Fall Tales: Fashion and Jewelry Trends Retailers Need to Know Now



The only thing better than a knit jumper? A knit jumper with fringe necklaces and yarn brooches. Cozy up to the top trends with our fashion and jewelry guide.

For Jeremy Scott, fashion is about having fun—if his debut at Moschino, with its cheeky ode to the Golden Arches and SpongeBob SquarePants, was any indication. Meanwhile, Alber Elbaz wanted us to dream—and said as much backstage at his self-described Lanvin “factory of dreams.” And Karl Lagerfeld? His outsize Chanel show—dressed up to resemble a giant supermarket, complete with checkout counters and models navigating the aisles of produce and pâté—reminded us to, well, shop. 

Together, those notions make for a great fashion (and jewelry) mantra—and a good one to remember when the trends ping from one end to another and, sometimes, contradict. Is it about big, bold pieces or scaled-back size? Gold or silver? Cold comfort or flights of fantasy? Whatever direction the trends head—and there are many, as we’ll outline here—the end results are the same: You want the consumer to shop, have fun, and get lost in the reverie. And, we might add, look good, too.

STEP ONE: BUNDLE UP

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Designer or DIY? Karl Lagerfeld topped knits (sweaters) with even more knits (brooches) at his Chanel show in Paris.

If there was a buzzword for the season, it was this: cozy. The runways were basically one big plush embrace. The outerwear was fantastic—thick and oversized, like Prada’s beautifully colored shearling coats, or the sweeping dusters seen at The Row and Haider Ackermann. Furs were everywhere and became one of the major overtures of the season. We even got fur dresses (Bottega Veneta), fur buttons (Aquilano.Rimondi), and fur baseball caps (Creatures of the Wind). We had puffers in spades—plus a new quilted trend to boot.

It was a great season for knits, too, with more than one designer shining a major spotlight on the purly goods. No one could forget Rei Kawakubo’s bulbous models who stalked the Comme des Garçons’ runway in knitted intestine-like appendages up top and printed trompe l’oeil knit tights on the bottom. Or Alexander Wang’s experimental exercise at Balenciaga, where the knitted stuff came bonded with leather and coated with latex (the latter hand-massaged in, actually).  

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A Chanel padlock and chain: You can’t find that in your neighborhood hardware store!

But where does that bundled-up mode leave the jewelry set? Not everyone will go for the gimmicky obvious, such as Chanel’s playful knitted brooches or Fendi’s croc cuffs bursting with tufts of fur. ­Scrambling for new zones from which to flaunt those baubles? Céline’s Phoebe Philo and Hermès’ ­Christophe Lemaire showed their girls sporting bracelets over their extra-long sleeves, while Anthony Vaccarello placed collar necklaces over ­turtlenecks. According to Roseanne ­Morrison, fashion director at The Doneger Group, this is the earring’s time to shine—and there were plenty on the runways. Brooches (so easily pinned over those hefty new coats) also had an uptick. Our favorites? The demonstrative botanical brooches, spilling down the shoulders, at Fendi and Dries Van Noten.

Deco-inspired moonstone tassel pendant in 18k yellow gold; $5,720; Lauren Harper Collection, Chicago; 312-543-1687; laurenharpercollection.com Tassel earrings with 164.52 cts. t.w. blue sapphires; $150,000; Bayco, NYC; 212-382-3390; bayco.com

CRAFT WORKS AND TEXTURE MESSAGES

Open pavé ball and teardrop cuffs in 14k gold-plated sterling silver and black rhodium with hand-set CZs; $150 each; Freida Rothman, Brooklyn, N.Y.; sales@freidarothman.com; freidarothman.com

One of the big umbrella trends for the season was surface texture, executed in myriad ways. Many designers opted for allover decor—the glittering crystal bib inserts at Gucci, the holographic appliqués at Delpozo, and those curiously loopy embroideries at Stella McCartney. There was the savvy 3-D patchworking at Junya Watanabe and the dense ruffles and feathers at Marni.

