Washington, D.C. — Luxury boutique hotel Riggs unveiled its holiday tree Thursday night with a festive holiday cocktail with the jewelry designer Alexis Bittar.
The soaring 18-foot-tall creation is reflective of the designer’s style: oversized swans perched on the branches of soft pink feathers, pearl garlands and high-shine tinsel, which flutter as the lobby doors swing open in the Riggs’ historic lobby. “For me it’s always about blending the world of accessories with fantasy, sculpture and art,” the designer told WWD.
Tiny message-in-the-bottle quotes that are tucked between the branches from famous women, including Eleanor Roosevelt, pay homage to the hotel’s famed First Lady Suites.
Speaking of first ladies, Bittar shared his last tree design was back in 2014 for the White House, commissioned by First Lady Michelle Obama. “That one was a little more traditional” he laughed, referring to the more provocative nature of this tree, which includes round breast ornaments in varying flesh tones, which he named “Menagerie A Tree.”
“This tree is really focused on femininity and play on surrealism and fantasy, with the swans and the tinsel and quotes from famous women that I love, including Michelle and Nina Simone. Tucked into the tree is where it gets a little naughty,” he said with a wink, referring to the nipple ornaments.
Since his reentrance to fashion after buying back his brand last year from Brooks Brothers, Bittar has shown a commitment to inclusivity, especially focused on women. A longtime favorite of style icons from Iris Apfel to Beyoncé, Bittar also shared his excitement seeing a new generation adorned in his work. Activist and singer Lizzo was decked out in Alexis Bittar headpieces and jewelry to the People’s Choice Awards earlier this week. “I was getting the pictures of Lizzo as she was getting dressed and it’s always incredible.”
Also for the holiday season, Bittar and Riggs will offer a special “Gem Service Menu” to hotel guests. A nod to the hotel’s heritage as a former bank, a safety deposit box of Alexis Bittar pieces will be kept on-site for a jewelry-on-demand where guests can purchase a last-minute piece before a festive fête or a holiday gift while staying at Riggs.