Fashion Play

Hot-off-the-runway trends and the jewels to match

Trucker hats and extra-long ties aside, our president isn’t exactly known as a fashion influence. And yet, the ­leader of the free world cast an especially long ­shadow over the fall 2017 collections as designers found themselves increasingly reacting to the commander in chief’s policies and positions. And—spoiler alert (if you’ve been hiding under a rock!)—the fashion votes don’t fall in his favor.

During New York Fashion Week—where, the week before, protesters stormed the streets and JFK Airport to ­decry his travel ban 1.0—political gestures were ­omnipresent. Mara Hoffman featured readings by the four co-chairs of the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. Monse opened with Robert De Niro’s voice booming about the immigrant experience in a clip from the 2015 short Ellis. There was the bounty of statement tees—featuring such phrases as Feminist AF at Jonathan Simkhai, Nevertheless, she persisted at Prabal Gurung, We are all human beings at Creatures of Comfort, and even a cheeky take on DJT’s infamous red baseball cap: Public School’s Make America New York hats.

But as the season stretched across the Atlantic, it ­quickly became apparent that everyone had gotten caught in the ­undertow of the current political scene—not just those ­residing under the broad stripes and bright stars. London gave us Ashish Gupta’s all-over sequin More glitter, less Twitter top. In Milan, we saw pussy hats at Missoni and outsize messages of Equality, Courage, and Love emblazoned on the clothes at Versace. And in Paris, Talbot Runhof sent out a finale of sleeveless blouses jazzed up with contrast-­color text. The last one read Sad! 

More subtle responses abounded as well. Milly’s Michelle Smith, for example, dove into deconstruction as a way to work through a dispirited state of mind; she titled the collection Fractured, after her postelection feelings. Karl Lagerfeld offered a galactic escape at Chanel, complete with a 115-foot-high rocket-ship backdrop. Some designers ­explored strength and empowerment with broad-shouldered power suiting and toughened punk attitudes, while others shone a nostalgic spotlight on the United States itself—most notably Raf Simons in his debut at Calvin Klein, a standout retooling of our familiar fashion tropes (varsity sweaters, denim, quilting) set against a Sterling Ruby installation of mop buckets and cheerleader pom-poms called “Sterling Ruby Imagined America.” It all brought to mind the closing line in Meryl Streep’s speech from the Golden Globes in January: “Take your broken heart, make it into art.”

Well, the art begot fashion, and the fashion begot trends. Here, a look at what’s to come.


Strength, grit, verve, nerve—designers had empowerment on the brain. Grab if you dare, the urban armor suggested. Junya Watanabe went cone-stud crazy, and Alexander Wang opted for street-wise chain-link bracelets and collars. Olivier Rousteing’s army at Balmain (pictured), in a dizzying array of patchwork animal skins, was positively Amazonian in its warriorlike vibe.

But more than this rebel yell, the season’s power-dressing trend found its most popular form in menswear: Runways were brimming with pantsuits and oversize tailoring. Even the prominent patterns were in step: Get ready for houndstooth, herringbone, and glen plaids, not to mention tartan and checks of all sorts.

As for what this means for jewelry, Eliza Spell of Nine Roses Jewelers in Richmond, Va., recommends doubling down. “We would really go for it and pair bold, strong jewelry that evokes a sense of masculinity,” she says. “We’re thinking thick chains and high-carat metal to enhance a piece’s ability to stand out on its own. Lean into the trend.”

Of course, where would fashion be without contrast? Many ­designers injected those masculine overtures with a bit of froth—say, cutting soft, billowing gowns from plaid (Jenny Packham) or augmenting a strong-shouldered coat with floral embroidery and gold brocade (Antonio Marras). Quick hits of feminine finery offered a similar counterpoint. At Bottega Veneta, for instance, Tomas Maier’s precision tailoring was styled with petite bejeweled earrings; Zuhair Murad gave his models pretty rings and earrings topped with crystals and pink gems. And on that note…

1 / Link earrings with hanging T-bar in 18k gold–plated brass; $248 (sold as pair); Mawi;;

2 / Rainbow mini pavé link choker in 18k mixed gold with diamonds and gemstones; $7,140; Shay; 646-745-6831;

3 / 24k gold–plated Mini Titan Stone ring in gold plate with onyx; $230; Vita Fede;;

4 / Cuff in 18k yellow gold; $18,200; Maxior; 55-11-3105-4292;

5 / Shina earrings in bronze with dark horn; $455; Ashley Pittman;;


Pretty. It’s not a word that designers tend to embrace, at least not without qualifying it so the look is more twisted, more imperfect. But jewelers will be excited to hear that—after a period of the experimental, sculptural stuff—glamorous, glitzy, and feminine bijoux made a return to the runway. We saw colorful gemstone rings, framed in diamonds, from Tiffany & Co. at Luisa Beccaria; lovely crystal clusters at Jason Wu; ultra-ornate bibs and brooches for latter-day Merle Oberons at Miu Miu; and antique dazzlers, including a beautiful Moorish bust necklace, at Alberta Ferretti. Jeremy Scott, for Moschino (pictured), riffed on the estate look in his recycling-themed show with gigantic four-prong sparklers done trompe l’oeil–style on cardboard.

Pearls proved to be defining details, as designers from Joseph Altuzarra to Thom Browne piled them onto ready-to-wear. Manish Arora even dotted models’ faces and arms with pearl body beads (poll: Does this fall under beauty or accessories?). While pearls have been trending for the past few seasons, we saw progressively inventive takes on the style—like the almost comically Brobdingnagian seed-pearl tassel earrings at Andrew Gn. In his space odyssey for Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld created a starry look with an exuberant use of crystals and pearls; Christopher Kane achieved a holographic vibe with iridescent mother-of-pearl earrings and brooches; and Marco de Vincenzo suspended bold pearl collars and briolette earrings in Plexiglas.

