How Beyoncé, Leandra Medine & Other Style Queens Got Their Crowns

In need of some jewelry inspiration? Look to these four enviably accessorized women: Beyoncé, Leandra Medine, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Tracee Ellis Ross.

 

There’s no shortage of stylish women in the public eye. From Kate Middleton to Kate Moss, Emma Stone to Emma Watson, fashion ­superstars abound. But only a handful of these fashion plates wear their jewelry with the same élan they show when choosing their clothes.

All four of the famous (and fabulous) women described in the following pages are die-hard jewelry lovers who opt for bold or trendsetting looks with regularity. These style savants innately know what jewelry suits them, and how to curate and layer pieces for looks that are exciting and unforgettable.

We hope their authentically cool style (and styling ingenuity) will inspire you to introduce your clients to fresh new jewels and innovative ways to wear them.

 

beyonce

Beyoncé

They were the earrings of the evening, and perhaps even the season.

Beyoncé Knowles Carter entered the 2018 Grammy Awards clad in a wide-brimmed black hat, a black velvet gown with cut-outs, and those earrings: diamond-shape, bling-studded white gold slices that descended well past her bare shoulders.

The razor-sharp look, and the earrings themselves—by Bey’s red-carpet steady, New York City–based jeweler Lorraine Schwartz—became instantly iconic, part of the meticulously styled narrative about one of the world’s biggest pop stars.

Of course, when it comes to Beyoncé, ­momentous jewelry moments abound.

The singer is an enthusiastic and experimental jewelry buyer, wearer, and stylist. Her wardrobe is rich in trendy mainstream styles, street- and African-inspired pieces, and high-glam custom jewels that complement her love of edgy, body-hugging fashion.

She wears looks from big designers—Schwartz is a clear favorite for the red carpet—but also frequently buys and pulls from more underground labels for performances and in her personal life. A trio of small jewelry brands—Maya Jewelry, Ariana Boussard-Reifel, and House of Malakai—was entirely responsible for the massive trove of gold jewelry Beyoncé wore during her incredible performance (while profoundly pregnant) at the 2017 Grammy Awards.

Bey’s appreciation for jewelry is also evident in her street style. “A lot of times she will ­repeat the same jewelry with different outfits—that’s how you can tell she really loves her pieces and has an attachment to them,” notes jewelry designer Kristin Essel, cofounder of New York City–based boutique brand Third Crown. (Beyoncé often wears a bold gold cuff, among other pieces, from the brand.)

The singer likes to dress up and to play a role in pushing trends forward. Recent posts on her Instagram show the star in very baggy deconstructed jeans tucked into white Gucci stiletto boots, her neck draped with multiple gold necklaces strung with religious pendants and crosses. 

But no matter how many jewels and accessories she packs into an ensemble, Beyoncé’s style always feels polished and pulled together. Hers is an aesthetic jewelry retailers can point to when clients want to wear an oversize earring or necklace, but still want to look elegant and feminine.

For Queen Bey, it’s safe to assume that if the bauble’s not dramatic, she’s not interested. “She always wears very bold jewelry pieces that match her confidence level,” Essel says. “And that’s why she always stands out.”

 

leandra medine

Leandra Medine

In any given Instagram photo, fashion blogger, author, and media mogul Leandra Medine wears three to seven pieces of jewelry. No joke.

If volume were the sole measurement, the chic founder of well-read fashion website Man Repeller would be the clear heiress apparent to the ultimate pile-it-on jewelry eccentric, Iris Apfel, the nonagenarian tastemaker whose book on style, Iris Apfel: Accidental Icon, hit shelves in March.

And like Apfel, Medine—who is credited with coining the now-­ubiquitous industry-wide phrase arm party—has a healthy sense of humor when it comes to style, along with a self-deprecating streak that endears her to readers of all ages.

On a below-freezing day in February, for example, she posted a picture of herself covered completely in bulky knitwear and thermal underwear (save her eyes and nose, which comically popped out of a hole in a ski mask). The story teaser in the caption was pure Man Repeller—smart, but also smart-aleck: “Comprehensive list of myths about ‘chic’ winter dressing.”

Another post, on her personal Instagram feed, showed Medine holding an earring hinged to a small red lobster. The caption told readers that she had accidentally grabbed the lobster instead of her keys that morning, “so I did what anyone would do, clipped it into my ear and waited for someone who lived in my building to get or leave home.”

Jewelry is a family passion for Medine. Her father, Mois, is the CEO and founder of the alexandrite-filled Mark Henry collection. Her mom, Laura Medine, has her own namesake fine jewelry line. And her brother Haim is the founder and designer behind the supremely stackable (and Instagrammable) Khai Khai collection. And though she gravitates to offbeat designs, the blogger mixes trendy fine pieces from brands such as Retrouvaí and Solange Azagury-Partridge with classic styles (she wore Elsa Peretti’s Bone cuff for months), costume jewelry, and demi-fine looks.

She’s long been devoted to designer Roxanne Assoulin’s rainbow-hued enamel bracelets. And Retrouvaí’s cult-favorite Compass ring has also played a starring role on her hand recently, to the delight of brand founder and designer Kirsty Stone. “What I love about Leandra’s jewelry style is that it’s completely authentic and there are no rules,” Stone says. “She’s mixing classic high jewelry with costume, then mixing and matching with pieces from newer independent designers.” 

