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Image courtesy of Fashion label Moss & Spy
Image courtesy of Fashion label Moss & Spy
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Fashion forecast: autumn/winter 2009

The weather report is in. Expect a cool change blowing through goth-chic jewellery this autumn and winter, along with nature-inspired pieces and an unexpected rainbow of colour. CARLA CARUSO reports.

There's a shift in the air. The days are getting shorter and, the air, crisper. The shop windows are changing too. The mannequins' outfits of pretty floral dresses and skirts are being traded for heavy overcoats, scarfs and tights. A dark, sombre mood is approaching.

Yes, autumn and winter are on the way and, just as the leaves will turn to red and orange again, there will also be a chance for retailers to reinvigorate their inventory and entice shoppers to return with the lure of new goodies.

The changing of the fashion seasons is not a time for jewellers to sit back and look the other way - especially with fashion designers such as Leona Edmiston and Jayson Brunsdon now crossing over into the fine jewellery category and bringing out their own lines. Knowing the upcoming clothing trends can help jewellers know which accessory looks to stock to perfectly complement these styles and be on top of what customers are demanding, before they demand it.

Sharon Rae, of Melbourne's Fashion Forecast Services, says US trend research and consulting agency ESP Trendlab has named five key trends for women in its autumn/winter report.

Chelsea girl: 1970s glamour girl meets tartan expert.

The wardrobe: Turtlenecks, intarsia sweaters, tunics, mid-length dresses and skirts, denim trousers, vintage-inspired suits, fur-lined vests, status scarfs and chunky wood platforms.

Details: Patchwork, paisley, leather and suede fringing, raw edges and flat pockets.

Colours: Rust, deep orange, pale lilac and chartreuse.

La Vie Boheme: She's Bloomsbury bohemian meets Moulin Rouge. This customer is passionate and worldly and has a penchant for hard to find and one-of-a-kind products. Wine is her favourite food group!

The wardrobe: Novelty and oversized sweaters,

tailored blouses, heavily embellished party dresses, silky pegged pants, crisply creased bootleg pants and pretty mini and maxi skirts.

Details: Fringing of all kinds, embroidery, pleats, gathering and draping.

Colours: Rich jewel tones, like teal and deep wine, combined with dusty shades of mauve and mocha.

Madam X: She's a rebellious yet refined girl. She mixes tough chic with elegant couture and spends more on lingerie than on rent. Think Victorian femme fatale meets downtown dominatrix.

The wardrobe: Shapely sweaters, lacy shirts, corsets, romantic dresses, frilly skirts, skin-tight pants, androgynous suits and fetish footwear.

Details: Ruffles and tiers, eyeleting, pleats, jewels and appliqué.

Colours: Black is a given, teamed with deep and pale blue, grey, espresso bean, dark purple, coral and fuchsia.

Ask Alice: Alice is a free-spirited customer, who never repeats the same ensemble twice.

The wardrobe: Frilly blouses, extra long and chemise sweaters, full skirts, colourful, cropped pants, detailed jackets and belted coats.

Details: Ruffles and pintucks.

Colours: Fruity and floral shades, from pale yellow to tangerine, sky blue to deep turquoise, and pinky lilac to lavender, with contrasts of grey and beige.

Living Sculpture: This customer is an essential modernist, who demands high quality materials and workmanship. Any colour is OK, as long as it's neutral!

The wardrobe: Asymmetrical tops, draped knits, tailored skirts, silk pants, chic puffa jackets and nude footwear.

Details: Quilting, pleats and appliqués.

Colours: A tinted neutral palette, including biscuit tones and buttery caramel, with soft green.

Following in the same vein as "Madam X", Australian fashion bible Marie Claire has named "gothic romance" a key trend for the cooler months - perhaps the black mood being a reflection of the bleak economic climate. The glossy says: "A sombre glamour pervaded the autumn-winter 08/09 shows [overseas] as darkly dramatic looks took over the catwalks. Designer Ricardo Tisci paired chiffon blouses with skinny leather pants in a hauntingly beautiful collection for Givenchy, while at Alexander McQueen, models' hair was adorned with dramatic jet jewels and paired with black dresses."

