It all started with Dolce & Gabbana. I first saw it close-up on a real live fashionista before I saw the ads in the fashion magazines. Complimenting the well-dressed woman on her interesting combination and placement of several sparkling crystal brooches, she advised me that they were actually part of her garment and that she could take no credit for their selection or placement.
[Image from a print ad of Dolce & Gabbana]
Indeed, the Dolce & Gabbana ads feature tops and dresses that appear to be adorned with a selection of scattered sparkly pins. The Italian designers have continued this look in other ads featuring belts that seem to be adorned with brooches
The cover of the April 2009 issue of In Style magazine features Salma Hayek wearing a Gucci dress with what appears to be two brooches, but in fact they are part of the dress. That garment is similar to a garment available on the Gucci site, a front slash gown “with agate and amethyst stone embroidery.”
[Photo of agate and amethyst stone embroidered dress from Gucci web site]
Agate and amethyst stone embroidery? How marvelous that brooches have become so essential a fashion accessory that they are provided as part of the embellishment of a garment. How sad that fashion designers can’t trust their customers to buy their own brooches and get the look right.
Here’s a great case for showing your customers how to reproduce the look on their favorite garments using combinations of real brooches. Isn’t it ever so much more interesting to have a personally selected collection of pieces that can be mixed and matched as well as used on more than one garment?
One of my favorite American designers voices a practical selling point that can be employed by jewelers. In the April 2009 issue of In Style magazine, designer Michael Kors urges readers to “set embellishment free,” writing: “Heavily embellished clothes are lovely but can be limiting. When ornamentation isn’t attached, you add or subtract at will, getting more out of clothes and jewelry.” Versatility is, of course, one of the great selling points of brooches.
And then there’s the issue of how to clean a garment embroidered with crystals or amethyst. I’ll leave that to the experts. It seems to me that that hassle is one more good reason for a consumer to choose jewels over jeweled.