At first glance, this trend may signal a pull away from jewelry. Who wants to pile on sparkling accents when you’re already covered in…stuff? The cue here, for the industry, is that it’s all “in the details,” says Ylang 23 owner Joanne Teichman. “That is the main takeaway. The fabrics, motifs, and embellishments all have in common amazing detailed design, and that focus will carry over to the jewelry.”

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Nature—frogs, birds, trees, and more—was a running theme at Alberta Ferretti.

Sally Morrison, managing director of jewelry at the World Gold Council, adds that experimentation with surface interest is a no-brainer with jewelry. With gold, for instance, “as a medium it is about as flexible, malleable, ductile as it can be,” she says.

In fact, these intricate baubles tie back to another big runway trend of the season: handicraft. Fall really saw designers make a big push toward showing the hand of the artists—sometimes literally as with the hand-painted looks at Burberry Prorsum. Even a house like Calvin Klein fully embraced the artisanal vibe, complete with beaded safety pins in lieu of buttons. And Céline’s Philo, who ushered in her own era of spare, did her part for homespun style with statement earrings crafted from a potpourri assemblage of found objects. The fringed trend—and fringed jewelry, which popped up variously at Chloé, Roberto Cavalli, Chanel, and Etro—plays into the look, too.

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It was all luxe and no fuss for Joseph Altuzarra, who added sleek metal collars to his rich, refined looks.

Roseanne Morrison clarifies that it’s not about complicated jewelry, but pieces that are “well crafted and well thought out. It’s about taking a modern metal and engineering it in a way that’s very original.” She references Lotocoho’s abstracted styles that take after, for example, landscapes and mountain ranges. For Teichman, artisanal translates to the craftsmanship inherent in works by jewelers like Todd Reed, Nak Armstrong, or Ten Thousand Things’ David Rees and Ron Anderson. “The pieces you can’t duplicate,” she says.

Then, of course, there’s the sleek metals trend that played yin to the artisanal yang. Perfect case in point: Joseph Altuzarra, who countered his collection’s rustic sophistication with futuristic-looking metal necklaces. Even when it came to the season’s burgeoning tribal trend, for every Suno and Vivienne Westwood (beaded choker styles), there was a Mara Hoffman (streamlined metals by FiLiLí’s Luiny Rivera). “The clothes have so much going on,” explains Hoffman, “that I wanted to keep it simple.”

Frog brooch in green enamel with cabochon rubies and gold; $22,000; David Webb, NYC; 212-421-3030; davidwebb.com Lace ring in sterling silver; $110; Sonja Fries, NYC; sonjafriesllc.blogspot.com

ONCE UPON A FLORA AND FAUNA

Tricolor pyramid drop earrings with diamonds; $3,465; KC Designs, NYC; 800-552-3790; kcdesignsnyc.com

Nature is a common refrain on the runways—and this season, with its florals and animal prints, was no different. But fall provided a new take on the theme, leading us down a rabbit hole to the folkloric and fairy-tale. Here, whimsy rules and the nature trend tackles a decidedly Into the Woods feel. There were owls, squirrels, and foxes (oh, my!) at Dolce & Gabbana; Yohji Yamamoto (where black is always the new black) had psychedelic deer prints (not to mention gobstopper gemstone prints). Valentino and Givenchy showcased breathtaking flora, birds, and butterflies in incredibly crafted embroideries and prints, while Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen mined the dark side and set up a mysterious fantasy scene—equal parts beauty and beast—with models clomping on moonlit moss greens.

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Welcome to the ’60s! Hedi Slimane flashed back to the go-go decade at Saint Laurent.

On the jewelry front, the motif translates to ­animal-shaped finery, like the charming frog brooches at Alberta Ferretti (more on frogs later) or the butterfly necklaces at Rodarte. But beyond the literal interpretations, the fairy-tale trend speaks to a larger mood of playfulness that pulsed through the collections. Those bejeweled chain-link necklaces and collaged cuffs at Christian Dior? Take a close look; the links are actually outstretched human ­bodies, and the cuffs, a kneeling woman with a ­cabochon gemstone head.

