Glitz, Color, Layers, Pearls, and Magpie Mode Rule Fall ’18 Fashion

This season, embrace the mishmash of trends, from saturated, splashy colors to magpie miscellany

Brownie points to the front-row fashion observers who could keep their focus this season. Throughout the monthlong circuit, from New York to Paris, there was a cacophony of distractions: Milan protests; Winter Olympics; Academy Awards; the Parkland, Fla., school shooting (and subsequent student-led surge against gun violence); Rob Porter; Hope Hicks; Stormy Daniels; and $31,000 office furniture. And let’s not forget the #MeToo movement. New York Fashion Week began with people still reeling over allegations against photographers Mario Testino and Bruce Weber in The New York Times; it closed with a bombshell in The Boston Globe, accusing 25 more fashion figures of sexual misconduct.

If that’s exhausting to read, let alone live through, imagine the challenge designers face working within that world. After all, the myth of the fashion créateur working from an ivory tower is just that: a myth. No one designs in a vacuum. So, if fashion holds a mirror to what is going on around us—the whole “hemlines up, hemlines down” thing—what does that mean for fall 2018? A splintered reflection, for one.

Among the season’s more curious themes was a hybrid mode of dressing, some looks literally collaged along a vertical axis. Splicing and patchworking proved big motifs, as well as beefed-up layers and their eclectic cousin, magpie piling and styling. Designers leaned in to the fractured mindset and created something quite chic from it.

One defining trend of the season? Well, there wasn’t one. Perhaps it’s that fragmented, inundated viewpoint. Jewelrywise, we saw romantic florals, brooches, and ample hoops, plus long swinging necklaces and the continuation of dramatic earrings in addition to smaller, more personal pieces, like the sliver of a necklace at Dion Lee. “Women love to have their little treasures as much as statement jewels,” says Marion Fasel, founder and editorial director of The Adventurine

Here, more on the season’s top trends.

dolce and gabbana 2018 runwayGlitz Factor

“Baubles, bangles, hear how they jing, jing-a-ling-a,” crooned the soundtrack at Rick Owens. “Sparkles, spangles/ My heart will sing, sing-a-ling-a….” That Peggy Lee classic was an apt anthem for fall 2018 because, of all the ’80s-centric trends on the runway, this was one the jewelry set can really get behind: indulgent glitz and glamour. Excess is back, baby.

Chalk it up to the healthy run of streetwear and sportif (and tracksuits!) of late, but designers were ready to embrace the glitter factor again. And whereas in the past few seasons statement earrings were the rage, all sorts of styles were in the spotlight. Dolce & Gabbana (pictured) had a treasure chest’s worth of demonstrative gold necklaces; Antonio Marras, decadent gemstone bracelets and bibs—and a generous dose of brooches, too. But Instagrammers, don’t fret—big boisterous earrings continue their reign, as seen at Saint Laurent, Zadig & Voltaire, and Tom Ford.

Lest you think ostentation is just for glamazons after dusk, one of the more refreshing trends was seeing the look styled for day. Brandon Maxwell paired sparkling dazzlers with neutral knits and a gentle robe coat, while Calvin Luo mixed rhinestone danglers with suede-and-corduroy separates.

bijoux de famille digital print necklace1 / Necklace with digital prints, crystals, and pearl cabochons on gold-plated brass; €425 ($527); Bijoux de Famille;;

ben amun multicolor crystal brooch2 / Victoria multicolored crystal pearl pendant/brooch; $245; Ben-Amun; 212-944-6480;

daniel espinosa memorias coin earrings3 / Memorias long earrings with genuine coins in 22k gold–plated bronze; $50; Daniel Espinosa; 210-558-3878;

percossi papi garnet amethyst cross4 / Vermeil cross with garnets, amethysts, amber, and pearls; €750 ($930); Percossi Papi;;

established diamond disc bracelet5 / Charm bracelet with 3.5 cts. t.w. diamonds in 18k gold; $24,500; Established; 646-745-6831;


marco de vincenzo 2018 runwayColor Chameleon

When it comes to color, the industry isn’t quite ready to let go of spring’s spirited palette. Even hosiery—hosiery!—got the Technicolor treatment, enough to make colorful tights its own mini trend (see Adam Selman, Anna Sui, Haider Ackermann).

