Legends of the Fall

Surrender to your animal (print) instincts. Color your world with honeysuckle and ­marigold. JCK helps you dress—and ­accessorize!—For autumn.

Ah, fall. The season when we shed summer’s lights and brights and go back to work, back to school, and back to the covered-up, darker-toned ensembles more appropriate for a boardroom than a barbecue. Or is it? If the looks seen at the Fall 2011 Ready-to-Wear collections are any indication, we may be in for a few surprises. The biggest trends: vivid color, the return of sophisticated dressing, minimalism, animal prints, and architectural silhouettes. Here’s how they’ll all affect jewelry trends next season.


Don’t be so quick to put away brightly colored pieces once the temperature starts dropping: Bold fuschias, cobalts, purples, and marigolds—as seen at Carolina Herrera, Alberta Ferretti, Lanvin, and Victoria Beckham—will liven up fall’s typically subtle palette when it comes to clothing. “Honeysuckle, a beautiful pink, appears in the spring, summer, and fall collections, which is one of the biggest surprises,” says Pantone color expert Leatrice Eiseman, who surveys designers on the shades they’ll be showing each season. “It’s a really uplifting color, and what’s interesting for fall is that you’re going to see bright colors like that mixed with browns and tans and neutrals. It’s a delicious combination that we don’t normally see.” She also expects purple and bamboo (a dark yellow with a slight green undertone) to be strong. “Everyone’s discovered purple in the last few years, and you’ll continue to see orchids—not so much lavender, but some deeper purple shades. Bamboo is a really interesting color; it’s not a color you often see for fall, but it has a certain edge to it and has gained momentum.”

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
Lanvin’s dress added a pop of color  to the Paris runways during fashion week earlier this year From top: Zebu horn cuff with rose gold, steel, silver, tourmaline quartz and rose-cut diamond, $9,750, white zebu horn cuff with antique cufflink buckle in rose gold and silver, $6,600, carved horn cuff with rose gold, rose-cut and antique-cut diamond, and silver, $10,700; Federica Rettore, Milan; 917-553-5360; federicarettore.com


Which can mean one of two things for jewelry: Customers will either want equally vivid pieces to go with the clothing, or they will choose more understated accessories that won’t compete. Eiseman believes that making a color statement will win out. “No one really wants to do practical in jewelry,” she says. “If there’s any place that’s pretty or theatrical or dramatic, it’s definitely with jewels. I don’t think there’s any question that there’ll be a surge in colored stones and statement pieces. I think we’re all at a point where we want to be optimistic about the future, and color is a wonderful way to express it.”

Modern Sophisticate

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For fall’s MODERN SOPHISTICATE (as embodied by Celine at Paris fashion week), matchy-matchy isn’t such a bad thing. The style calls for jewelry that is pretty, ladylike, and perfectly paired, says Melissa Geiser, fine jewelry buyer at Stanley Korshak in Dallas.
Hammered links bracelet in 14k rose gold; $4,370; Arik Kastan, Tel Aviv, Israel; tamar@arikkastan.com Rose-cut diamond and sapphire earrings in 14k rose gold; $2,255; Arik Kastan, Tel Aviv, Israel; tamar@arikkastan.com

The exuberance of the color palette for fall is tempered by another strong trend: the return of elegant, ladylike dressing. “At long last, fashion is grown-up again,” says David Wolfe, creative director of the Doneger Group, a trend forecasting firm. “Sophistication is replacing the desperate search for ever-young style.”

This translates to longer hemlines, cinched-in waists, and tops and jackets that tell more than they show. Jason Wu showcased black-and-white floral dresses that hit the knee, as well as elegant tuxedo-inspired ensembles, also in black and white. Marc Jacobs’ interpretation included fitted knee-length latex dresses (that indeed looked elegant, despite the material), as well as equally tight red lace dresses accessorized with demure gloves and dotted stockings. And Louis Vuitton continued the sexy secretary theme with buttoned-up tweed jackets, dainty long-sleeved print dresses, and puff-sleeved tops tucked into skirts that covered the knee. At Celine, the models wore their sophistication across their shoulders in lengthy fur stoles.

The perfect accompaniment to these ensembles? Melissa Geiser, fine jewelry buyer at Stanley Korshak in Dallas, says it’s all about sets. “You’re going to want the necklace to match the earring. It can be anything from really classic, where you have a diamond earring and diamond necklace, to something a little less common like ivory.” While the look would seem the perfect fit with pearls, that’s not necessarily the case, notes Geiser. “I absolutely adore pearls, but they have continued to be harder to sell,” she says. “But they could come back in a not-so-conservative way—maybe beautiful pearl necklaces and earrings with a twist.”

