Fashion Facets

Runway and Celebrity Roundup

The notion that an entire season of fashion shows could go by without any fine jewelry appearing on the runways is, thankfully, passé. Likewise, an awards show wouldn?t be complete without a profusion of dazzling mega-jewels decorating celebrity presenters and hosts. This year, the roster of jewelry designers featured at the fall/winter 2000-2001 7th on Sixth fashion week collections in New York was almost as long as the list of fashion designers whose clothes were being shown. Jewelry also was featured prominently on the bodies of presenters and guests at the VH-1 Vogue Awards and the Golden Globe Awards.

Fine jewelry by Studio Karu, Gurhan, Cathy Carmendy, Henry Dunay, Robert Lee Morris, Pernilla Wagner, M & J Savitt, Fred Leighton, Van Cleef & Arpels, Harry Winston, and Katey Brunini graced the runway shows of such fashion design talents as Mark Montano, Carmen Marc Valvo, Michael Kors, Han Feng, Sean John, Pamela Dennis, Oscar de la Renta, and Cynthia Rowley.

Mark Montano?s show featured long gold chains with multicolored gemstones and gold hoop earrings with sapphire briolettes. He accented his ready-to-wear collection with jewelry by Gurhan, Studio Karu, and Cathy Carmendy. Fashion designer Cynthia Rowley?s show featured large gemstone cocktail rings by Henry Dunay, chunky beaded necklaces by Studio Karu, and two large ?rock? style necklaces, one in citrine and one in aquamarine, both by Katey Brunini. Eveningwear designer Carmen Mark Valvo used large gold necklaces and cuff bracelets from Robert Lee Morris and Pernilla Wagner to create a dramatic effect for his African-inspired collection. Michael Kors, noted for his clean, modern American sportswear, chose chunky gemstone pieces by M & J Savitt to accessorize his fall/winter 2000 collection.

Separately, at the Paris spring/summer 2000 haute couture collections, former ?bad boy? designer Jean-Paul Gaultier (creator of Madonna?s infamous cone bra) showed his refined side, with Tahitian pearl jewelry from the Tahiti Perles-Robert Wan Collection as well as Tahiti-inspired clothes. The designer, only recently accepted as a bona fide couturier by the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne, even used pearls to create two pieces of clothing. He showed a pullover made from 1,500 strips of Tahitian mother-of-pearl, the nacre used to create Tahitian cultured pearls, and a skirt made of mother-of-pearl shells, worn over a wedding dress in the fashion show?s finale. The top was created for Gaultier by Tahitian artisan Hiro Owen of Tavake Creations, and the skirt was created in the ateliers of Woyta Prokop and Faaura Creations of Tahiti. Other pearl jewelry shown by Gaultier included golden-gray baroque cultured pearl bracelets and necklaces.

Fashion editors from Harper?s Bazaar, Vogue USA, Vogue Japan, and L?Officiel praised the show and reserved pieces from the collection for upcoming photo features.

In the first round of the year 2000 awards programs, English jeweler Asprey & Garrard made a splash at the Golden Globe Awards, with celebrity presenters and guests choosing 16 different pieces from the jeweler?s collection. Total retail value of merchandise lent by the jeweler was more than $500,000.

At the VH-1 Vogue fashion awards, each of the evening?s presenters received a special gift courtesy of VH-1, Vogue, and the Diamond Information Center: a diamond line bracelet by Italian designer Roberto Coin. Recipients included Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Sharon Stone, Julianna Margulies, Charlize Theron, Cindy Crawford, Heather Locklear, Claire Danes, Sandra Bullock, Minnie Driver, Christy Turlington, and Heather Graham. DIC director Joan Parker worked closely with the show?s creative producer, Candy Pratts Price, and with celebrity stylists to ensure the show?s hosts, Heather Locklear and Sean ?Puffy? Combs, were decked out in diamonds for each of their five wardrobe changes.

Toe-Tally Precious!

If the shoe fits, buy it in every color. And if happens to be a luxurious, sexy sandal?then the stylish new way to wear it is with a fine jewelry toe ring.

Until recently, toe rings were available mainly at flea markets or in funky boutiques and were made from non-precious materials or, occasionally, from sterling silver. Like many other recent fashion trends, this one has filtered up from the street and into the high-fashion crowd. When a woman spends upward of $500 for a pair of designer shoes like the creations of Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo, Christian Louboutin, or Richard Tyler, she wants a toe ring worthy of the company it keeps!

