Brooches have re-established themselves as a popular category of jewelry again these last few years, a trend that shows no sign of tapering off as designers and consumers both find creative ways to wear brooches and to tap into their inherent versatility.
What we haven’t seen in many years is the use of one distinctive sub-category of brooches, stick pins. I recall their popularity back in the dress-for-success days of the late 70s and early 80s. A new ad from Emporio Armani seen in February 2009 fashion magazines changes that.
What is interesting is that the stick pin in the Armani ad is worn on the lapel of a man’s suit, not a woman’s. The Emporio Armani web site for the United States does offer several items of men’s jewelry including watches, but does not offer for sale the stick pin of what appears to be onyx that appears in the ad. The web site includes a slide show that features two male models, one blonde, one brunette, wearing jackets, each adorned with a stick pin on the left lapel.
Interestingly, the stick pin is not used as an accessory on any of the women’s jackets shown on the web site. I note, however, that none of the women’s jackets are featured in the slide show where you’ll see the aforementioned men’s stylings.
Ever since Russell Crowe wore his grandfather’s ribboned medal to the 2001 Academy Awards, periodically we see men wearing brooches or medals as adornment, as I commented in my blog last year. Zac Posen wore a cluster of unrelated brooches in his appearance as a judge on Project Runway in 2008, for instance.
Because this use of jewelry by men is still relatively rare, it creates significant visual impact. Worn regularly, it could easily become a signature look. It is very much akin to wearing a pristine white handkerchief or a pop of bright silk in the suit breast pocket. It requires a certain amount of attitude and savoir-faire.
The stickpin, by nature of its long, linear design, is best suited to a narrow lapel. It can also be used to tack a lightweight scarf into place.
It remains to be seen whether this fresh look will become an androgynous trend, embraced by both women and men. Placement of the ad in a women’s fashion magazine brings the attention of women to this once-again potentially chic accessory.