Trend Watch: It’s Crystal Clear

One of my recent posts commented upon icy silvery wristwatches, noting that they were, in a manner, colorless, a brilliant extension of a white hue. Colorless is an important trend now and through spring 2010 in accessories, and particularly in jewelry.

In the Italian designer collections for spring, clear Lucite made a strong showing, appearing in the collections of Fendi (Lucite clutches), and Prada (Lucite “crystal”-embellished shoes). American designer Michael Kors adorned certain of his spring 2010 runway looks with chunky Lucite necklaces by Alexis Bittar. The clear plastic adds a bit of gleam and finish to a look, without distracting from the color story.

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Illustration: From the spring 2010 Michael Kors collection.

The colorless look has appeared on the red carpet in fine jewelry rock crystal versions, with a recent example seen on actress Ginnifer Goodwin in an Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry necklace of emerald-shaped rock crystals she wore to the 2009 Primetime Emmy Awards in September. Goodwin’s look is featured in an article on transparent trinkets in the October 12, 2009 issue of People magazine, which also shows various clear “stone” and “crystal” necklaces priced under $100 each.

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People magazine provides three tips for wearing clear necklaces:

1. “Keep your outfit simple. The necklace should be the ‘clear focus,’ says Ivanka Trump, who created Goodwin’s rock crystal piece.”

However, be aware that some transparent pieces seem-not surprisingly, really-almost to disappear in photographs, even though they dazzle in person, and Goodwin’s choice presents an example of this effect. A crystal necklace is not likely to be the first thing one sees doing the “blink test.”

2. “Pair with a strapless or low-cut neckline. ‘Never lay the necklace over fabric,’ says Trump. ‘It should touch a woman’s skin to make her glow.’”

I hold a somewhat different view, and am of the opinion that a crystal or other transparent necklace can work nicely over fabric, such as a simple sheath dress (as seen in the Michael Kors collection) or a turtleneck sweater in the winter. Because a transparent necklace will not visually dominate when it crosses over a neckline, however, it should be worn either “all on” or “all off” the fabric background. Note, of course, that certain kinds of dichroic glass appear transparent when worn on light-colored skin but visually take on color only when viewed on black or other deep hues. For such a necklace, it is imperative that it be worn on top of fabric.

3. “Skip earrings or keep them small. Select a pair of diamond studs or little crystals that won’t compete with the dramatic necklace.”

Choosing earrings to wear but not compete with a transparent necklace can be challenging. The tricky part of matching a crystal clear necklace to earrings is getting the scale of the earrings right, since generally the transparent components of a necklace are necessarily quite large in order to make a statement. If the “crystals” on the necklace are accompanied by diamonds or other small stones or design detail, that component of the necklace might serve as inspiration for earrings that will complement the necklace without overpowering it.

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Illustration: Hilary Swank wears a wide transparent resin cuff with silver and white bracelets to complete the colorless jewelry look, all by Dinosaur Designs, pictured in the November 2009 issue of Town & Country magazine.

Of course, one popular favorite perennial “colorless” look is that of white diamonds. One might say that’s a swank look that clearly trumps all the other trends. And with that, I’ll transparently cease my efforts toward ending this post with a bad pun.