Tropical Is Topical

Especially in light of the recent disasters around the world affecting the water and the air, it’s a good time to appreciate and celebrate some of nature’s most gorgeous gifts and the earth’s most beautiful locations … the tropical paradise. Everyone can use a little vacation, even if you’re staying put. Think tropical! In fashion, the tropical theme is hot, hot, hot!

The May 2010 issue of Elle magazine urges readers to “play like you’re on vacation in spring’s palm-tree gems and postcard prints.” Among a variety of tropical print garments, Elle features a magnificent pair of white and yellow diamond palm tree earrings by Van Cleef & Arpels.

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The palm tree is a readily recognizable symbol of tropical climes, but there are other delightful symbols from which to choose. Think tropical birds with colorful plumage, all manner of tropical fish and sea creatures, as well as seashells in all their variety. Sunburst designs, too, capture the vacation spirit and joie de vivre.

The colors that fit a tropical mood are bright, and shades of azure, turquoise and aqua – colors of warm seas and sunlight skies – are especially apropos. These beautiful shades are being recreated in a revival of more vibrant colors of eye shadow too, as seen in this current ad from Maybelline.

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I am reminded too of the butterfly wing jewelry popular in England and tropical tourist destinations sold in the 1920’s through the 1950’s. Where a palm tree silhouette is reverse painted and set on top of a bright blue butterfly wing background, you have all the elements of today’s top design motifs.

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Illustration: From my personal collection, a butterfly-shaped butterfly wing brooch sans a reverse-painted tropical scene.

The May 2010 issue of Marie Claire advises readers: “To get into the Cabo San Lucas spirit, drizzle in tie-dye and stir with straw.” Straw hats and bags, along with large lens sunglasses, are perfect accessories to get into the tropical spirit. I am a bit puzzled by Marie Claire’s choice of jewelry, however. The wooden bead and metal link bracelet by Stephen Dweck incorporates nature with the use of wood, but a necklace from Aris Geldis Paris of heavy links looks to belong to another genre entirely.

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Getting into the Cabo San Lucas spirit might be just the perfect way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo today. Palm trees and seashells are beautiful motifs that just might put one in a tropical mood, whether or not they are accompanied by a pina colada and enjoyed out by the pool.