Fall Fashion Peek: Jewelry to Buy Now (Think Swinging ’70s Style & Glam ’80s Gold!)



Buyers do it. Editors do it. Casual observers do it. I do it, sometimes multiple times a year. And by “it” I mean pin down a runway trend to a decade—or rather, a stereotype of one. Drop-waist dresses? Twenties, of course. Linebacker shoulders? Eighties. But if fall 2015 has taught us anything, it’s that each decade has myriad faces and isn’t, say, one big glittery Lurex-wearing cliché.

The thought came to mind mulling over the season’s big ’70s motif, which sprinted out of the gate during the New York circuit and ran the full marathon to the finish line, still vigorous, in Paris. Sure, everyone’s talking about how the ’70s is a trend, but what does that mean, really? There was no singular, definable look but a range, and oh, what a range: bohemian babes who lingered from the ’60s; the era’s culture clash of Occident and Orient; the cool rise of sportswear, with its long and lean silhouettes; the disco girls bound for West 54th Street. Plus, many of the other runway trends—when unyoked from the stylistic nostalgia factor—had a place in the Me Decade as well. Like sinking hemlines. High waists. Shearling and suede. Ribbed knits. Luxe tapestries, lamé, and, yes, Lurex. The list goes on.

Fall 2015 also saw an easing up. It was about motion and movement on the runways—not unlike the ­free-spirited vibe of the ’70s when bouffants tumbled down into natural waves and silhouettes relaxed and just flowed. So goodbye, sculpted structure; hello, easy nonchalance, with your bias cuts, flying fringe, and fluid lines. Interestingly enough, the ’70s bookend decades weren’t far behind. We saw ample odes to the ’60s and plenty of the ’80s, both new-wave style and ­all-out punk.

The season’s two other key motifs, meanwhile, made for a fitting point-counterpoint: a youth infusion in streetwear on one end and dressed-up sophistication on the other. The latter took a page from the grand dames of fashion’s past (Diana Vreeland, Truman Capote’s “swans”) for whom dressing up was a marvelous, pleasurable thing—which is a pretty wonderful direction for the jewelry set.

And from start to finish, the fall 2015 runways embraced bijoux heartily and gave jewelers plenty of inspiration and cues.

THE ’70s SHOW BEGINS

All choked up at Versace

Consider the focus on cleaned-up sportswear, reviving the era’s lean, louche, and long silhouettes for today. For jewelry, that means zeroing in on the season’s more linear proposal—“an elongated style as opposed to a wider look,” explains Amanda Gizzi, director of public relations and special events at Jewelers of ­America. “That’s a trend on every scale, from tiny bar studs that go north-south to incredible drops.” And indeed, both the newly installed Peter Copping at Oscar de la Renta and Alessandro Michele at Gucci had gorgeous strands of gemstone earrings, Donatella Versace had lengthy bar studs and letters (V-E-R-S-A-C-E, of course) cascading down, Maiyet’s Kristy Caylor showed simple stick pendants, while Céline’s Phoebe Philo offered some long swinging beauties of her own, some with floral danglers.

Meet the new Gucci girl: You may have seen her at your local vintage shop.

In fact, swinging could easily have been a fall 2015 buzzword; designers made a play for serious movement on the runways. This might sound like a peculiar trend, but it was refreshing to see clothes (and jewels) that swished, swirled, and moved with the wearer—some via sliced, flyaway hems. Perhaps it was a reaction against the austere structure and shape of late, but even designers like Philo, Victoria Beckham, Christian Dior’s Raf Simons, and Proenza Schouler’s Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez went softer and slightly (and ever so chicly) undone. There was a freedom of motion, and it felt and looked good. Long pendant and lariat necklaces tie in with this trend—as seen at the terrific ’70s-light Chloé show—as does fringe, which was everywhere too, from the massive dusters at Missoni to the long gold bracelets at Nina Ricci. Then there were the can’t-miss-’em tassels at Lanvin and Tom Ford.

“The look is feminine, but it’s also lively,” Gizzi says. “You want to move, you want to dance, everyone wants to get out of this recession funk and return to the happy. It’s like, the ’70s were fun! Let’s do it again.”