Closer to home, Sydney label Moss & Spy has used heavy lace, bold velvet and brocade, and blouses with bows, high-ruffle collars and full sleeves in its latest collection.

Sydney designer Paul Del Giglio, behind the Passion and EnRose clothing labels, has also employed a harder look this winter for EnRose - including "cascading ruffles and flouncey peplums, toughened with gothic hardware, and sculptural strapless dresses, with surface and textural interest, given the 'bad girl' treatment".

SJ Jewels
SJ Jewels

So, what does this mean for the accessory world? Think jet-black stones, lengthy necklaces and crucifix pendants (rosary beads, for example, are now suddenly hip).

New Melbourne fashion jewellery label Amadika, which means "the beloved one" in Zimbabwean, has produced high polished silver cuffs, bejewelled with jet-black onyx, for autumn/winter. Sydney fine jewellery label Jan Logan has also teamed black agate and onyx with diamonds and South Sea pearls.

Jo Tory, the director of Sydney contemporary silver jewellery label Najo, which supplies to jewellery stores, boutiques, galleries and high-end home-ware stores, is following the gothic romance trend as well. "Pendants on long chains are still big, especially for winter as it wears well with winter clothes. Oxidised silver is also hot," Tory confirms.

Ryan Gollan, the Asia Pacific regional director of fashion jewellery brand Edge of Sweden, says one of the items in its new range is a lengthy necklace set, entitled Love Is All Around: "It comprises three silver rhodium plated chains, which can be worn together or individually. The chains are the same, but the pendants are unique - three different heart shapes, with gemstones such as topaz and amethyst."

Another possible reflection of the bleak economic climate is the trend of pared back minimalism, punctuated with one or two statement pieces. The website,, says it's about wearing less jewellery but being bolder and more unique with what you do wear, like one-of-a-kind chunky cocktail rings, statement bangles and cuffs, and exotic show stoppers, adopting anything from Oriental-inspired to Egyptian elements.

Najo's Tory agrees: "Big decorative rings are huge and big clip-on earrings are coming back too, including clip-ons with hanging pendulums, and large hoops and circles."

Sydney fashion jewellery brand Mezi, which uses Swarovski crystals, rhodium and cubic zirconia, is also offering bold, statement pieces this season, such as chunky-cut stone necklaces, super-sized rings and heavily detailed crystal cuffs and neckpieces. Celebrity fans of the brand include Jennifer Hawkins, Elle Macpherson and Sonia Kruger.

At the other end of the spectrum, fashion website says the mood of stark minimalism is being juxtaposed by richly-detailed bohemia, in line with the Chelsea Girl trend noted by ESP Trendlab. agrees "foho" or bohemian luxury is a major trend: "With Gucci leading the way with its autumn/winter collection, this winter sees us reaching for our fringed boots, peasant shirts and gypsy-inspired, chunky, gold jewellery. It's all about folk-inspired foho looks and bohemian pieces in luxury materials. A close cousin of the bohemian luxe trend, the military jacket also strikes back as a winter wardrobe staple."

Opulent feathers and plumes, as well, are back on our radar, as are country-inspired checks, tartans and plaids, the site adds.

Del Giglio, behind the EnRose and Passion clothing lines, has reflected the foho trend in his collection for Passion: "It is inspired by the free-spirited, dreamy 1970s girl, with its floaty, paisley prints and purple hues and a cheeky play with contrasts - clashing tartans with checks and mixing softer frills, bows and ruffles with man-style tailoring."

For the jewellery trade, this means a hippy-dippy return to nature. Jewellery magazine Solitaire International says the great outdoors, natural and sustainable living and styles of the 1970s inspire the latest looks - including "natural patterns like animal prints, and vine, leaf and floral designs, and colours including rich vegetable hues and shades of earth and sky".

Animal shapes, such as snakes and leopards, are being seen in cuffs and watches, with Roberto Cavalli releasing a gold "Eva" snake watch in its 2009 collection.

Najo has opted for flower power, according to Tory: "Every six months, we release new collections with a theme. This next autumn/winter range will be a floral theme - each collection will be the name of a flower. So, many of the designs will have floral motifs and will be big, bold, sculptural and colourful."

