Totally Tubular

There are trends in beads and trends in fine metal designs, and it’s intriguing to see that designers working with both materials have been of like mind with regard to a key design element this season. This particular design element is long and lean; the trend is tubular.

The tubular bead shows up in multi-cultural designs, as might well be expected:

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Illustration: A Monique Pean buffalo horn necklace prominently figures in this styling from the March 2010 issue of Vogue.

Tubular beads also show up as the featured design element in necklaces chosen to adorn more traditional and elegant stylings:

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Illustration: A Verdura necklace of 18 karat gold and wood featured in the March 2010 issue of Town & Country. Notice how the tubular design relates to the woven bodice of the Fendi gown.

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Illustration: A Verdura necklace of gold and agates featured in the April 2010 issue of Harper’s Bazaar.
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Illustration: The Stephen Dweck multistone necklace picks up the colors in the Etro jacket in this illustration from the March 2010 issue of Town & Country. The tubular beads are crystal.

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Illustration: An ad for Dillard’s features a necklace of uncredited source that includes tubular beads.

While necklaces are an obvious choice for incorporating tubular design elements, they can also appear in bracelets, earrings, brooches and even rings.

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Illustration: A ring with tubular design elements from the April 2010 issue of Marie Claire.

In metal, perhaps no designer more extensively uses the tubular design motif this season than Gucci. The ikat-print dress that was the subject of a recent blog post featured a belt that incorporated tubular metal pieces. Similar design elements appear in the Gucci line in garments and footwear.

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Illustrations: Designs from a current Gucci ad.

The Platinum Guild International has identified tubular as one of the key design motifs for 2010:

“With a shift in the world’s value systems, the design world has begun to look to the urban landscape, inspiring a shift towards more structural, engineered designs that will stand the test of time. In consequence, 2010 sees designers replicate strong yet intricate structures based around three guiding themes: perforated, tubular and chain.”

Particularly with regard to tubular design elements of repetitive and uniform shape and size, be alert for instances when they may draw attention to a physical feature of the wearer because of that feature’s similarity in size and shape. The tubular design element might draw attention to the wearer’s nose, for instance. With straighter, heavier eyebrows once again back in vogue, a tubular design may add emphasis to the line of the brows. And of course, the tubular design element might also appear much like a miniature version of a straight shift dress on a lean, rectangular figure.