Jewelry designers are stepping up to the trend. Last year, New York designer Jeffrey Robert added a collection of toe rings to his famous Microcord line of illusion necklaces, rings, and earrings. California designer Michael Bogosian of Michael B. designed a platinum and diamond toe ring as a special treat for his wife, Aida, and has since added that and one other style to his line. They are hinged versions of his signature platinum rings, designed to open and be clasped around the toe rather than pushed over it.

But no jewelry designer had launched a comprehensive line of precious toe rings until Toesies, a collection of gold and diamond toe rings, debuted at the January edition of the Accessory Circuit show in New York.

The collection is the brainchild of New York-based designer CariDawn Isolano. After years of working with top fine jewelry designers such as Barry Kieselstein-Cord and Penny Preville, Isolano stepped out on her own, as it were. Being a devoted toe ring aficionado for many years, Isolano sought to create a line of precious toe rings that would appeal to all ages. The collection consists of 35 simple, classic designs, which, unlike silver toe cuffs, are full rings fashioned in 14k gold and inlaid with diamonds and precious gemstones. The bulk of the line retails from $149 to $350, though one diamond model retails for $1,700.

Can?t see whipping out the ring sizer and asking a customer to lift up her foot? Isolano says toe ring sizing is surprisingly simple. A good rule of, um, thumb, is to start with half the customer?s shoe size (thus, someone with a size 8 shoe wears a size 4 toe ring). Another good guess is the customer?s pinky ring size. Both measurements may fluctuate plus or minus one half-size.

Toesies have already received attention in the consumer press (Teen People, Newsweek, and Bride?s magazines) and have caught on with celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston, Barbra Streisand, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Susan Lucci, Britney Spears, and models Heidi Klum, Nikki Taylor, and Tyra Banks. Buyers from stores like Barneys New York (both its New York and Tokyo stores), Henri Bendel, and the accessory counters at Fred Segal in California have snapped up the rings. Isolano says the Web site Firstjewelry.com and the Las Vegas and Costa Mesa, Calif., Stuart Weitzman shoe stores are slated to begin carrying the rings this spring. At press time, Isolano also was developing a line of anklets and a lower-end line of sterling silver toe rings for the teenage market. It will be called ?Toe-kens by Toesies.?

Toesies? new showroom is set to open in New York this month. Complimentary pedicures given with each appointment. 154 W. 14th St., #901, New York, NY 10011; (212) 604-9049, e-mail: CariDawn2@aol.com. On the West Coast, contact Meridian Accessories West, 110 E. Ninth Street, #A1071, Los Angeles, CA 90079; (213) 489-2764.

Michael B.?s toe rings are available in two styles. One has a .07-ct. center diamond, suggested retail $1,050, and the other, a diamond pavé model, retails for $2,700. Michael B., 12220 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, CA 91604; (818) 769-8388, e-mail: michaelb@jewelink.com.

Jeffrey Robert?s Microcord toe rings are 18k white gold, available with or without diamonds. They come in four styles: heart, cross, small bezel, and large bezel. Suggested retail prices range from $60 to $450. Jeffrey Robert Ltd., 52 W. 47th St., New York, NY 10036; (212) 819-0947.

Congratulations!

Jewelers of America has announced the winners of its 10th annual Affiliate Design Competition. The contest featured 32 pieces that won design competitions hosted by JA?s state and regional affiliates during 1999. All pieces were created by JA members or by employees of JA member stores. Entries were displayed and judged at the February JA International Jewelry Show in New York.

Pieces were entered in three categories. The winner in Category I (jewelry with material value of $1,000 or less) was Kevin Wood of Gold N? Diamonds, Salt Lake City, a member of the Intermountain Jewelers Association. His piece was a 14k yellow gold pin with rutilated quartz, carved onyx, and two citrines. Honors in Category II (jewelry valued at $1,001 to $3,000) went to Jason Bouchard and Matthew Crawford of James Bouchard Fine Jewelry/Ornamental of Colorado Springs, Colo., a member of the Rocky Mountain Jewelers Association. Their piece was a platinum ring with a white Australian pearl and diamonds. The Category III winner ($3,001 and up), and the recipient of the Buyers? Choice Award, was a multicolored South Seas pearl necklace and matching bracelet in five-color gold by designer Etienne Perret of Camden, Maine, a member of the Maine Jewelers Association.

Category winners were chosen by a select judging panel of industry experts. The Buyers? Choice Award was determined by a vote of JA New York show attendees. All winners received a special ?J? trophy.

Russian Tradition Inspires Jewelry

Two prominent European jewelry manufacturers, Victor Mayer of Pforzheim, Germany, and Chopard of Geneva, Switzerland, have found inspiration in the great jewelry history of Russia. Victor Mayer, the official work master of the Fabergé Co. of New York, created the last Fabergé egg of the 20th century. The jewel, completed on Dec. 23, 1999, is an egg pendant set with more than 2,000 diamonds and carefully engraved to commemorate the new millennium.

