Is Make-Believe Really Necessary in Media Jewelry Styling?

Creativity is the hallmark of a good media stylist. The ability to improvise cleverly with whatever materials are at hand makes a stylist especially valuable.

Some improvisations genuinely work for those who wish to emulate a look seen in the fashion media. Earrings pinned on clothing as a substitute for brooches, for example (see my April 7 post), may work with certain apparel. The design of certain necklaces permits them to be wrapped multiple times around a wrist to make a pseudo-bracelet. Two identical bracelets or necklaces can sometimes be joined end-to-end to create one longer piece when additional length is required. Two brooches can anchor a chain. And all manner of jewelry can be pinned into a hairstyle.

Over the last several months, there have been an extraordinary number of jewelry improvisations photographed for top fashion magazines that seem unnecessary at best. The most egregious examples require a complete suspension of disbelief. Here are some of the latest examples:

The August 2010 issue of Glamour magazine pictures actress Vanessa Hudgens wearing a velvet belt by Louis Vuitton as a bracelet, apparently wrapped numerous times around her wrist (the wrap look being a current trend – see my July 7 post).

The cover photo of Courteney Cox on the August 2010 issue of InStyle magazine shows the actress wearing a David Yurman necklace wrapped multiple times around her wrist as a bracelet. On her other wrist, she wears an 18 karat gold watch by Rolex; notice that she wears it loosely like a bracelet (see my July 12 post).

In a photo in the July 2010 issue of InStyle magazine, to accompany a white summer dress by Emporio Armani, singer Janelle Monae wears two “wool and semiprecious stone necklaces” by Vera Wang, one of them around her waist as a belt. It’s odd that the obsolete term “semiprecious stone” has made a reappearance. I’m also surprised that  necklaces made of wool would be chosen to accessorize lightweight summer fashions.  – there’s an apparent design opportunity in the market. But I digress. 

The InStyle look validly translates to reality if the necklace is long enough to extend and fasten around a waist. Monae is also wearing a “glass ring and cuff” by Yves Saint Laurent and De Beers diamond studs along with hair accessories adorned with crystals by Leah C. Couture Millinery and Jennifer Behr.

All the above examples demonstrate untraditional uses of the designs employed, but all seem to be viable style options. These are looks that can be replicated at home by a reader if neck, waist or wrist size permits.

The photo styling that has me particularly perplexed is this look from the July 2010 issue of Marie Claire magazine. The model wears two pieces of jewelry:  a bracelet by Mawi worn as a necklace and an Alexis Bittar brooch worn as a ring.

The bracelet appears to be made of metal, not a soft material that ties, and could not substitute for a necklace without jerry rigging some kind of extender. The bracelet sits an awkward distance from the model’s neck and appears to be held in place by her Valentino jacket.

To utilize a brooch as a ring requires a complete suspension of disbelief, and why is this necessary? Positioning a brooch on top of a hand and pretending the brooch is a ring seems ridiculous in a season in which huge rings that extend over much of the hand are plentiful, available from numerous jewelry  designers. Rather obviously, a brooch cannot be used as a ring unless it has been attached to some kind of clever device which, as far as I know, does not exist.

What I see here is opportunity. When someone has to “make do” to create a look, there is a gap in what is available in the market. Designers, take note.


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