Marc Jacobs and Carolina Herrera opted for luscious jewel tones, the latter closing with a parade of crisp white shirts paired with long faille skirts in various colors—Herrera’s ­uniform, a fitting finale for her last show. Prada served up delightful neons, the shocking highlighter hues heightened by the backdrop: vast windows with a view of the nighttime sky dotted with fluorescent signs of bananas, monkeys, and other past brand motifs. Over at Marco de Vincenzo ­(pictured), we saw prismatic shades cast in glittering Lurex.

From New York to Paris, the intriguing color contrasts and combinations were utterly compelling—and, at times, pregnant with meaning. Prabal Gurung’s pink focus was partially inspired by the uniforms of India’s all-female ­activist group Gulabi Gang (gulabi means pink in Hindi), and the rainbow stripes at Christopher Bailey’s last Burberry show very pointedly referenced gay pride—he announced a trio of donations to LGBTQ+ causes to boot.

modern moghul ruby tassel earrings1 / Champagne diamond and ruby drop earrings; $2,200; Modern Moghul; 361-239-8799;

mignonne gavigan parrot earrings2 / Parrot stud earrings with glass seed beads on leather; $395; Mignonne Gavigan;;

kavant sharart origami ziggy ring stack3 / 18k gold Origami Ziggy micro rings in diamond, $1,430, in ruby, tsavorite garnet, and blue, purple, pink, yellow, and orange sapphire, $770 each; Kavant & Sharart; 212-334-6700;

bahina flourite amethyst daisy earrings4 / 18k yellow gold earrings with fluorite, amethyst, and real daisies; $2,650; Bahina;;

shourouk raffia crystal necklace5 / Necklace in Swarovski pearls and crystals and raffia pom-poms; €650 ($805); Shourouk;;


alexander mcqueen 2018 runwayPile It On

Take a cue from the season’s hulking layering motif—the more, the better—and pile on the jewelry. Rings were worn in multiples, cuffs stacked high on the arms à la Nancy Cunard, and necklaces, one atop the other. Clearly, fall’s exuberant attitude doesn’t only apply to ’80s glitz.

Often, designers went for all of the above at once. Christian Dior’s Maria Grazia Chiuri did just that with her runway band of activists in a show inspired by the 1968 Paris student protests. (The show took place, coincidentally, while Parkland students were gearing up for their own protests, making for another fashion-­mirrors-world moment.)

Meanwhile, at Alexander McQueen (pictured), Sarah Burton wasn’t afraid to mix looks in a single outfit: a bejeweled torc with a swinging pendant necklace, worn with mismatched earrings—dangling pearl versus colored gemstone with a butterfly accent—and chunky bracelets in varying styles. For those keeping track, that hits a number of trends named here.

karen karch lucky dragon amulet1 / Lucky Dragon amulet with lapis and turquoise horns, cabochon sapphire, trilliant-cut colorless diamonds, and brilliant-cut brown and colorless diamonds in silver, black silver, and white gold; $9,100; Karen Karch; 212-965-9699;

royal nomad necklaces2 / Multistrand tourmaline, amethyst, and kyanite necklace, $1,100, chalcedony triangle arrowhead with opal and diamonds, $800, amethyst and diamonds on chain, $1,300;
Royal Nomad;;

DKNY cuff3 / Cuff bracelet; $88; DKNY; 844-854-8326;

jane taylor angled bands4 / Angled bands in 14k rose, yellow, and black gold with white, orange, and black diamonds and dark pink sapphires; $935–$2,300; Jane Taylor; 413-687-3153;

sevan bracelets5 / Bracelets in high-karat gold and sterling silver with multicolored diamonds, emeralds, rubies, tourmalines, and pearls; $22,000–$33,400; Sevan Biçakçi; 786-409-7156;


balenciaga 2018 runwayPiece of the Magpie

Bottle caps, seashells, whistles, and jacks—each and every one of these made its way onto the runway as jewelry. On their own, this wouldn’t be much of a story. But together, they’re reflective of a magpie mode of dressing that slowly came into focus for fall 2018. A little of this, a little of that. Why not?

