Fashion + Jewelry: Lucite

The JCKstyle team firmly believes in the “intersection of fashion + jewelry,” and the Lucite trend is no exception. Luxury coverboy Alexis Bittar’s Lucite creations—which also made the pages of every fashion mag paired with anything Burberry last season when we were mad for plaid—surely stake some claim as precursor to this season’s onslaught of lucidity.

Patricia Von Musulin

Now, as I page through spreads of crystal-clear bangles and rings (from Baccarat, Kara Ross, and Patricia Von Musulin), heels (Chanel, Comme des Garçons, Donna Karan, Versace), and sunglasses (Nicolas Ghesquière for Balenciaga), it’s a wonder world of plastic fantastic. … But it’s the handbags that have me doing a double-take. A native New Yorker, I shrink at the invasiveness—and utopian naïveté—of having my wallet on display. But perhaps it’s not utopian naïveté at all.

See-through bags resurface periodically as all good trends do, but there’s something weightier in this seeming frivolity this time around. Something more than the yet-another 15 minutes of Warholian fame society’s downright poppy about. I think it has to do with our post-9/11 culture: Is this inverted voyeuristic trend (Look at me! Look through me!) some kind of antiterrorism chic? I’m reminded of how I felt when the New York Public Library decided that bags must be checked in exchange for an issued ordinary plastic version so contents remain visible: violated. I’m reminded of current airport regulations for 3-ounce-size liquid toiletries to be in one clear quart-size baggie.

When I look at the surveillance realities of our lives, now a “trend,” and consider it in relation to fashion’s continuing Woman Warrior inspirations (see the Museum at F.I.T.’s past exhibit Love & War: The Weaponized Woman and Dolce & Gabbana’s current collection)—I can’t help but think that fashion’s winking at our X-ray universe, with some kitsch, Operation style. Seeing armor and transparency in tandem aligns defense and surrender. The frivolity of fashion is fraught with social consciousness and a coping sense of humor that makes more than an aesthetic statement.

Dolce & Gabbana

I only had to look at the new Dolce & Gabbana ads of sleek, sophisticated, space-agers in liquid metal garb built around scenes with video cameras and babies in Lucite boxes for the bittersweet feeling to sink in. Fashion’s grabbing a perverse control: Go ahead—take me, but only as I present myself—a preemptive exploitation by the exploited.

Am I overthinking? Certainly, yes! And is Lucite jewelry plain pop fun? Yes! Yes! But sometimes fashion’s about more than the joy of slipping on this season’s new silk polka dot frock—which there’s nothing wrong with—sometimes it’s the translation of beauty and pain, tragedy and comedy, exhilaration and ennui, and vulnerability and resilience. That’s when fashion transcends into art, tells a story, and oftentimes, as it strikes me now, taps into the zeitgeist.

So embrace the Lucite trend lightheartedly: Arm yourself with Wonder Woman cuffs of Saran, and choose your fashion consciously. It’s your statement to make.

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