Spring ’15 Fashion Week: Minimal & Modern

Let me entertain you, let me make you smile…

That lyric from the classic ­musical Gypsy makes for a pretty apt battle cry for the spring 2015 collections in New York. It was one spectacle after another—and we don’t mean the clothes. Ralph Lauren had models “walking” on water in his 4D Polo Ralph Lauren show in Central Park. Gareth Pugh went multi-media with video, modern dancers, and an indoor tornado. There was Opening Ceremony’s one-act play–as–fashion presentation, penned by Spike Jonze and Jonah Hill and starring an impressive Hollywood contingent—Catherine Keener and Elle Fanning, among them.

As far as jewelry, the loudest noise was how tech infiltrated the proceedings. At Opening Ceremony, past the meta monologues and quick-witted barbs (and Fanning fabulously belting it out), you could spot the line’s new MICA (My Intelligent Communication Accessory) bracelets on the models. Rebecca Minkoff debuted her own wearable tech pieces; over at Rodarte and Diesel Black Gold, the girls wore ones by Motorola and Samsung, respectively. Then, of course, there was the big unveiling of Apple’s smartwatch mid–fashion week.

Watches In Bloom

Whether it was kismet or savvy marketing, timepieces aplenty popped up during the shows, seen variously at Coach, Tome, Jonathan Simkhai, Kate Spade, and Ralph Lauren. “It’s cool to wear a watch again,” says Roseanne Morrison, fashion director at the Doneger Group. As Amanda Gizzi, director of public relations at Jewelers of America, remarks, with the spotlight on smartwatches, there’s momentum behind watches in general. Plus, they tap into the continuing athletic trend.

Florals were another holdover trend. This season, however, we saw more bold and dramatic blooms, and the jewelry followed suit, most beautifully with Tome’s elegant metal collars—in collaboration with Lizzie Fortunato—with fresh orchids in the back.

Pastels & Patterns

Giovanni Giannoni/Conde Nast
Keeping it clean at Jason Wu

Prints and patterns were large-scale and graphic all around—big checks, wide stripes, strong ­geometrics—perhaps an inevitable trend in this Instagram age. Other messages included neutrals and army greens, light pastels (“Soft colors look fresh now,” ­Morrison says), and a mix-it-up blocking approach that’s less Mondrian and more collaging. Those looking to extend the trend to jewelry can follow the lead of Ohne Titel’s Alexa Adams and Flora Gill, who styled models with stacks of bracelets in different hues and materials. The playful color combinations throughout—e.g., Derek Lam’s bright teal jacket with merlot pants—is a cue for jewelers to experiment. “Mixing gemstones will be a big trend for 2015,” Gizzi predicts.

On the Fringe

We saw a major push for craftwork (fringe, crochet), plus a sister trend in African influences. According to Melissa Geiser, fine jewelry buyer at Stanley Korshak, this includes fringe elements, layering, and ­materials like horn and wood “to make a natural statement with all the crochet.” Beaded necklaces (Rag & Bone), charms (Rodarte), and raw stones such as quartz and agate (Narciso Rodriguez) are relevant here, too.

Subtle Silhouettes

Yet in a season marked by a let’s-put-on-a-show attitude, the biggest trend was actually the quietest. Designers loosened up the silhouette, opting for softness and slouch. It’s a look that converged with another popular refrain: straightforward American sportswear, all ease and fluid lines, with a glance to the ’70s, the It decade of spring 2015 so far. Think ­Lauren Hutton nonchalant chic, not hippie-heavy bohemian (one Tommy Hilfiger show notwithstanding).

The jewelry response? “More subtlety,” says Gizzi, “lighter chains, less chunky.… Nothing is too overly formed.” Geiser adds that the trend calls for more minimal and modern pieces. Just look to Jason Wu’s runway, which featured clean metal bangles and collar necklaces. (The prevailing shape across the catwalks, actually, was that simple circular swipe—from collar necklaces and hoop earrings.)

Still, even in a season where baubles take a backseat—it’s about more intimate, everyday pieces—there were happy moments for the sparkle lovers. Case in point: Ralph Lauren, who had colorful jewels exuberantly spilling down (and embroidered on) tops.

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