Trend Watch: Lace and Refinement—The New Creative Mix

Lace is an amazing textile. A net-like fabric, in its purest form, made by hand, it is truly an art form. Machine-produced lace, which is the norm today, is beautiful in its own right, and has become a fabric of choice for the upcoming fall/winter season.


The level of refinement of lace is high, and generally speaking, the jewelry worn with it should similarly be jewelry of a high level of refinement. That is to say, chunky pieces and uncut stones generally are not going to work, nor are workhorse pieces like hoop earrings and oversize watches. Lace calls for a lighter touch in jewelry. The easiest way to think of the normal level of refinement called for by lace is to consider the types of jewelry shown with lacey bridal gowns. The jewelry can still be large so that the scale of the jewelry is appropriate to the woman, but the jewelry should incorporate the kind of attention to detail that such a fine fabric merits.


  [Image from Harper’s Bazaar Fall/Winter 2008 Runway Report]

This season brings a contrarian approach to lace, however, showing this fabric worn over turtlenecks and tights, cinched with leather belts and accessorized with shoulder bags and chunky shoes. Jewelry can take a clue from this apparent style mismatch, and most or all of the jewelry style no-no’s become entirely appropriate.


In this iteration, think of lace as essential a patterned fabric (albeit a fragile, three-dimensional one). The lace designs are much less of the romantic style personality (sweet and girlish) or alluring style personality (provocatively peek-a-boo) than they are of the creative style personality (the more creative the mix, the better). Wide cuffs and strong earrings hold their own in this fashion mix. 



    [Image from Harper’s Bazaar Fall/Winter 2008 Runway Report]

Repeating the design of the lace in jewelry is a highly effective way of accessorizing these fashions. Notice how the chandelier earrings shown with the Alexander McQueen dress pictured above, repeats the pattern of the lace in the skirt. Whether or not the jewelry imitates the design of the lace, the jewelry should be large in scale to work with the scale of the pattern in the lace.  


Of course, you may have customers who wear lace as a way to express their romantic or alluring style personalities, and their choices of jewelry in delicate or undulating designs, are alternate, classic ways of accessorizing lace with jewelry.