It’s a thought that came to mind while watching Alessandro Michele’s Gucci show, which was equal parts exhilarating and overwhelming in its rapid-fire delivery of references. Just to name a few: plaids and peplums, knitted balaclavas and pagoda hats, models with third eyes and those carrying their (fake) heads in their hands. It was a postmodern mash-up on steroids, augmented all the more by a life lived through feeds. “We are all the Dr. Frankenstein of our lives,” Michele said in a postshow press conference. “Cutting and assembling and experimenting on the operating table.”

That’s not to say the jewelry takeaway is to channel your inner hoarder. It’s about combining pieces, mixing and matching, having fun, and making it personal. Charms play heavily in this trend, best seen at Coach and Balenciaga (pictured), which had a miscellany of trinkets including silver feathers and keys dangling from necklaces and earrings. Hey, non-precious can be precious, too.

rebel nell graffiti heart pendant1 / Heart pendant with multilayered graffiti paint, sterling silver–filled backing, and silver 18-inch chain; $120; Rebel Nell;;

grainne morton mismatched earrings2 / Mismatched Cross Drops with lapis, rose quartz, turquoise, opal, pink chalcedony, shell, cameo, coral, and antique enamel button in gold-plated silver; $850; Grainne Morton;;

thomas mann brooch3 / Limited-edition brooch with hand-carved Plexiglas, bronze, silver, found botanical decorative elements, steel, brass, copper, and ancient Roman glass drop; $450; Thomas Mann;;

lulu frost vintage necklace4 / Vintage Passage Necklace 5 with faux pearl and celluloid and pearlescent thermoset elements, c. 1930–1960; $825; Lulu Frost; 212-965-0075;

anton heunis maia charm bracelet5 / Maia bracelet with vintage glass, Swarovski crystal and pearls, turquoise, porcelain, and resin; €210 ($260); Anton Heunis;;


erdem 2018 runwayGirl With the Pearls

There’s no sign of the pearl trend letting up, as designers continually reinvent the look. Plus, with fall’s renewed vigor for the decadent stuff, the zeitgeist is ripe for this mainstay of ladylike luxury.

The look came every which way, from traditional single and double strands (Michael Kors, John Galliano) to lavish tassels (Bibhu Mohapatra). Part of the fun—for this jewelry lover, anyway—is counting the diverse, experimental takes on the runway. Pearls came supersized at Oscar de la Renta, and in mobile-like drops at Erdem (pictured). They climbed north of the lobe at Valentino and Prabal Gurung. Louis Vuitton’s Nicolas Ghesquière had simple drops—with a long trailing chain for just the right amount of off-kilter cool.

This season, pearls were particularly relevant for the larger menswear trend. Yes, they’re a staple for playing up a romantic or an ultrafeminine mood, but they’re also a chic counterpoint to the strong-shouldered tailoring seen all over the collections. Beaufille’s elegant addition of pearl pins and pendants on a mannish, gently cut jacket, for instance, was just the right dose of divine.

ippolita nova cluster pearl necklace1 / Nova cluster pendant necklace in 18k gold; $3,995; Ippolita;;

samira 13 pearl drops2 / Sliced double diamond encrusted South Sea pearl drops in 18k yellow gold with Tahitian and Australian pearls; $4,800; Samira 13; 310-652-1313;

eden presley pearl S ring3 / Pearl S ring with spinel, labradorite, and 0.52 ct. t.w. diamonds in 14k yellow gold; $2,000; Eden Presley;;

mizuki gold wire pearl bangle4 / Double Fluid gold baroque white freshwater pearl cuff; $2,195; Mizuki;;

anissa kermiche pearl diamond ear cuff5 / Double pavé ear cuff in 14k yellow gold with white pearl, gray diamonds, and white sapphire; £1,000 ($1,417); Anissa Kermiche;;

(Dolce & Gabbana: Catwalking/Getty; Marco de Vincenzo, Balenciaga, Erdem: Victor Virgile/Gamma-Rapho via Getty (3); McQueen: Kristy Sparow/Getty)

Log Out

Are you sure you want to log out?

CancelLog out