December 24, 2008

Fit for a Fête

New Year’s Eve is next week and if you are hitting the party circuit, now is the time to break out the sparkly bijoux. Please proceed with caution though: major jewels require fuss-free ensembles.

A soirée is the perfect occasion to break out a “wow” statement necklace. Go for big colored stones to accent a simple dress or top. Lee Angel makes great options in all price ranges and this teardrop necklace ($98) is a smart pick.

A pair of long, dangly earrings is another great way to dress up your party frock. I also think it’s a very fresh approach since many women tend to levitate towards neckwear. Alexis Bittar, one of my favorite jewelry designers, works magic with his signature Lucite and creates these gorgeous "Channing" hoops ($170).

If you prefer to wear arm candy, this Juicy Couture diamanté cuff ($250) is glamorous and versatile. It is a stunner on its own so a pair of diamond studs is the only other accessory you need.
If your outfit is too busy for a necklace or earrings, a bold ring just may be the right complement. This Kenneth Jay Lane ring ($150) will easily match any look you have in mind.

Here’s to a bright 2009!

December 15, 2008

History Repeats Itself

Costume jewelry originated during one of my favorite periods, the Art Deco movement of the 1920s. Flappers, prohibition, and jazz, oh my. Fake jewelry was produced to complete a specific outfit, or “costume.” Its sole purpose was to be fashionable and disposable, and was thus mass-produced.

The first couture designer to embrace costume jewelry was the great Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel who paired long strands of rhinestones and pearls with her little black dresses – a look still very much relevant today.

The Great Depression only furthered the popularity of imitation jewelry, which gave off an air of wealth and prosperity. In the years surrounding the World Wars, jewelry was produced with domestic supplies. Glass, plastic, and Lucite were common, and stones previously imported from Europe were no longer used.

The rise of the Hollywood screen siren in the '40s and '50s also created a demand for costume jewelry. Everything was colorful and exaggerated. The allure of glamour was irresistible.

So what is the takeaway lesson in this? Fashion and costume jewelry reflect the times. And if the current economic situation can be any indication, then costume jewelry is back in a big way.

December 13, 2008

Welcome to My Jewelry Box

I have a confession. For months, I have been harvesting an obsession with statement jewelry. And not the kind that dazzles and drips in your décolletage and is measured by the 4 Cs (though I wouldn't mind some of that). I'm guilty of an infatuation with costume jewelry.

We have seen the rise and fall of the ubiquitous "it" bag, and now everyone is lusting after must-have architectural heels. When this phase is through – and it too shall pass – costume jewelry will enjoy glory that it hasn’t seen since its heyday in the postwar 1940s and 50s.

Eye-catching creations from the likes of Alber Elbaz for Lanvin, Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton, and Nicholas Ghesquière for Balenciaga stole the Fall 2008 runway shows. Some of my favorite pieces included heavy gold chains (Givenchy), ostentatious crystal and ribbon necklaces (Lanvin), and stained glass bib necklaces (Burberry). But that's really only the beginning.

Necks, arms, and ears will continue to be adorned for the upcoming Spring 2009 season as well. Never has it been a better time to use bold jewelry pieces to accessorize your existing wardrobe - or a new one, for that matter.

Welcome to my little bijoux box where I hope to share my passion for jewelry. Enjoy and please feel free to leave comments. In the words of Matthew McConaughey in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days…"frost yourself.”

Images courtesy of Left to Right: Burberry Prorsum, Lanvin, Givenchy, Balenciaga.