Ava Louise necklace in 18k yellow gold with white diamonds; $17,160; Melissa Kaye, NYC; 917-573-0388; melissakayejewelry.com Ring with flourite and amethyst in 24k gold–plated brass; $285; Bounkit, NYC, 212-244-1877; bounkit.com

BRINGING BOHO BACK

Feeling the shift at Calvin Klein

When the ’70s trend turned toward bohemia, it did so unabashedly, with all the touchstones of the look tossed together—exuberantly mixed prints, Marrakech exotica, ruffles, crochet, patchwork, furs, feathers…. There was hippie-style craftwork galore, from the beautifully spliced lace numbers at Valentino to the macramé knits and pieced-together furs at Thakoon. The message for jewelry is simple: Dial it back to the styles of that era.

“Yes, yes, yes to ’70s jewelry piled on,” states Roseanne Morrison, fashion director of The Doneger Group, adding that the look translates to “very rich hippie.” In need of a muse here? Think Loulou de la Falaise and her gypsy-chic attitude. You saw her bijoux spirit at the Anna Sui show, with its layered pendants and wood-bead strands. Then again at Ralph Lauren with its chunky mixed materials—horn, cowrie shells, oversized semiprecious stones. Audacious wide cuffs? Lanvin had them, with organic stone toppers; Sonia Rykiel did as well.

Chain Me cuff in black gold and silver with 0.72 ct. t.w. white diamonds; $4,525; AS29, Hong Kong; 85-22-530-0529; as29.com Necklace with Colombian emeralds, multicolor tourmaline, tanzanite, aquamarine, rose de France, Lightning Ridge opals, and Mexican fire opals in 18k gold; price on request; Irene Neuwirth, Venice, Calif.; 310-450-6063; ireneneuwirth.com

Anna Sui mixed her boho pieces with Viking-inspired fabrics and furs.

Overlapping with the prominent bohemian story is the upholstery theme, where designers went lavish with the tapestries, velvets, brocades, and jacquards. The result is a trend that’s equal parts ethnic and romantic. The details could be as simple as a tassel or pom-pom bracelet (Burberry Prorsum) or as indulgently over-the-top as statement floral finery that echoes richly textured chinoiserie fabrics (Dries Van Noten).

’60s POP

Hampton cable necklace in sterling silver with 24.4 cts. t.w. pavé blue sapphires, gray diamonds, lavender spinels; $47,000; David Yurman, NYC; 212-752-4255; davidyurman.com

To accessorize the ’60s nods, seen variously at Calvin Klein, Giambattista Valli, and Bottega Veneta, Morrison recommends geometric shapes. Case in point: the coaster-size disc pendants at Carven, which accessorized an outing partially inspired by that holy trinity of mod muses: Twiggy, Jean Shrimpton, and Jane Birkin. Materials count, too, like the plastics popular at the time. Morrison highlights the ­Perspex floral brooches at Prada’s ’60s outing—“awesome as her clothing”—which the designer complemented with matching bejeweled styles.

THE ’80s WAVE AND BEYOND

Saint Laurent’s bad-girl beauty queen

Judging by the way Saint Laurent’s Hedi Slimane lit the match a few years back on the current late ’60s–early ’70s inferno, expect the ’80s beat to only grow stronger in September. It’s already off to a healthy start with his punk dames in ripped fishnets, morning-after deb dresses, and kohl eyes by way of Siouxsie Sioux. Others pushing the decade’s early years—with one foot still in the tail end of the ’70s—include Haider Ackermann (messy model Mohawks!), Balmain (pleated palazzo pants!), Fausto Puglisi (loud animal prints!), and J.W. Anderson, both at his own line and at Loewe (new-wave glamour!).

Le Phoenix earrings with 2.25 cts. t.w. blue sapphire and 0.26 ct. t.w. diamond in 18k white gold; $6,790; Kavant & Sharart, Bangkok; 66-897-718-617; kavantandsharart.com

The rebellious-youth factor spun off in other ways, too—as seen in Marc by Marc Jacobs’ urban revolutionaries, Alexander Wang’s aggressive goth girls, and Moschino’s hip-hop stance. Then there’s the casual streetwear vibe epitomized by the editorially beloved Hood by Air and Public School labels—and the editorially divisive Kanye West x Adidas outing, which played to the rising athleisure mode. “It’s all about less serious timepieces here,” Gizzi says. “And earrings—a big pair of earrings.”

SAY YES TO DRESSED

Once upon a time getting dressed up was de rigueur; every outing was an occasion. And that’s precisely the approach some designers are proposing for fall, among them Marc Jacobs and Joseph Altuzarra, both of whom set their inspirational sights on legendary ladies known for a carefully considered approach to style. Jacobs spotlighted Diana Vreeland, even re-creating her famous red living room for the runway; Altuzarra looked to Truman Capote’s “swans” (i.e., society dames like Babe Paley). It’s a decidedly elegant and grown-up mindset—sweeping coats, long dresses, refined separates—that resonates well with the jewelry contingent.

