Trend Watch: Break Out the Love Beads for the Return of the Flower Child

Is it a desire to revert to a more innocent time? The influence of the make-love-not-war 60’s has come back to fashion, bringing with it a selection of long peasant-style dresses, vests, feathers, leather, lace, denim, chunky shoes, long free-flowing hairstyles, and plenty of love beads, pendants, rings and bracelets. This summer, long dresses and mod-inspired pants, both skinny and wide-leg, are a fresh alternative to the short slip dresses that have been the mainstay of recent bygone summers.


The March 2008 issue of Marie Claire magazine does a beautiful job of illustrating a range of hippie-inspired styles by such designers as Roberto Cavalli, Etro, Missoni, Michael Kors, Prada and even Ferragamo, when accessorized appropriately. (The Ferragamo shirtdress pictured here could just as easily be dressed up with a more elegant selection of jewelry and other accessories.)



As you study the photos, what is interesting to note is the rarity of any sparkly or shiny jewelry. This is a sea change from the fragile chains and pendants that work so beautifully with lightweight slip dresses. Instead, dark and distressed metals are favored. Silver is trendy again. Gold appears only sparingly, mixed in with a preponderance of other materials. Necklaces not rendered in leather or cording tend to be supporting huge, chunky stones.

Note the volume and mix of jewelry in the photo shown above. According to the photo’s caption there are seven necklaces/pendants, and eight styles of bracelet shown on the model.


Very often when a fairly recent trends makes another appearance in the fashion magazines, the details of nuances of the revived look are modified from the original. This time, however, aside from improvements in fabrics, the looks deviate relatively little from their original appearance in the 60’s. Packrat Baby Boomers may still have some of their hippie accoutrements from their first time around wearing these styles.


What this trend means for a jeweler is a focus on long beads, pendant necklaces, bracelets and rings, worn in abundance. Antiqued and distressed metal finishes are fashionable. Ethnic styles of earrings and other jewelry also fit well into the mix. The preferred jewelry to accompany the hippie style by and large has a relatively low level of refinement.


Styles come and go and it’s hard to predict whether the 60’s hippie revival is a fad or something with a bit of staying power. The sheer number of designers who have signed on for this look, however, suggests that it may be more than a flash in the pan. Peace, love, out.

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