Lessons in Scale of Jewelry from Versace & Vogue

I love this time of year in the
fashion press, as the August issues give us a peek of what’s to come in the
biggest compilations of fashion of the year—the “September Issue” of Vogue and the similar advertising and editorial
jackpots that are the September issues of the other magazines dedicated to
fashion. The images in these issues are worth studying, as they are loaded with
fashion stylings that both educate and inspire and that also can be expected to
endure throughout the fall/winter season.  

A pair of ads from Versace in the
August issues caught my eye: They provide
superb examples of how to do scale of jewelry well.

Scale is all about relative size. With
jewelry, ideally, the scale of the jewelry relates to the size of the wearer’s
facial features. If the individual dresses well for her features, the jewelry
will also relate to the scale of the details on the garments she is wearing,
because she chose the garments with her features in mind.

From the August 2011 issue of Vogue comes this ad from Versace,
featuring unusual half-and-half detail on the bodice of a dress attached to a wide
fabric collar adorned with golden buttons that surrounds the neck. (Collars are
an important trend this fall, one that I’ll be addressing at length in a future
post.) The dress has a matching button at a pocket detail low on the hip. The model
wears a pair of identical cuff bracelets of a ribbed design adorned with a
motif reminiscent of Maltese crosses. The scale of the crosses on the cuffs
relates to the scale of the buttons on the dress, and all of those details relate
to the striking features of the woman modeling the ensemble.

Here’s the same model in an
eye-catching dress of green and violet in a Versace ad that appears in the
August 2011 issue of Elle magazine. The
huge violet swirl of the dress is repeated on a somewhat smaller scale in the
very wide cuff bracelet on the model’s arm. With design motifs of that size, a
pair of very chunky rings is the perfect final accent.

Inside the pages of the August
2011 issue of Vogue appears model
Karlie Kloss in large-scale graphic designs. She wears a cashmere sweater with
an “Escher-like pattern” over a high Celine turtleneck and Dries Van Noten
patterned skirt. Over that is worn a dramatic corset belt from Louis Vuitton
adorned with huge buttons. The jewelry
chosen to adorn the ensemble is appropriately large in scale: a leather
bracelet from Maison Martin Margiela and graphic black and white bangles from
Roxanne Assoulin for Lee Angel and JF & Son.

Not as successful, in my opinion,
is the styling of Sarah Jessica Parker on the cover of the August 2011 issue of
Vogue. She wears a white cable-knit
trench coat from Burberry Prorsum that has large-scale details: shoulder epaulettes, buckle bands around the
wrists, and a thick cording at the waist, all in black that provides maximum
contrast with the color of the coat. Despite the huge scale of the details of
the coat, Parker wears a pair of dainty dangling diamond earrings from Stephen

Not only are the earrings too
small in scale to work well with the large-scale detail of the coat, they are
also too small to relate to Parker’s generous facial features. I suggest that
larger button earrings that sit on her earlobes would draw the eye upward and
would better balance in scale both her features and the details of her

Although some of the season’s
styles have large-scale details that call for jewelry of large scale, there are
plenty of exceptions when small scale jewelry will be the optimal choice. For
instance, model Raquel Zimmermann appears in the August 2011 issue of Vogue wearing a Mary Katrantzou ensemble
with a “bustle skirt paneled with intricate moldings that brings to mind
Chinese porcelain or a Fabergé egg.” Although the overall size of the bustle
skirt and padded shoulders of the ensemble are relatively large, the detail of
the design of the garments is small and fine. Appropriately, the jewelry chosen
to adorn the ensemble is a narrow Concord Watch Co. 14k gold vintage wristwatch
that brings attention to the fine detail of the ensemble and also relates to
the relatively small eyes and mouth of the model.

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