first century
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