1 / Earrings with spinel, tsavorite, mandarin garnet, tanzanite, tourmaline, and diamonds in 18k gold; $11,250; Trésor Collection;;

2 / Gardens of Xochimilco necklace with fancy sapphires, tsavorites, and fire opals in 18k gold; price on request; Lydia Courteille; 33-14-261-1171;

3 / Ring with 1 ct. t.w. white and brown diamonds and 6 cts. t.w. red sapphires; $12,600; Pasquale Bruni at the ANIMA Group; 800-868-5532;

4 / Earrings with Colombian emeralds, sapphires, tourmaline, turquoise, and South Sea pearls; price on request; Irene Neuwirth; 310-450-6063;


By now you’ve no doubt read about—or seen the Instagram snaps of—Marc Jacobs’ outing inspired by the 2016 series Hip-Hop Evolution. The poster for the four-part documentary, which traces the genre from the ’70s to the ’90s, features a slew of big, big, big chunky gold chain and pendant necklaces; Jacobs’ runway (pictured left) was no different, except his finery was done in collaboration with artist Urs Fischer.

But Jacobs wasn’t the only one going for the mammoth effect à la Curtis Blow and Run-D.M.C. There were gargantuan swirling pearl hoops—not to mention a life-size hand cast in gold and slung around the neck for a heavy-duty necklace—from Y/Project (pictured right), in an ode to both rap royalty and actual royalty à la Marie Antoinette; dramatic articulated metal necklaces that fell down the body to the waist at Maison Margiela; amped-up chain collars, each link a colorful huddle of beads, at Dries Van Noten; and hefty gold sunburst pendants at Fausto Puglisi. Even traditional cameos got a steroid treatment over at Mulberry; its designer Johnny Coca magnified them into fist-size pendants swinging from necklaces.

1 / 49 ct. Mandala crystal dome with diamonds and enamel in 20k yellow gold; $17,000; Buddha Mama; 305-439-2059;

2 / Goldtone Drift Tassel necklace with Art Deco–inspired feather pendant; $350; Lulu Frost;;

3 / Necklace with onyx hoops and diamonds in 18k gold and platinum; price on request; David Webb; 212-421-3030;

4 / Bacchus collar made from upcycled tin cans with vintage chains and Swarovski crystals; $325; Vanina;;

5 / Pavé link choker necklace in 14k gold–plated links with Czech crystal; $590; Lele Sadoughi; 212-228-8422;


Hoops continue to be strong. They came every which way this season: go-go girl style (Jeremy Scott), extra-wide (Zimmermann), wrapped in fur (Naeem Khan), and done in various exotics to match the clothes (as in snakeskin hoops to go with the snakeskin-trimmed suede jacket at Fendi). But the circular conceit didn’t stop there. Perhaps piggybacking on fall’s polka-dot trend, designers went batty for all sorts of circular and spherical jewelry—from the orb drops, cluster earrings, and statement necklaces at Marni (pictured) and Oscar de la Renta to the gypsy-like disk styles at Altuzarra and Etro.

Chokers? Don’t give up on them yet. They ranged from the slim leather versions at Hermès to the decadent romantic styles at Anna Sui and Elie Saab. The statement maker of the season: the Saint Laurent choker featuring a splashy, oversize rose corsage.

1 / Around the World earrings with colored diamonds and sapphires; price on request; Misahara;;

2 / Sapphire spiral ring in 10k yellow gold with ombré pink sapphires; $1,540; Shebee;;

3 / Pearl Pendulum earrings in 10k gold; $1,400; Baker & Black;;

4 / Classico large hammered link Jet Set earrings in 18k yellow gold; $4,495; Ippolita; 877-865-5500;

5 / Necklace in brass and leather; $780; Marni;;


Homespun and artisanal touches came out at Missoni, with necklaces made from semiprecious stones in various shapes, colors, and sizes, and at Loewe and Versace, boasting woven ­leather pendants and long drops, respectively. Models at Rosie Assoulin (pictured right), meanwhile, wore tiny clay-pot earrings by artist Jon Almeda, who, to highlight the craftsmanship element, was ­installed at her show creating miniature vessels on a pottery wheel. Elsewhere, designers played deft alchemists, merrily splicing materials and aesthetics—de-/reconstruction was big this season—which yielded some truly wondrous jewelry, like Prada’s hybrid seashell-gemstone strand (pictured left).

“That’s a really interesting trend, and one that seems really conscious in pointing out that there is more to the process of jewelry design and that each piece has a story,” says Nine Roses’ Spell. “We think of nontraditional, or craft, materials as a way to bring new and different energy into your life by what you adorn yourself with. This sort of embodies the idea of ‘you are what you wear.’ We’re looking forward to seeing where this trend goes.”

1 / Cardinal pendant with palm ivory and diamonds in 18k gold; $4,950; Irthly Jewelled Adornments; 949-IRTHLY-1;

2 / Necklace in ebony, leather, and 20k yellow gold with diamonds; $6,435; Fern Freeman; 917-217-1727;

3 / Marquetry earrings with morganite and diamonds; price on request; Silvia Furmanovich at Muse; 866-301-MUSE;

4 / Dendritic quartz in 14k gold with cognac diamonds; $2,195; Judi Powers Jewelry;;

5 / 18k gold earrings with drusy agate, Xaxim fossil, and diamonds; $19,200;
Pamela Huizenga;;


Top: Lele Sadoughi choker; inset: Lulu Frost pendant necklace

(Balmain: Alessandro Lucioni/; Moschino, Marc Jacobs, Y/Project, Marni, Prada:; Rosie Assoulin: courtesy Rosie Assoulin)

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