METAL HEADS MEET THE ’60S

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DSquared2’s Dean and Dan Caten got groovy in Milan in their homage to the beehive-and-miniskirt era.

In the biannual resurrecting of eras on the runways, one decade stood out over the rest: the ’60s, with the London dolly birds—Jean Shrimpton, Penelope Tree, and Marianne Faithfull—as muses/mascots. Gucci, Saint Laurent, DSquared2, and Tom Ford all offered their own shout-outs to that period. So hemlines were high, silhouettes veered to the shift, boots ran to and over the knee. Jewelry tapped the era’s love for sleek and streamlined metals, from the geometric beauties at Saint Laurent to the architectural ones at Acne Studios and Damir Doma. “I see simple, graphic jewelry,” says Sally Morrison.

Ficus cuff bracelet in sterling silver; $275; ELLE Time & Jewelry, NYC; 888-507-ELLE; ellejewelry.com

While we’re not quite in Paco Rabanne or André Courrèges territory yet—Jean Paul Gaultier’s space odyssey notwithstanding—heavy metals made a serious impact on the season, beyond the bijoux. It started out with an emphasis on all things gold in New York—note the stunning all-gold finales at Thom Browne and Diane von Fürstenberg—before transitioning to more silver styles by the last of the Europe shows. Some gestures were more overt, like Gareth Pugh’s head-to-toe silver foil girls, while ­others went the Miu Miu route with garments ­covered in a metallic sheen.

MAKE A STATEMENT—PLUS A PERSONAL ONE

Versailles butterfly earrings; price on request; Magerit, Madrid; 34-91-327-4358; mageritjoyas.com

During the collections, it’s easier to pick up on the ostentatious finery—it stands out as the models flurry by. There was no missing the fearless jewels at Versace, the door knocker–size pendants at Lanvin and Chanel, the stacked silver cuffs climbing up the arm at Ann Demeulemeester, or the oversized hoop earrings at Chalayan and Balmain. Fall offered ample conversation pieces, including a torrent of eccentric, experimental styles. Yes, designers had a thing for the one-earring look (Louis Vuitton, Céline, Isabel Marant, and Cushnie et Ochs). Yes, there were multi-finger rings (Marni, Rebecca Minkoff, Moschino) and rings attached to bracelets (Mara Hoffman, Tory Burch) as well as what can only be called hand jewelry (part glove, part bauble?) as seen at McQueen. And let’s not even get into DSquared2’s warped bejeweled arm and neck braces.

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Flora and fauna provided a visual playground for Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci.

With all these head turners, fall could easily be the season of the statement piece. But that’s only part of the story. Designers were just as generous with the understated, everyday styles—though they might have escaped unnoticed under the splashy klieg lights. Cases in point: Dries Van Noten’s beautiful wire-thin necklace with a single pearl accent or ­Nicolas ­Ghesquière’s lovely charm necklaces, sprinkled among the grander pieces in his Louis Vuitton debut. There was something rather beautiful, too, about the way Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci had his ­models wearing rings beneath their sheer black gloves, half-hidden under a shadowy blur.

Restraint is where the trend is heading, says ­Roseanne Morrison. “Delicate, small, and simple designs really speak to the customer,” she adds. “We’re seeing a move away from the big and bold. Those don’t seem as fresh anymore; it’s not pushing the envelope forward.” And as Teichman points out, “Unless you’re a collector, you wear it once and then what? You get tired of it.”

Mariposa necklace with ruby, garnet, and rhodolite; $19,330; Le Sibille, Rome; 39-063-751-4156; lesibille.com

Speaking about how intimate, personal pieces ­ultimately resonate with the consumer, Sally ­Morrison brings up Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o, who at the recent Academy Awards wore fantastic Fred ­Leighton bracelets, rings, and headband. “She piled on one more—a tiny gold frog ring,” she says. “It’s a lucky charm in her family.”