That mash-up of high and low, incorporating plenty of color, feels fresh and young. Jewelry retailers can namecheck the influencer (and earn a few points for being in the know in the process) when helping clients learn how to layer jewelry pieces in fashion-forward ways.

“Leandra is a brilliant woman and an honest person,” says Assoulin, whose son has been friends with the blogger since high school. “She’s really an experimenter, and she’s an original. And she’s always had an opinion, and it’s always been her own. If she says she likes it, she likes it—and she’ll wear it.”

 

sarah jessica parker

Sarah Jessica Parker

Sarah Jessica Parker has played numerous roles since inhabiting Carrie Bradshaw, her much-loved Sex and the City character. Still, the actress’ status as a fashion icon is inextricably linked to Bradshaw, who—thanks to the wardrobe wizardry of costume designer Patricia Field—is arguably the most stylish protagonist ever to grace the small screen.

But Parker’s personal style, both before and after Sex and the City, stands on its own. While Carrie’s fashion was exuberant and unpredictable, SJP’s style exudes a ­sophisticated confidence, and a love of both classic and experimental design.

“Sarah Jessica Parker’s style in general sets her apart from other celebrities,” says jewelry designer Andrea Fohrman, whose jewelry Parker has worn on multiple occasions. “She stays classic and also [goes for] a bit of the unexpected pop that I love. If you look at her fashion moments throughout the years, you can see how she has been very strategic in how she chooses her jewelry.”

Recent memorable looks include the diamond cluster Fred Leighton earrings she wore to the New York City Ballet’s 2017 fall gala event; an asymmetrical draped necklace glittering with purple and gold stones for a press call for her current series, HBO’s Divorce; and a long chain necklace anchoring a big black-and-white cameo pendant from Russia’s Axenoff Jewellery for the Moscow launch of her latest perfume, Stash. Celebrities’ true personal style, however, is revealed in their casual ensembles. And it’s when Parker’s wearing denim, cashmere, and so forth that her good taste in jewelry and talent for creative styling really shine.

At a March event at the SAG-AFTRA Foundation for Divorce, for example, Parker accessorized jeans and a ­sweater with a tasseled gold bracelet on one arm, and Assoulin’s Hip-Hop But Not bracelet, which features spikes of Swarovski crystal set in round white enamel, layered with a simple white metal cuff. The Assoulin bracelet is a look on its own, but through artful mixing and matching, Parker wore it with the ease of a minimalist wristwatch.

Parker’s look is one jewelers can invoke when chatting with customers about the advantages of building a wardrobe of fine ­jewelry basics—diamond studs, simple hoops, and the like—on top of which they can layer fun and trendy looks to add oomph to their style.

British jewelry designer Kat Florence, who collaborated with Parker on a fine jewelry collection in 2016, says part of the actress’ sartorial savvy stems from knowing exactly what she wants. “She understands herself and how she wants to be seen,” says Florence, who considers Parker a playful risk-taker. “And I believe when you know what you want, you are quick to visualize the shape and feel of things.”

 

tracee ellis ross

Tracee Ellis Ross

“I like that Tracee can rock a huge statement jewelry piece, and it doesn’t look like the piece is wearing her,” says jewelry designer Irene Neuwirth when discussing the rapid ascent of actress Tracee Ellis Ross as a full-fledged style icon.

Neuwirth has collaborated with the celeb—and her A-list stylist, Karla Welch—on a few memorable red-­carpet pieces, including those drop-dead gorgeous pearl and gold-disc earrings the actress so expertly wore to the 2018 Golden Globe Awards (paired with a regal black head wrap from Marc Jacobs).

“I love how strong and bold and beautiful she always looks,” adds Neuwirth. Indeed. Ross shot to fame as the costar of the ABC sitcom black-ish. Her intelligence, killer comedy chops, and social activism (for women’s rights, gun control, and racial equality) have made her a go-to for hosting gigs in Hollywood (the actress was a guest host on Jimmy Kimmel Live! for an entire week last year).

Along the way, she’s worn some pretty spectacular jewelry.

Some of her most fabulous jewelry moments from the past year include the yellow gold Nikos Koulis drop earrings she paired with her black-and-silver Balmain gown at the 2018 Academy Awards; Jennifer Fisher’s signature hoops and more sculptural geo-hoops, which she wears frequently; custom Lorraine Schwartz ruby drop earrings, which she donned for the Screen Actors Guild Awards; and Rona Pfeiffer’s Mayan pavé diamond necklace—a striking, fringe-heavy piece that blanketed her ­clavicles while she hosted 2017’s American Music Awards.

Despite her daring when it comes to jewelry, there’s a classic sophistication at the core of all her selections—which makes the 45-year-old Ross the perfect celeb to name-drop for jewelers with older clients who may need that extra nudge to try an out-of-the-box style. The lesson to impart: Big and bold styles aren’t solely for 20-somethings.

Pfeiffer calls Ross “a risk-taker, which in turn makes her a fashion icon,” and adds, “Tracee radiates strength and confidence through her fashion choices.”

Both Pfeiffer and Neuwirth agree that the celeb’s personal bravery, smarts, and authenticity clear the path for her to wear bold and/or unusual pieces without worrying about disappearing behind an avant-garde design.

“She doesn’t want the safe route, and she’s always making a statement and enjoying it,” Neuwirth says. “To me, that’s true confidence.”

(Beyoncé: John Lamparski/WireImage; Medine: Joshua Jordan/Trunk; Ross: Brian Bowen Smith/August)

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