Fashion Facets

COCKTAILS AND CONSERVATIVE CHIC

The return to ladylike apparel has helped to fuel a return to classic accessories such as shaped handbags, contoured belts and cocktail rings. Women’s Wear Daily reports rising sales in handbags, belts and jewelry at stores such as Bergdorf Goodman, Henri Bendel and Saks Fifth Avenue; retailers expect the trend to continue as feminine dressing remains strong for fall.

Elsewhere in WWD, Vicki Haupt, senior vice president and general merchandise manager for fashion accessories at Bergdorf Goodman, said fine jewelry has sold well all year. She predicted close-to-the-neck pearls, diamonds and rhinestones would remain popular into fall. She also said color is important in jewelry paired with the rich hues of cashmere and velvet clothing.

The fashion press also has highlighted fashion and bridge versions of fairly classic “gem”-intensive cocktail rings. JCK recently spotted the fine jewelry versions pictured here.

NEW DESIGN FINDS

Freelance designer Greg Crawford of Lizella, Ga., designs and builds settings for fancy-shaped colored gems accented with diamonds. Crawford owned and operated a trade shop and retail jewelry store for 12 years, but has been a one-man business for the past 12 years. He does everything from drawing an original idea to carving his own models, assembling, fabricating and setting each piece. His designs are one-of-a-kind, though he can re-create similar looks easily.

Barbara Taylor Fouts of Lafayette, Cal., an apparel designer turned jewelry designer, considers her works “jewelry for couture,” appealing to women who appreciate the quality and fit of haute couture fashion.

Fouts looks to antiquity for her inspiration. The designs shown here depict Alexander the Great wearing the skin of the Nemian Lion and were inspired by an urn dating to 200 B.C.

DIAMOND STUDS: NEXT TENNIS BRACELET?

Diamond studs may soon be as popular as diamond tennis bracelets, according to the Diamond Information Center of N.W. Ayer, De Beers’ U.S. ad and promotion agency.

Unigem International, for example, recently donated a diamond stud necklace to help crown supermodel Stella “model of the season” at the Venus de la Mode awards in Paris. She joins studded sisters Crystal, of Paris Elite models, and Cindy Crawford, who wears a diamond solitaire as one of her signatures.

In fact, diamonds have been quite popular among the fashion cognoscenti lately. Conservative chic clothing sparkled with diamond accents on fall runways.

Fashion designer Maria Snyder accessorized her nouvelle couture collection with modern, simple diamond studs, solitaire necklaces and multiple tennis bracelets. The Marc Jacobs show featured supermodels in diamonds when he launched his third collection of whimsical, irreverent diamond jewelry, this season featuring crosses, hearts and discs. And Isaac Mizrahi made a statement with his first-ever collection of diamond “Angel Rings,” tiny diamond rings set in platinum and meant to be worn on a chain. Mizrahi chose Lazare Kaplan diamonds for his project; each is laser-inscribed on its outer perimeter with microscopic Mizrahi and Lazare signatures.

BAG DESIGNER GETS INTO JEWELS

Judith Lieber is the undisputed queen of bejeweled minaudires; her hand-sized cases for cosmetics or jewelry cost upwards of $1,600. Now she’s expanding her reach with a new collection of upscale fashion jewelry called Judith Lieber Luxe.

One example is a set of quarter-sized goldplated earrings with miniatures of her favorite handbags dangling from 24k goldplated chains.

Launched in July, the collection is the first in a series of planned Judith Lieber accessories, says The New York Times. The new collections eventually will include small leather goods and scarves.