A ladylike affair: big pearls and big brooches at Balenciaga

Pearls will be important to this look, which Morrison dubs “the deluxe lady.” We saw them in all sizes and styles—from the quietly restrained (dotting architecturally bent bracelets at Jason Wu) to the bold (clustered on cuffs at Victoria Beckham) to the dramatic (stacked, in multiple piercings, at Balenciaga) to the just plain cool (twisted double strands at Stella McCartney). Ditto brooches (Prada, Louis Vuitton, Chanel) and estate heirloom-like pieces (Gucci, Undercover). 

Key here is also a focus on extravagant neckwear, which gets an extra boost from this season’s penchant for flaunting décolletage. There were open and plunging necklines aplenty, from Rodarte to Ann Demeulemeester, not to mention those statement coats for latter-day Vreelands, with their wide and open lapels, often in fur; they create the perfect canvas to show off some exquisite necklaces, which, for fall 2015, translates to lots of choker silhouettes.

Prada piled on the brooches, both real (bejeweled) and fake (Perspex).

“They draw your eyes up and bring the attention to the face,” says Gizzi of that style, which popped up on runways as varied as Marc Jacobs, Chanel, Alexander Wang, Versace, Marni, and Christopher Kane. It creates a vibe that’s simultaneously sexy and strong—a favorite of uptown, downtown, tough-chic, and stately women alike.

FALL’S COLOR THEORY

Gold and all things metallic—whether actual gilded hardware or hints of it in Lurex and lamé fabrics—were ubiquitous. And apologies to Piper Chapman and the ladies of Litchfield Penitentiary, but black is the new black. This time, it’s about more than graphic contrasts or head-to-toe monotones. What made this season’s inky hues so compelling was the crossover with fall’s Victorian revival, which gave that non-color a sense of texture, embellishment, and romance in lace, ruffles, feathers, and embroideries. Two stunning examples: Thom Browne (who was inspired by no less chipper an inspiration than mourning clothes) and Givenchy (side note: Riccardo Tisci’s “face jewelry” is not to be missed).

Floral collection brooch with enamel and 1.65 cts. t.w. diamonds in 18k gold; $15,200; Lord Jewelry, Los Angeles; 213-489-0039; lordjewelry.us

“This trend translates two ways,” Gizzi says. “One, a ton of black jewelry so it’s black on black on black. And two, bright bold colors, which will pop against the black.” In other words, it’s a win-win for the jewelry market.

The runways also showcased incredible color juxtapositions, delightfully vibrant and unexpected. They reminded one of the extraordinary color sense Yves Saint Laurent—the man, not the brand—possessed. Should Ohne Titel’s shocking pairings of vivid reds, pinks, turquoise, and ultramarine work? Likewise, Christian Dior’s nubby tweed coat in ultra-bright green and mustard yellow? Or Prada’s pantsuits in taffy pinks, blues, yellows, and greens? Not on paper, but they woke up the senses during the collections. “It will be about deeply saturated stones—not just rich colors, but brights—and color-blocking in new ways for jewelry,” Gizzi says.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST

Earrings with coral, 3.79 cts. t.w. pink sapphires, and 0.57 ct. t.w. diamonds in 18k rose gold; $17,000; Andreoli, NYC; 212-582-2050; andreoliusa.com

For all the high drama that’s required on the runways—never mind the make-it-Instagrammable mentality—it was a nice surprise to see simple, everyday jewelry. Amid all the chubby furs, see-through lace, and slit skirts at Altuzarra, a handful of models wore tiny “A” pendants on thin gold necklaces. The same thing happened at Céline: thin chain, small pendant. And at the mamma-themed Dolce & Gabbana, the models similarly wore the sort of personal charms and baubles you’d expect to find handed down from generation to generation (Elizabeth Taylor and Millicent Rogers progeny notwithstanding).

“I could never call this a trend because these pieces are always part of jewelers’ primary sales,” notes Gizzi. “But what’s nice is seeing them incorporated into the runways. People often think fashion has to be a statement. But this shows that everyday styles can fit into high fashion as well.”

Raf Simons’ color-saturated take on the classic tweed coat at Christian Dior