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Mister Zimi
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Breath of fresh air: Trends in this year's spring jewellery

From 1970s bohemia to Crayola brights and demure femininity, there’s plenty to tantalise jewellery consumers this spring, says Carla Caruso.
It happens every year. The chill in the air starts to lessen and people begin to shed their layers. The weather may still be a tad dreary outdoors, but inside the boutiques and department stores there will be an explosion of colour and a blur of soft, lightweight fabrics hitting hangers. The looks will reflect those seen on the catwalk at Rosemount Australian Fashion Week in May. At the newsagents, phone book-sized editions of top style magazines will land on stands.

Yes, spring-summer fashion will arrive next month. And in sun-loving Australia, it will be like awakening from a slumber. Despite the recent gloomy financial times, the warmer weather brings with it a plethora of hot new looks that should have customers eager to dig deep into their pockets once more.

Jeweller has scoured the trends on the international and local runways and spoken to the experts to provide a lowdown on exactly what will be hot this spring-summer in the jewellery accessories department…

First and foremost, as is often the case, fashion is harking back to bygone eras this season – namely the bohemian 1970s and the über glamorous 1920s and 1950s.

In the US, top Condé Nast fashion site Style.com says: “The 1970s ruled the spring runways – the Yves Saint Laurent 1970s, to be exact.” It noted designers bringing out retro looks like peasant blouses, safari jackets and vibrant colours.

Locally, Eryn Behan, managing director of Melbourne-based Ginger Trend Consulting, also notes the backwards glance this season. “A 1970s inspiration is key for this summer.” She references feminine clothing pieces, flowing maxi dresses and digital, primitive prints.

Local labels like Melbourne’s Mister Zimi are evoking this feminine, bohemian spirit with 1970s printed silks and a pretty palette of lilacs, oranges and greys in the form of pussy bow blouses, maxi skirts and balloon sleeve mini dresses, the essence of which will no doubt inform consumers’ jewellery purchasing decisions for the spring-summer season too.

A nod to the past is also being seen in the UK for the summer season, according to Maia Adams, who runs the London subscription-based jewellery trends analysis agency Adorn Insight with Juliet Hutton-Squire. “Think pool-side – the essential glamour associated with cocktail hour glam and style icons of the 1950s Palm Springs-style. Juicy gems, enamel, big chain bracelets, cocktail rings and 1970s nostalgia for a more boho chic approach – mixed media, hoop earrings and the ever-popular friendship bracelets.” She adds: “Fringing is key, as are big hoop earrings, friendship bracelets and statement cocktail rings.”

Danish jewellery brand Pandora, for one, has adopted the friendship bracelets look for spring-summer, offering an upmarket version of the hand-weaved accessories schoolchildren may have exchanged in the 1970s – now updated for 2011 with silver and gold charms and quality materials.

The 1970s vibe also means a ’free flow‘ look, according to Victorian stylist Nicola Moras, of Stylish Silhouettes. “Longer necklaces are going to be big again, especially with the beautiful maxi dresses and maxi skirts that are going to be around.”

Tapping into this trend is Confidante Dolls by the Australian Saramai jewellery label, distributed by supplier Iconic Jewellery. The pendants, hanging on lengthy silver chains, evoke Russian Babushka dolls and Japanese Kokeshi dolls. Each features coloured enamel, hand-set with freshwater pearls, natural gemstones and marcasites.

Adding to this bohemian 1970s vibe is a “prints revolution” trend, according to Style.com. “Designers went bananas – literally in Miuccia Prada’s case – for quirky patterns this season. Flora, fauna, ‘fruita’ – you name it, they printed it. Leopard, python and polka dots ruled at Givenchy, Roberto Cavalli and Moschino.”  To complement this excessively busy look, Behan urges: “Wear jewellery with contrasting metals and layered, mix-match metals and materials.”

Hutton-Squire echoes this: “It’s all about stacking and layering.” She adds: “There is also a strong draw towards sentiment, which means that the consumer is wanting to tell her story through a ‘jewellery journal’ – ie, a collection of pieces that are personal to her and associated with key moments, loved ones and lifetime milestones.”

Mister Zimi
Mister Zimi

Also channelling a 1970s vibe are the colour-popping brights. Behan says: “A tongue-in-cheek retro story pushes amplified 1970s hues of amaranth, persimmon orange and peach, while zesty chartreuse and striking empire yellow provide a sporty alternative.”

Style.com in the US dubs the look, ‘hyper colour’. In its spring 2011 report, it says: “We can’t remember a season in which fashion has wrapped its arms around colour like it has for spring – and it wasn’t just the designers you’d expect doing the hugging. Haider Ackermann tried teal and electric blue on for size, Aquilano.Rimondi combined poppy citrus hues, and Mr Understatement himself, Raf Simons, served up a Crayola cocktail at Jil Sander.”

Locally, a palette of lime green, deep blue, luminescent yellow and silver was chosen by Venice Jewellery to match the clothing of Sydney designer Karla Spetic in their collaboration on the runway at Australian Fashion Week. The Venice Jewellery for Karla Spetic collection is inspired by the elaborate, intertwining patterns of Portuguese façade tiles, incorporating cast glass and sterling silver. “Working with glass gave us a broad colour spectrum,” enthuses Venice Jewellery designer Venice Rish, “and a level of detail that was advantageous to our concept and interest in the detailing of Portuguese tiles.”

The colour scheme for Australian diamond simulant retailer Secrets Shhh… is also striking for spring-summer. “It’s all about bold, jewelled tones this season - exuberant shades of orange, blue, green and purple,” says director Jane Meredith, adding: “Luxurious statement jewels of decadently large proportions are a strong upcoming trend and Secrets’ spring-summer designs will take the look to another level with our Cocktail Fever collection.”

