Trend Watch: Bountiful Brooches

No piece of jewelry is as versatile as a brooch. Fashionistas and stylists alike have discovered how adaptable and multi-faceted brooches can be. Is there a greater sign of the importance of brooches in fashion today than seeing them imitated in or on the apparel of a major designer? 

[Above: detail from one of the pages of the Chanel spread]

The June 2008 issue of Vogue magazine contains a six-page advertising spread from Chanel, featuring what appears to be a virtual cornucopia of brooches. There are brooches covering bodices, brooches in the hair, brooches clustered under the chin and – my favorite – brooches on the cuffs of gloves.


On the Chanel web site, it appears that the cluster effect is actually one enormous collective brooch consisting of what appears to be five or more large, separate designs welded together into a seemingly haphazard cluster. Individual brooches are also available. However, the bodice shown in the ad in fact is a metal-adorned accessory that ties on with ribbon. I did not find the gloves, but it appears the “brooches” on the cuffs of the gloves are in fact incorporated into the body of the gloves themselves.


The use of multiple brooches in interesting combinations is a design detail that Chanel has employed over several seasons, and is also favored by Marc Jacobs. We’ve previously seen brooches worn in profusion on the front edge of a sweater or accenting a scarf or tie.


These fashion spreads provide exciting fashion inspiration for creative uses of brooches. One thing to note is that it is not necessary to have a multiplicity of styles available in order to recreate or approximate most of these looks. One style or motif brooch repeated in multiples beautifully handles the task. The look is one of lush abundance.


[Photo: Marc Jacobs brooches in the September 2007 issue of Glamour.]

See, for instance, a charming bridal headpiece being modeled by Sarah Jessica Parker, which also appears in the June 2008 issue of Vogue. The headpiece consists of a headband to which are attached a bevy of beautiful dimensional flowers (or are they butterflies?), embellished with Fred Leighton brooches. Notice the detail on her Carolina Herrera dress, a look that also can be accomplished with brooches.



Thus, a collection of brooches might be used to imitate the detail on the Chanel gloves or the Carolina Herrera dress, jewelry imitating fashion. Turnabout is fair play.