New York Fashion Weeks’ fall/winter 2019 schedule of shows officially begins today—but the curtain’s already fallen on runway presentations from a trio of iconic American brands: Tom Ford, Ralph Lauren, and Rodarte.
In all three shows, big and bold jewelry—or in the case of Tom Ford, big and bold chain—played a pivotal role in broadcasting mood, drama, and point of view.
As great as it is to see major designers put jewelry center stage in their presentations, it’s not entirely unexpected.
Over the past several seasons—on runways, red carpets, and on top Instagram influencer feeds—jewelry has become more than a complement to great clothes. It’s often the “wow” factor in an ensemble, and has become an important element in the global style dialogue. For many designer fashion houses, manufacturing jewelry has lost all traces of drudgery, and has blossomed into a lucrative product category with growth potential.
It’s always difficult to see style movements and megatrends when you’re caught up in their cyclonic swirls. But all signs point to the fact that we’re currently in the midst of a golden age in jewelry design. Which is fantastic news for jewelry retailers able to distill and market potent trends.
Here’s how Rodarte, Ralph Lauren, and Tom Ford used jewelry/metal in their latest collections.
Whether or not you love Rodarte’s frothy-with-an-edge aesthetic, you have to appreciate the gargantuan amount of thought and detail codesigners Kate and Laura Mulleavy put into creating such fantastical, evocative ensembles. The designing sisters have been very into jewelry the last few seasons. Recall their spring 2019 show with all the Art Deco sunburst arm- and headpieces! For fall they opted for sugary-sweet, deeply kitschy designs that borrowed from both hip-hop culture (see the door knocker–style K-L heart earrings above) and Claire’s boutique-inspired little-girl jewels.
Decades ago, Ralph Lauren pushed American sportswear into the global fashion sphere. And the house that Ralph built is still promoting sporty, sexy, distinctly American design. The jewelry at yesterday’s breakfast runway presentation—which actually showcased the brand’s spring 2019 collection—was composed of voluminous, buttery-yellow gold-tone earrings (to match some seriously chic waist-cinching gold belts) including oversize teardrop-shape chains, simple gold arced slashes, and Alexander Calder–inspired forms.
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One of our more delightful recent challenges was the creation of this gown and cardigan for the marvelous mister @tomford which he revealed as the finale ensemble from his Fall 2019 show last night. Designed by Tom and created in my studio utilizing our Mega Mesh, a metal mesh pavéd with extra large, extra gorgeous @swarovskiforprofessionals @swarovski crystals of my own invention. Extra, extra, extra! #TomFord #TomFordAW19 #NYFW
Tom Ford didn’t technically use any jewelry in his fall presentation. But he did use a ton of metal: curb-link chain, to be exact. Gowns glimmered with gold- and silver-tone ropes of curb chain that hung asymmetrically across models’ clavicles, affecting a mega-necklace look. Ford’s final look was cocreated by jewelry designer and metal mesh expert Michael Schmidt (creator of Tina Turner’s iconic silver mesh dress). The spectacular silver mesh gown and cardigan (see it above) was set with thousands of Swarovski crystals—creating a proprietary textile Schmidt is calling Mega Mesh. Wow, and whoa.
Top: Bella Hadid at Ralph Lauren’s runway presentation (image via: @ralphlauren)