Fashion + Jewelry: Fashion Week Veterans

It was the old guard who impressed me most this fashion week: Oscar de la Renta, Marc Jacobs, and Betsey Johnson held down the runway with designs for real women (though MJ’s young, lanky models looked more like they were playing dress-up—no doubt one of Marc’s perverse juxtapositions, given his current print-ad choice, Dakota Fanning).


Marc Jacobs
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De la Renta
went back to basics (for him!), doing what he does best: luxe, anything-but-basic dresses for high-rollers who don’t do casual. Alternatively, Jacobs had his grunge and volume looks eating muffler dust as he presented a cinematic line of sophisticated simplicity, while maintaining signature details and modernizations. Meanwhile, fashion’s wild child Johnson, designing for 40+ years, is all grown up, introducing a more subdued collection than we’d expect from the cartwheeling seamstress.

It’s a well-preened, ladylike point in fashion, interpreted expertly, but disparately, by our vets. Their approaches had me thinking, of course, about jewelry options. De la Renta’s gowns were so ornate—rich in his signature prints, and many with gemmy bib necklines—that they almost serve as jewels themselves. A gal has to tread carefully not to overdo a good thing. But while commentators on Full Frontal Fashion called for no jewelry whatsoever, I can see a statement ring or bangle complementing the looks well, maintaining the luxurious, womanly sophistication with their heft.


Oscar de la Renta
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To great delight, a few of Oscar’s evening ensembles mated with large black feather-like earrings, sure to resonate with the (younger) jet set. This modern accompaniment continues a trend from last season, but whereas those feathered friends were often slender, slight, and bow-shape, these were broader and chandelier-like.


Oscar de la Renta
© ImaxTree.com

Marc Jacobs’s looks, on the other hand, were surprisingly simple and clean—the perfect canvas for jewels. One might immediately think of long strands of pearls as a match, but MJ threw us a curve, as he always does, pairing his ’30s- and ’70s-inspired separates with ’80s-inspired chunky baubles, often with geometric shots of color blocks.


Marc Jacobs
© ImaxTree.com

Interestingly, both Oscar and Marc entered this fashion week personally triumphant: De la Renta overcame a bout with cancer and Jacobs, on a health kick, is fully sober, has shed noticeable pounds, sported a new do, and has never looked better.


Marc Jacobs
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Betsey Johnson has tamed her inner beast. A grandmother now, Johnson went out of her comfort zone to great end. Largely buttoned-up day looks were ’70s and menswear inspired. The detail I loved—and Betsey’s signature interjection of fun for this collection—were her pom-poms, which capped a long string tied around the neck, reminiscent of youth, ice-skating, and innocence. Here, as in Jacobs’s collection, an appreciated interplay of adulthood and adolescence—much like Betsey herself. 


Betsey Johnson
© ImaxTree.com

The first pom-pom I noticed was a knit in fall’s It color, purple, but there was also a furry one in black, one in white—and a jewelry version paired with a voluminous green metallic dress. The ice-skating effect carried over, but also, to my glee, did some disco-ball charm—surely a wink from the Betsey of yore.


Betsey Johnson
© ImaxTree.com

The old guard, with their gobs of innovations, evolutions, and experience, presented mature collections with nuances of the kid in all of us (and them) that often relied on accessories to modernize them and up the fun factor. The looks were beautiful and could easily be accompanied by long beaded necklaces in contrasting colors that pop against the metallics, blacks, and whites of the season. Or, better still, follow the veterans’ lead and pair them with a singular funky, chunky, and bold bauble.

It’s clear that while fashion’s having a demure moment, jewels are making some noise. Enjoy the party.

Check out the last Fashion + Jewelry: Lucite