Designers / Industry

Lito Amps Up Summer Jewelry Sensuality With La Bouche Collection


The newest collection from fine jewelry brand Lito shows off designer Lito Karakostanoglou’s signature whimsy, with luscious lips in a rainbow of gemstones such as bright blue chrysocolla, pea green aventurine, and deep red ruby.

Aptly called La Bouche, the collection is Karakostanoglou’s art deco–inspired take on the lips motif, and—just as she desires for her brand—it offers showstopping pieces with which women can bond and experience beauty.

“Jewelry is here to make us feel sensual, connect with our feminine side, our sensuality and sexuality, our inner strength and power, as well as our fragility and vulnerability,” Karakostanoglou says.

Lito necklace
The Kiss Me More necklace ($4,466) features pink quartz lips and a round brown diamond.

Lito’s lips hang from 14k yellow gold necklaces, and most also feature a brilliant-cut ruby or diamond as a birthmark, epitomizing Karakostanoglou’s playful aesthetic and focus on details.

Since the Greek jeweler founded Lito in 1999, her imaginative collections have gained fans globally. Her jewelry—often made with unexpected combinations of precious stones, coral, and shells—represents her heritage and her interest in historical symbols. Karakostanoglou says sculpture and drawing also have an impact on her jewelry.

She has always remembered the bold, geometric silver jewelry pieces from East Germany that her mother stocked in the women’s clothing and accessories shop she ran when Karakostanoglou was growing up. They were different from most jewelry sold in Athens back then, she says. Those 1980s fashions in her mother’s store also left an impression on a young Lito.

“My mother had a very eclectic style, and that came through in her buying choices,” she says. “I used to go to the shop during the Christmas and Easter period and help out with the gift packaging. She had a thing for packaging. It was always extremely embellished and unique, and there always was a need for extra help with it.”

Lito Portrait
Lito Karakostanoglou has a background in drawing, sculpture, and marketing, all of which helped her create her jewelry brand.

Karakostanoglou graduated from college with a degree in marketing management and moved to Boston in 1996 to get her master’s in advertising at Emerson College. It was in the United States where she first made jewelry.

“I was looking for something creative to do in my everyday life, as I didn’t feel advertising was the right path. One day my roommate and I went to a bead shop and bought some beads and went home and started making jewelry,” recalls Karakostanoglou. “A friend of our came hours later and saw our jewelry. She loved them and was really impressed. She insisted that we should sell them at college. And so we did.

Lito poison lips
Lito’s 14k gold Poison Lips necklace ($4,196) has black agate lips and a ruby birthmark. 

“We each invested $100 and started making jewelry without knowing anything,” she continues. “A few months later, I read an article in W magazine on Pippa Small, explaining how she went into the jewelry business without any previous education, just out of her love for jewelry and gems. So I said to myself, ‘If she can do it, I can do it as well.’”

Karakostanoglou returned to Athens and established Lito. It’s been a huge learning experience, but she has been able to grow the business thanks to her family and loyal customers.

“My inspiration comes from my connection with the women in my life: my sisters, my friends, my clients, random women I see on the streets,” she says. “I am a woman designing for women, and that by itself is very important. I have seen how women feel when wearing my jewelry. I have seen their body language and confidence change.

“The jewelry is meant to bring out the best in them, and it definitely does.”

Top: Lito’s new collection La Bouche includes a necklace with a ruby lip on a chain of rhodolite and rubelite rondels. (Photos courtesy of Lito)

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Karen Dybis

By: Karen Dybis

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