What A Gem: NYFW Jewelry Trends

While Fashion Week coverage tends to focus on the clothes, there’s always lots of great jewelry being previewed – and that’s certainly the case for Fall 2012. Overall, elements of nature snaked their way through statement-making pieces, fusing with precious metals in new-to-the-world ways.

[THE NATURAL ORDER]

Take Dezso by Sara Beltran, for instance (“dezso” is Latin for “desire”). The Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation-winning designer made her NYFW debut this season, showcasing a surf-inspired collection she called “Open Water” – a riff on the “Mex-India” mix that defines her haute hippie jewelry. Besides blending semi-precious stones (sourced in Jaipur then carved into the beachy shapes – shark’s teeth, shells, fins – prevalent in her native Mexico), she also utilizes Gorgonian coral, fossilized shark teeth, polki diamonds, opals, and “Flamingo Fluorescent” woven elements in the collection. Fittingly, she displayed her pieces on models wearing molded black wetsuits who lounged amid pieces of driftwood.

M.PATMOS has been designing clothing for many years now, but for Fall she collaborated with jewelers tenthousandthings on a series of gorgeous, one-of-a-kind pieces crafted from 300-year-old pine salvaged from a demolished warehouse in Brooklyn (in keeping with the designer’s eco-friendly leanings). The wood was treated as a gem and set in fine silver and enamel in the jewelers’ 14th Street studio.

[ROCK CANDY]

Melissa Joy Manning drew inspiration from nature in bold pieces fashioned from magnetite crystal, sapphires, laguna agate, fossil bamboo, boulder opal, antler tip, druzy agate, herkimer diamonds, coral resin, and baroque pearls, among other things. Her design philosophy? “Mixing and matching elements to try to capture the depth and diversity of our natural environment.”

Irene Neuwirth launched her diamond collection last year, and debuted her offerings for Fall – which boast rose-cut diamonds set against stones such as opals, sapphires, chrysophase, and Rose of France – at the CIRCA lounge in Lincoln Center.

Erickson Beamon debuted a collection inspired by 1920s and ’30s burlesque in Berlin via a “Deca-Dance” performance by The Citizens Band, with crystal brooches crafted from Swarovski Elements, chunky stone necklaces, bejeweled crystal bibs, and a glittering blue halter that bridges the clothing/jewelry divide.

Juan Carlos Obando also showed some unique jewelry with his clothing collection in the form of bright crystal necklaces encased in knotted black netting.

[HEAVY METAL]

Pamela Love found inspiration in the Art Deco and industrial elements of the 1920s Jazz Age, the result being a streamlined, sophisticated collection of geometric silver bracelets and bib necklaces, double-finger rings with triangular turquoise bolts, and bold brass collars worn by metalsmith models in leather aprons and overalls who smoldered for the camera while standing among vintage industrial fans and light fixtures.

Anndra Neen designers Phoebe and Annette Stephens displayed their treasures (hand-hammered silver collars, triple-ring chokers, bold gold cuffs, and gorgeous metal clutch bags inspired by the imperfect geometry of nature) on whimsical paper sculptures by Matthew Sporzynski and silhouetted fashion illustrations by Linda Chamberlain.

Skaist-Taylor designers Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor accessorized their collection of “California eccentric” styles with organic gold-tone rings that span several digits.

Brandon Sun offset his tough-luxe looks with silver hair rings and dramatic dagger ear cuffs designed in collaboration with Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spas and Castro NYC, respectively.

[DUAL FUNCTION]

In keeping with the season’s More is More edict, Ralph Lauren closed Fashion Week with a Downton Abbey-inspired outing that featured glittering crystal-and-chain earrings and collars, a simple black sweater trimmed with colored stones and painted gold feathers, and a gold beaded evening cardigan that did double duty as both clothing and jewelry. Now that’s what I call recessionary chic!

Lauren David Peden writes for Rue La La as a Contributing Editor.

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February 22, 2012