Anna Fedele, the Melbourne designer behind fashion accessories line Amadika with jeweller Christos Fokianos, says her debut Wonder Collection is also nature-inspired. "I based it on Earth and our surroundings. People are worried about the world and our ecosystem, and so, can feel back in touch with nature with our semi-precious and natural stones and earthy tones, like red, green and beige." Stones used include tiger's eye, black agate, red jade, light green and clear crystal, and graphite.

Kenneth Jay Lane
Kenneth Jay Lane

Renee Blackwell, who has her own self-titled jewellery label in Queensland, stocked in jewellery stores, boutiques and galleries, has also embraced the bohemian trend, using natural stones and antique componentry. "I have really gotten into using interesting Australian stones, like zebra stone, mokait, fossilised dinosaur bone from the Northern Territory, and serpentine with stichtite - a dark avocado green stone with purple flecks, only found in Tasmania. They're all amazing!"

Still, Solitaire International says: "Earthbound trends are not only addressing recycling (recycled gold), but also up-cycling." That is, embellishing jewellery with antique componentry, like vintage buttons, as Blackwell is doing.

As well, Martin Andrews, the sales manager of Sydney loose diamond supplier Divine Diamonds, says vintage inspiration is coming through in stone cuts. "We have seen a resurgence with some of the fancies, including marquise and emerald cuts. People are moving towards something a little more classical," Andrews says.

Continuing the bohemian feel are colours burnished and antique-inspired with tone-on-tone effects, Solitaire International reports. Blackwell is employing mixed metals, like gold or copper with silver, in her neck pendants.

Steve Der Bedrossian, the managing director of Sydney diamond jewellery supplier Karl Rossi Collection, says they will also be showing a mix of rose and white gold with white diamonds and coloured stones this year.

The two-tone trend is also being reflected in watches, with brands like Skagen doing contrast tints of brown and beige, Kenneth Cole mixing stainless steel with gold-tone accents, and Seiko combining rose and white gold.

"The all-consuming organic influence is also inspiring lightness and transparency," according to Solitaire International. Daintier, lightweight pieces are becoming par for the course as metal prices sky rocket. Arnet Atakliyan, the business development manager of Sydney gold chain and bracelet manufacturer Isaac Jewellery, confirms: "We are going into more lightweight jewellery in 2009, which will be weighing a lot less, rather than the usual heavier, handmade pieces."

Flowing on from the "boho luxe" trend is the consumer desire for accessories layered in talisman and tradition, reports Solitaire International: "Coins, medals, cameos and sentimental yet surreal amulets, with a hint of whimsy and poetry are key."

Fashion site calls it "superhero worship": "Fashion-forward females will be preparing to unleash their new [autumn] power ensembles - a futuristic Balenciaga dress, for instance, or a caped jacket from Rick Owens and a good pair of heels - perhaps not ideal for leaping tall buildings, but then, Superman's already got that part covered."

Fashion jewellery brands with cosmic meaning, like Bhati Beads, Buddha to Buddha and Psyched Couture, are offering customers a little something extra, with their charms and stories.

In rocks, Solitaire International says fashion is the biggest influence on the coloured stone market. "Quartz gems allow designers to keep up with ever-changing styles at a price point". Other gem candidates on-trend for the cooler months? It lists "beryl, garnet and tourmaline types, blue and fancy sapphire, ruby and emerald, as well as a variety of pearl types in colours from white, peach, gold and brown to shades of grey and black".

Jeff Burnes, national brand manager of Pandora, says new pieces include more enamel and more colour. "Lavender, white and smoked quartz are key colour cues in the new collection and diamonds are dotted throughout the new range," Burnes reports. "Colour will continue to be a strong theme in 2009 - the eclectic mixes we've seen in high fashion collections, where boho patterns combine a riot of colour, will continue to filter through to the high street. Gold will also continue to be embraced - we've seen it become more popular in recent months, particularly in sales of our fine jewellery line, LovePods."

As you can see, the trends for the upcoming season are wide and varied, with something to suit every taste. Being on top of the hottest trends though can help in re-stocking inventory with popular, saleable styles, plus being one step ahead of what customers want. Grab a parka and the brolly - autumn and winter are in sight and it's set to be super cool.

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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