Hot trends and cool ideas: Formulas for success

Paula Petersen, president of Crown Luxury Consulting, was one of the three keynote speakers for the Luxury by JCK Show. Her talk, held Wednesday, outlined some new hot trends and offered jewelers suggestions and tips for incorporating those trends into their merchandising.

Petersen identified three key trends: The Goddess, Art Deco, and Vintage. The Goddess trend appeals to a young affluent customer, generally between the ages of 25 and 30. Fashion trends include sweet sophisticated looks and sexy simplicity, such as plunging necklines. In jewelry, the trends include opera-length necklaces, followed by matinee-length; line earrings replacing chandeliers; and color, particularly blue. A key jewelry shape for the Goddess trend is the teardrop, seen in pear-shaped diamonds and colored gems. We’re in a trend moving away from pink and toward blue, Petersen said.

Necklaces are again becoming important after a number of years that saw the primary jewelry emphasis turn away from the neck. At the same time, as the long trend gains momentum, so will a countertrend of a very short necklace, such as the Bulgari choker that Nicole Kidman was photographed wearing. Other trends on the horizon in the Goddess look are a return of burnished yellow gold, and possibly even green gold, and the intaglio.

The second trend, Art Deco, appeals to a customer in her 30s and 40s. It’s luxurious and tailored, architectural and sleek. In fashion, the key interpretations are by Prada, Narciso Rodriguez, and Giorgio Armani. In jewelry, brands with signature styles include Cartier, Chanel, and Neil Lane. Important shapes are the Asscher and emerald cuts and fringe as a design element. A style icon for this look is Natalie Portman. For the Deco look, the opera length grows even longer—to swinging jazz length. Deco appeals to the collector mentality, said Petersen, who noted that many jewelry houses like Cartier and Verdura are reinterpreting their own previous designs for a new customer. Some of the key items for this look are multiple bracelets, Deco-styled diamond watches, and new pieces mixed with estate pieces.

The third trend, Vintage Glamour, appeals to customers from 20 to 50+. It’s an ongoing trend with changing icons, said Petersen. Classic icons, of course, are Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy, but new icons (e.g. Kidman) are emerging. It’s a very girly look, and for this trend brooches will again be important, but a younger customer will wear them anywhere but on the lapel. A young consumer might wear one on her shoulder, waist, or hip. A brooch in the hair will become important in this trend, so jewelers should sell brooches with an adaptor to make it wearable in the hair, Petersen said. Double cuff bracelets are also going to be important for this look.

The key point for jewelers to remember, Petersen said, is to show customers that they’re on top of the trends. Eighty percent to 90% of merchandise should be sellable basics, but 10% to 20% should be the hottest new trends. If a jeweler is uncertain of a trend, Peterson recommended buying one or two “wow” pieces, even if the jeweler thinks they’ll never sell. Chances are there’s at least one person in town who will like the piece.