If the ensembles that sashayed down the runways during New York Fashion Week (Feb. 9–16) are any indication, fashionistas will be living the luxe life come Fall 2011. Buttery leathers, plush furs, and exquisite lace popped up everywhere, from the cool-girl chic of The Row to the sexiness of Michael Kors to the uptown elegance of Carolina Herrera.
“Bold shoulder pieces in the way of fur, capes, and wraps were on the runways,” says Diamond Information Center trend watcher Adelaide Polk-Bauman. “Balance [them] with bangles and diamond right-hand rings—jewelry that declares a sense of feminine power and yet remains classic.”
In contrast to last season’s cool minimalism and mostly understated color palette, many of the fall collections—including Diane von Furstenberg, Thakoon, and Victoria Beckham—featured dramatic silhouettes and jolts of vivid color: cobalt blues, bright oranges, and a parade of jewel tones in amethyst, emerald, and ruby. Retailers predict this vibe will be echoed in jewelry as well. “We are expecting more bold pieces in green and lavender jade and blue topaz designs,” says Pinny Gniwisch, executive vice president of business development and communications for Ice.com and Diamond.com. Adds Polk-Bauman: “Accents with sparkle, like a diamond line bracelet or a geometric-shaped cuff,” support the colorful clothes.
Another big trend? Pearls, which were spotted at Badgley Mischka and, especially, Donna Karan. She not only named her latest collection “Pearls of Wisdom,” but also enlisted jewelry designer Erickson Beamon to create the pearl necklaces that accompanied every outfit she sent down the runway. The spherical motif continued at Marc Jacobs, who featured polka dots in various forms throughout his body-conscious collection, and even accessorized one of the looks with a choker consisting of oversize round beads.
Ladylike pieces dominated, with pencil skirts, nipped-in waists, and longer hemlines displayed by up-and-coming (Altuzarra) and veteran (Oscar de la Renta) designers alike. One of the recurring themes was lace, which was spotted at Alexander Wang, Prabal Gurung, Marchesa, and Jason Wu, among others. So does this mean that delicate jewelry will be more popular in the coming months? Not necessarily: Hollywood favorite Badgley Mischka accented its red-carpet–ready ensembles with chunky chokers, drop earrings, and multi-strand beaded necklaces.
“We’ll see the merging of classic staples with bold statements over the coming months,” says Polk-Bauman. “Oversize rings, giant diamond studs, and heavy cuffs and bracelets have been big for awards season.” And don’t overlook the classics, she adds: “This year they are an even smarter pick. Studs, tennis bracelets, colorless stones always weather fleeting fashion trends.”