Made in the tradition of Fabergé?s imperial Easter eggs, the jewel is priced at an estimated DM700,000 (approximately $360,000) but is up for bid. Contact Victor Mayer GmbH & Co., Simmlerstrasse 13-14, D-75172, Pforzheim, Germany. Tel. (49-72) 319 1870, fax (49-72) 313 3215, e-mail: victor.mayer@faberge.de.

Chopard, inspired by the grandeur and cultural heritage of the czars, has produced a line of jewelry and watches called the Pushkin Collection. It also commemorates the bicentennial of the birth of Alexander Pushkin, one of Russia?s most noted authors. The collection includes chokers, bracelets, earrings, and watches, all set with diamonds, pearls, and gemstones.

The collection was created by Catherine Gruosi-Scheufele, Chopard?s vice president and design manager. ?After many trips to Russia, I was convinced that the rounded, curved dome found in Russian architecture would become an integral design motif in our newest line of jewelry, because it is such an elegant and free-flowing form,? she says. ?The flamboyant Pushkin Collection is also a fitting tribute to the author, whose works chronicled 18th-century Russian life and were provocative, liberal, and full of passion.?

Each piece is crafted in 18k white and yellow gold in satin and polished finishes and set with diamonds, gems, and pearls. Retail prices range from $5,000 to more than $450,000 for a diamond, ruby, and pearl necklace. Contact Chopard, 8 Rue de Veyrot, CH-1217 Meyrin 2-Geneva, Switzerland. Tel. (41-22) 719-3131. In the United States, contact the Chopard boutique in New York, 725 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10012; (212) 247-3300.

Mikimoto Meets Mickey Mouse

To celebrate the release of Walt Disney Pictures? Fantasia/2000, Walt Disney Art Classics has commissioned Mikimoto to create a one-of-a-kind pearl and diamond necklace and earrings suite.

The work, titled ?Whales in Flight,? recently was unveiled at a reception at Mikimoto?s flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York. Inspired by the ?Pines of Rome? segment from the movie, the necklace depicts a pod of whales approaching a supernova, a mystical journey that transcends the ocean and rises into the heavens. The set, composed of 105 akoya pearls, three South Seas pearls, and more than 77 cts. of diamonds set in platinum, was created by master designer Lili Chu.

The suite is one of seven ?masterworks? commissioned by Disney for its Fantasia/2000 Masterworks Collection. Other companies commissioned to create pieces for the collection are Steuben, Harry Winston, Tiffany, Cartier, Stieff, and the fashion design team Dolce & Gabbana. The collection, part of the five-city Fantasia/2000 World Première Tour, will be exhibited in New York, London, Paris, Tokyo, and Pasadena, Calif. After the tour, all seven items will be offered for auction at Sotheby?s in June.

The Reading Room

Jewellery Trends 2000 Europe is the second edition of an annual report by journalist, gemologist, and marketing consultant Susan Sagherian and published by Goldschmiede Zeitung, the German jewelry trade magazine. Jewellery Trends 2000 Europe discusses social topics and their relation to jewelry design trends and provides detailed descriptions of the colors, styles, surface treatments, and materials being used in jewelry and watch design. It also includes hints and tips for both jewelry buyers and jewelry marketing managers. The 115-page book is printed in both German and English and is available for DM102.80 (approximately $56). Contact Goldschmiede Zeitung, Ruhle-Diebener-Verlag GmbH & Co., KG, Wolfschlugener Strasse 5a, D-70597, Stuttgart, Germany. Tel. (49-7) 11-97667-0, fax (49-7) 11-97664-49, e-mail: info@gz-journal.de.

The Jeweler?s Resource Bureau has published its Sourcebook for Designers and Artisans, a directory with 40 categories of resources for jewelry designers. Listings include ad agencies, stone dealers, photographers, paper suppliers, and much more. Retailers will find the listings helpful, as well.

?Our clients around the country are often isolated in their studios and rely on word of mouth to find suppliers and services,? said Cindy Edelstein, publisher and president of the Jeweler?s Resource Bureau. ?The Sourcebook is a direct response to the need for information and references for the entire designer community.?

Circulation for the premier edition of the Sourcebook is 6,000. Cover price is $9.95. It?s available from the Jeweler?s Resource Bureau, 129 Secor Lane, Pelham, NY 10803; (914) 738-8485 or via the JRB Web site at www.jewelers-resource.com.