Wednesday, November 24, 2010

In Costume

If asked to define my style I'd love to lie and say I'm eclectic and daring but it's actually more conservative casual... tops in block color and lots of black in plain shapes and usually with jeans. However, the one aspect of my style that is verging on eclectic and often speaks louder than my clothes is my jewelry. 

While many say less is more and Coco Chanel herself said that you should always take off one accessory before leaving the house... I live the with the opposite mantra... more more more! Excess, not less. I feel as though a simple outfit and a piece of statement jewelry is an exceptionally powerful look. I love big pieces of jewelry... Costume jewelry, and that's what we're attacking today.
Urchin Cuff - Alexander McQueen Spring 2010. What's a blog post without a dash of McQueen eh?
My take on costume jewelry... I designed this for my senior prom to go with an exceptionally bright dress but it functions well with just a plain black one too.
To begin, I need to clarify what costume jewelry implies... it is fashion jewelry that is not meant to be classic and is intended for a specific outfit. It is meant to only be in style for a short period of time and is a reflection of the trends of the time. Below are some examples of Art Nouveau (turn of the 20th Century), Retro  (roughly 1930s - 50s) and Art Deco (roughly 1920s - 1930s) Jewelry. Dates and info from Wikipedia.
- Pictures courtesy of
Fairly tacky, but completely eclectic and original.

Coco Chanel was one of the pioneers of Costume jewelry in the fashion world and Karl Lagerfeld continues this legacy with relish today at Chanel. Here's a look at the Spring 2011 collection:

It's one of my favorite collections of the next season... more on that another time.

Burn after reading? No way, after reading I relegate all my magazines to a drawer to await their meeting with mes ciseaux et ma colle. So one day, when perusing an old Harper's Bazaar I came across a teeny article with huge impact. 
All about Dior's 2009 partnership with Camille Miceli, a young but very established jewelry designer.Well well, I did alittle digging and found some of the pieces...

This necklace twinkles at me and seems to be in constant motion, as though the links are spilling out. And just in case you or anyone else forgot who you were wearing, there are nice little C  D's to remind you. Christian Dior, je t'aime... and of course John Galliano. Duh.

You can never go wrong with pearls; with the chaotic, overly large chain links and the different strands of fabric, they inject a sense of order and class. I tend to use alot of pearls in my jewelry because they mix exceptionally well with any style bead. My supplier happens to be my dad, who buys me huge strands from a nearby market in Saudi Arabia. There are so many great shapes and colors to play with: seed, black, freshwater, pink, flattened, oval, round. It's one of my favorite things to scoop a handful and let them spill through my fingers.

I haven't made the jump into metal crafted jewelry and these pieces make me wish I have. Give me a welding gun and the tools to mint my own shapes and we'd really be in trouble. It's a spectacular collection of standout pieces that could take an LBD from casual day, to classy night while still maintaining a rough, hip and youthful edge. 
- Images from

In a several month old Grazia I found another article about a brand and jewelry designer collaboration. 

J-Crew and Fenton Fallon came together earlier this year to bring us a 'punk-meets-polish' collection that women everywhere should get their hands on:
Again we're seeing the mix of peal and chain. The delicate dangling chains are tipped off with pointed arrowheads... possibly a take on the modern work woman as a warrior, I do not know. All I know is that it's edgy.
This is the most expensive necklace in the collection at the moment with a retail price of $295. Again, there's a ladylike twist to the rope of chain, with some silk ribbon and diamante centerpiece. I get a very Art Deco vibe from this one, check back upstairs and I think you'll agree.
Don't mess... agreed. Again, some more Art Deco and studs. This woman is like Wall-street meets Mad Men meets Hells Angel.
- Images from J Crew website.

Often designers reserve costume jewelry for their websites or Couture Shows as the extravagance tends to detract from collections, but one of my favorite women's-wear brands, who never fails to create sensational clothes, Lanvin, has made consistently beautiful jewelry for the past three seasons. Each has had a strong motif that has me salivating to the point where I need to get wellies.

Spring Summer 2010 

I get an Eastern tribal vibe: serpents and dragons which lend a Chinese zodiac calendar vibe, an abundance of different semi-precious stones which lend a Silk-road-on-the-way-to-Europe-riches aura and an eclecticism that ties it all together. My favorite aspects have to be the twisting serpents spilling around the models necks and coming out of the regular necklace plan as though trying to bite anyone who dares get near these Amazons. I see turquoise, amber, onyx, enamel, lapis... all colors that I associate with the Middle and Far East.

Fall Winter 2010

This is a different tribal that the previous, here I'm being summoned to the plains of Africa and the jungles of the Amazon, the complete opposite direction from Spring. With an emphasis on wood, metal and crystal there is a rawness that is grounded in the mostly earthy tones of the collection. Also I like the circle within a square imagery... simple shapes reinforce this desert tribes vibe to me. Shuffle in some feathers, a dash of fringe, fur and claws and you're laughing.

Spring Summer 2011
The first word I though of was: Revivalism... not sure why I needed the -ism at the end of that (Probably because I'm studying for an slide test, but other than that)? Let's see, I spot moths, butterflies, leaves and florals, you can't get enough of a good thing. So let me explain my bizarre word choice: I think of butterflies as being born twice... first you're a little caterpillar and then you decide to become a bit of a hermit and construct yourself a cocoon and after a certain length of time, voila back to reality, newly reinvented as a beautiful butterfly. So yeah, I think this speaks about the clothes alittle as well because they are meant to be worn by women of all ages and the ribbing you see is meant to lend itself towards wrinkles. On the jewelry front it's all art deco/ bejeweled... hard and soft at the same time.   

I liked the animal vibe of Lanvin and then I saw Prosenza Schouler Spring 2011 collection I had a bit of a heart murmur moment. 

I bloody love the retro owl and semi-precious stone combination. The entire collection is a turning point for them, but these necklaces are what drew me to it. 

So I've brought up that I make jewelry pretty often and since this is my jewelry themed post I decided to show some the the pieces I am most proud of... so enjoy and I'd love to know what people think.
Turquoise, pearl and coral
I just noticed the leaf pendant in Lanvin's necklace and mine...
These are some of my favorite pearls... I don't know how they got this way, but I'm glad they are what they are: pearl, garnet and silver.

Definitely my favorite bracelet to make of all time. I love amassing all the different colors and putting them together.

- Life is good

Listening to: 'Cooler Than Me' - Mike Posner
Observations: Glee episode was one of the best I've seen... probably ever
Craving: No more sore throat

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