The ladylike look also signals a return to overtly pretty pieces, which Geiser feels have been missing in jewelry for some time. “Loree Rodkin, for example, has always been extremely Gothic,” says Geiser. “And her new collection is all lace—black gold with either grey or white diamonds. I see that as just being awesome—it’s a softening of her collection, and I’ve seen it with other designers as well.”


Karl Prouse/Getty Images
MINIMAL doesn’t have to mean jewelry-free. Giorgio Armani’s fall 2011 suit could use a touch of sparkle—a sleek metallic surface peppered with just a hint of diamonds.
Cut Out Bar pendants in 18k red gold on 18k white gold chains; $3,800; Alexandra Jefford, London; alexandrajefford.com Platinum necklace with diamonds; price on request; IsabelleFa, Pforzheim, Germany; 49-7232-38-1660; isabellefa.de

While pared-down silhouettes have been hot for a few seasons now, their popularity shows no signs of fading. “Cleaned-up design and a modernization of minimalism is an important design direction,” Wolfe says. “Black still prevails but is looking kind of tired.” Indeed, there was certainly no shortage of black—particularly at Giorgio Armani and Chanel—as well as moody neutrals like taupe and mushroom.

Other shows that embraced the minimalist look include Calvin Klein Collection, which featured understated suits, knee-length shifts, and clean jackets in grey, black, white, and tan. Halston went in a more colorful direction, showing uncomplicated pieces in purple and seafoam. “Simpler shapes form a perfect backdrop to statement accessories,” says Wolfe. Adds Adelaide Polk-Bauman of the Diamond Information Center: “Chandelier earrings or a diamond bracelet encourages multiple focal points” in a simple look.

Or consumers can take a different tack, choosing small jewelry that can be layered to accent simpler clothing. “Minimalist for me means tiny, small earrings and minimal necklaces with just a teeny diamond center and a chain,” says Geiser. “Small pieces continue to sell well. It’s easy, sexy, and you can layer several pieces together. It’s the piece of jewelry you reach for every day, and it usually has a lower price point as well.”

Animal Prints

Karl Prouse/Getty Images
Dolce & Gabbana’s sexy ANIMAL-PRINT dress at Milan Fashion Week in February; Bobcat Claw diamond pavé necklace in 14k gold on 18-inch chain; $1,975; Elisabeth Bell, Los Angeles; 917-324-9383; elisabethbelljewelry.com
Fossilized woolly mammoth bangles with hand-carved scrimshaw designs and conflict-and devastation-free diamonds; $3,610–$4,490; Monique Péan, New York City; 646-370-5409; moniquepean.com

Designers are heeding the call of the wild, sending zebra, python, and leopard prints down the runways in boldly patterned dresses, jackets, vests, and tops. Dolce & Gabbana, no stranger to the trend, continued to embrace it in the form of curve-hugging, knee-length dresses in tiger and cheetah prints, while Christian Dior’s interpretation featured a loose tunic in a pink python print.

“The animal kingdom continues as an inspirational source, with lots of leather, still more leopard, and a new focus on serpent skins,” Wolfe says. He predicts colored python skins will figure heavily in fall accessory and jewelry trends as well. Still, animal-print clothing and animal-print accessories are a bit much, so Geiser foresees an upswing in sales of jewelry with a natural feel. “This means pieces in horn and wood and ivory, both expensive and inexpensive,” she says, adding that many items in this category can fall in the under-$200 range. “These are simpler pieces that pair well with animal prints.”


Victor Virgile/Getty Images
ARCHITECTURAL style at Alexander McQueen during Paris Fashion Week; Emily Meredith earrings in 14k black rhodium with 2.04 cts. t.w. black diamonds; $3,080; Dana Rebecca, Chicago; 312-701-1773; danarebeccadesigns.com
Sementes ring in 18k white gold with 0.77 ct. t.w. diamonds; $10,970; Antonio Bernardo, Rio de Janeiro, 55-21-2540-7470; antoniobernardo.com

It’s no surprise that drama loving-designers like Marchesa and Alexander McQueen showed architectural shapes and strong lines. What’s surprising is that so many others did it as well: Michael Kors (with a floor-length draped pantsuit), Lanvin (with dramatically voluminous separates), and Carolina Herrera (in the form of a ­brocade ombre evening gown). “Architectural cuts and dramatic draping recall the golden age of haute couture,” says Wolfe.

So how will this translate to retailers? “It’s best to go bold with this look,” advises Polk-Bauman. “For example, wear an oversize ring or diamond pavé cocktail ring to offset a dramatic slit skirt on the left.” Adds Geiger: “You’ll see cleaner lines and a little more of a resurgence in the white gold arena,” she says, noting the departure from the dominance of yellow-gold jewelry in the past few seasons. “The Brazilian designers do it best when they do very architectural, very modern pieces. And it’s nice to have a shiny white gold come back.”

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