The key is to have fun and to let the jewellery do the talking, Meredith says. “Recent summers have been more demure and pared-back, but we expect party season jewels this year to be sported as wearable art, mixing bold colours, metals and styles. Think extravagant jewelled bands against statement rings, large regal-inspired necklets, and embellished drop earring.”

Secrets’ new 18-piece collection draws inspiration from delicate 1920s jewels a la The Great Gatsby and 1950s Parisian glamour. The cocktail ring, in particular, makes a statement again. Meredith adds: “Gold’s timeless appeal will continue to enchant bridal consumers, but the increasing use of high-quality, lustrous and long-wearing, semi-precious metals such as platinum on silver, enable designers to take the ‘statement jewellery’ trend to much greater proportions.”

Also all about colour is Zeades Monte Carlo, an exciting new leather jewellery and accessories brand, designed in Monaco, distributed locally by Melbourne’s B&H Wholesale. It uses coloured leather skins produced by selected tanneries in Italy’s Fucecchio.

“Flashy colours are now balancing the classic colours rather well in sales volume,” enthuses Darren Holley, B&H Wholesale’s general manager. “Red, pure white or orange are among our best sellers. Even our incandescent gold leather watches and jewellery pieces are showing strong sales.”

The punch of colour with leather is a hot look, according to Holley. “In our latest collection, leather is worked exactly like fabric, topstitched with thread that matches the leather’s colour tone for tone. The metal, enchased and engraved, echoes the theme – very haute couture.”

On the flipside of all this colour and fussy bohemia though, there is another trend occurring – a softer, more subdued, feminine look, lighter in hue. On the runway, Style.com notes: “Alexander Wang uncharacteristically offered zero black, opting to show an optimistic collection in which just a few soft pastels shared the runway with the white stuff.”

Adams agrees that while shoppers can make a statement in neon shades this season, such as cobalt, green, yellow and hot pink, “for pared down chic, centre your look around a white palette and natural elements”.

Ole Lynggaard
Ole Lynggaard

For jewellers, the trend means stocking up on muted shades of gemstones, like aquamarine, morganite and green amethyst. Brands such as Ole Lynggaard and Pandora have adopted this muted look in stones with lilac and forest green hues this season.

Celebrities have also had an impact on the popularity of certain coloured stones this season. Labels like Australian moissanite jewellery retailer Moi Moi Fine Jewellery have upped their stock of sapphire rings, replicating Kate Middleton’s engagement ring – formerly worn by Princess Diana. International reports have also pointed to the rising popularity of ruby engagement rings, due to Jessica Simpson’s recent ring style, as well as that of opaque stones, like lapis, being accessible for fashion jewellery.

With the return of ladylike dressing, Style.com also says lace is back in a big way, and this feminine air lends itself to more intricate detailing in jewellery. Meredith says, “Intricate, embellished designs with grain and micro-pavé detailing will re-imagine the art deco period with a modern twist.”

For Moras of Stylish Silhouettes, femininity is also a strong alternative trend as the weather warms. “Think pearls, silver necklaces with diamante hearts, and vintage golds. Keep your eye out for jewellery with round or flat beads, with rounded edges, as they will add a softness and femininity to outfits.”

She adds, “Coral, nudes and natural colours are going to be hot for this summer. Cameos also see a revival, while metal cuffs and coiled and braided necklaces add a contemporary edge.”

With an array of sizzling looks to get shoppers a little hot under the collar, it looks like the sky’s the limit for jewellery shop windows this spring-summer. Help customers be bang on trend by offering an abundance of fresh styles and they will undoubtedly reward your store for helping to get their creative juices flowing.

spring-summer must-haves

Julie Zanes, the principal of Adelaide-based personal branding company Instyle Image, lists her top trends for spring-summer:

• “Long, flowing maxi dresses and side splits create a sexy look,” Zanes says. Hence, jewellery-wise, think oversized pendants on long necklaces to match the flowing, romantic nature of the clothes. Fashion site Trendszine weighs in: “Long earrings that are reminiscent of the 1970s, made from tiny beads, with the addition of spectacular, big stones in different colours… [Also] popular are gold chains, wrapped several times around the neck.”

• “Feminine is in - sexy, elegant and glamorous. Lots of lace, sheer fabrics, and heavily beaded fabrics,” Zanes says, adding “rose gold will be very strong for the season”. Consumers should adopt the same girly look in jewellery with pieces featuring things like lace, ribbon designs, and ruffled metal effects. Plus, that symbol of love – the heart – can also give pendants a romantic touch. Trendszine adds: “Rose gold looks romantic, feminine and stylish, [especially] the combination of rose gold with stones in the brown range.”

• Zanes also mentions, “Gorgeous crochets and intricate fabrics [are on-trend] - perfect for the boho-chic gal, who loves to be comfortable in her fringing, tassels and crochet dresses. The ‘mix and DON’T match’ trend is going to be huge also.” In accessories, think fringed jewellery and lots of layering, like stacked bangles and clashing metals.

• “Denim will also be in,” Zanes believes. “All-out head-to-toe – we’re encouraged to wear as much of it as we can in one outfit.” Shoppers can echo the look with blue stones in a variety of shades.

• Opt for colour-popping brights in stones and pendants, as well. “Chartreuse will be huge this season, plus mustards, burnt oranges and yellows,” according to Zanes. Trendszine adds, “World-famous designers [have produced] bright orange, yellow, light blue and brown hues of the stones. They combine beautifully with gold, which is popular this year.”










ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Carla Caruso • Journalist
Carla Caruso has been a jewellery junkie for as long as she can remember, has covered the Vicenza gold fair in Italy and one day hopes to pen a novel about all that glitters. She has been a freelance contributor to Jeweller since 2005.





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