Runway Report: Fall 2013
Punk themes, dark jewels and super-sized statement pieces among season’s top trends
Designers looked to fashion’s past for inspiration this season, plucking ideas from medieval times to the turn of the 21st century. Capes are ubiquitous, suggestive of the Middle Ages, but this time around they’re severe in cut with precise slits. Dresses are printed or hand-beaded with 12th-century golden mosaics. Skirts are full and waists cinched, circa 1940. Fur is colored, textured and slung 1970s-style over glittery gowns. And leather and plaid pay homage to punk and grunge.

Woven throughout are several trends of more recent seasons: The square and stripe patterns of spring have become more distinctive and repetitive, with florals gaining ground. Color blocking and layering are still important, as is the luxe-tux silhouette. The oversized coat, meanwhile, with curved lines and enormous sleeves is a big story, particularly when it looks like it was nicked from your boyfriend’s closet. And that’s not all that’s super-sized: jewelry, in designs to help define each look, is bigger and bolder.

Here are some of fall 2013’s top fashion trends and the jewelry that coincides.  

HARD WEAR
Jewelry gets tough this season in weighty metal designs that convey unpleasantness, violence, even pain. According to Michael O’Connor, jewelry and style expert and host of MovieStyle with Michael O’Connor for ReelzChannel, there’s a tremendous interest in darker stories this fall, where a common element in jewelry is blackened metals for a look that’s vintage and mysterious.

At Rodarte, barbed wire in silver and gold clutched earlobes and twisted around necks, adding an edge to vibrant tie-dyed silk and jeweled lace. The motif also appeared on headbands and belt buckles. Roberto Cavalli, meanwhile, created modern-day warriors in chainmail-like dresses, made even more powerful with blackened-metal ear cuffs, necklaces and bracelets sculpted with serpents, insects and eagles clutching their prey.

Karl Lagerfeld reversed direction from his oversized pearls of spring, choosing another signature Chanel look for fall: the chain. Thick and mainly silver in color, the chains were interlaced with tweed and stacked tightly around the neck and wrists, adding a punk vibe to tweed jackets in stormy grays and black dresses in silk organza. Michael Kors also chose chains—his blackened-metal with giant links worn choker-style—that paired well with the collection’s black-and-white tweed suits.

Jean Paul Gautier revisited the label’s punk codes with broad-shouldered jackets and batwing-sleeved dresses accessorized with a trail of hoop earrings along the outskirts of one ear and “Gautier”-engraved metal chokers and cuffs. The spirit of the ’80s was also in the air at Versace, where it was time for Vunk—the Versace Punk. Here we saw sexy vinyl ensembles and studded boots mixed with huge silver spikes pierced through chokers, cuffs and ear lobes.

British jewelry designer Stephen Webster naturally comes to mind here, whose award-winning collections bear titles such as “Murder She Wrote” and  “The Seven Deadly Sins.” New for 2013: “Fly by Night,” which features gem-encrusted nocturnal winged creatures set in blackened gold.

LUCKY CHARMS
Newton once said that for every action, there’s always an equal and opposite reaction, so perhaps that’s why—in response to the darker side of this fall’s fashion—we have talisman jewelry making such a strong showing.

The cross, the principal symbol of Christianity, was a recurring motif on the runways. We certainly saw this at Dolce & Gabbana, where the famous Byzantine and Venetian mosaics of Sicily’s Cathedral of Monreale were the inspiration behind evening looks hand-beaded with religious figures, lacy frocks in cardinal red and opulent crosses worn as earrings, necklaces and crowns. In a similar fashion, Alberta Ferretti used large Maltese cross earrings in varnished metal and enamel to highlight her ladylike collection of dresses in white lace and sumptuous jewel-toned velvet. Saint Laurent dangled crosses from charm bracelets to round out his grunge look of sloppy cardigans, baby-doll dresses, fishnets and biker boots, and Chanel showed metal and velvet crosses in addition to the hefty chains.

Bottega Veneta, meanwhile, accented sculpted-wool dresses with porcelain medallions detailed with cherubs. Kenzo duo Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, inspired by the Hindu temples they visited on a recent trip to India, crafted a collection of “eye”-motif fashion that was “all about protection and warding off evil spirits.” They then continued the motif in a jewelry line of earrings, cuffs and rings in collaboration with designer Delfina Delettrez.

Alber Elbaz for Lanvin, in turn, who starts his collections by contemplating certain words, put them on display this season in chunky gold necklaces and rings that spelled out “love,” “happy,” “help,” “hot” and “cool.” These he intermingled with reams of thick gold chains, pearl strands and equally as large insect brooches constructed from brass, pewter and glass.

Jewelry designers in line with this trend include New York-based Aaron Basha, whose “Evil Eye” collection of gold, enamel and pavé-set diamond charms combines the ancient symbol of protection with cutting-edge style.

SEEING GREEN
“Emerald,” the lively, radiant, lush green that color authority Pantone chose as the Color of the Year for 2013, was spotted all over the fall runways, especially in deep, rich shades that embody the autumnal season.

At Prabal Gurung, green military-inspired looks such as tops shaped like inverted triangles with exaggerated peplums were paired with cargo pants. Michael Kors added the color in a camouflage print, seen most luxuriously in mink stoles and coats. St. John offered a military-inspired double-breasted green coat with gold-button front and an A-line sweep that falls past the knee, while Kenneth Cole showed monochromatic green looks including a mixed-media tweed jacket and velvet cargo pants.

Calvin Klein, meanwhile, designed several green leather skirts, dresses and coats. Rag & Bone sent out a green peacoat and an aviation-inspired mini sheath dress. And Assembly offered a chic color-blocked trench coat in green and blue with raglan sleeves.

Speaking of blue, these designers and more placed a special emphasis on the color, particularly in the bold “Mykonos Blue” hue, another of Pantone’s color choices for fall 2013, indicating a possible trend on the horizon.

This, of course, bodes well the rest of the year and beyond for jewelry featuring emeralds and other green gemstones such as chrysoprase, jade, peridot, prehnite, tourmaline and tsavorite, as well as blue gemstones such as sapphire and tanzanite. Look to master jeweler Fabergé, whose acquisition by Gemfields earlier this year will bring exceptional, ethically sourced precious gemstones such as Zambian emeralds to its contemporary jewelry collections.

GROWTH SPURT
Large jewelry pieces that make a statement such as chandelier earrings and bold cocktail rings have been a fashion mainstay for several seasons now and show no signs of slowing down; in fact, designers are producing even larger versions. According to O’Connor, jewelry will continue to get larger, with floral designs commanding the spotlight for some time to come.

Following his oversized hoop earrings for spring, Olivier Rousteing for Balmain took earrings further this season with sizeable chandelier styles composed of transparent crystals, faceted in such a way to reflect the jeweled colors of the designer’s quilted-leather jackets. In a similar fashion, Ralph Lauren used baroque chandelier earrings to accessorize his vision of pre-revolutionary Russia, complete with fur hats, nip-waisted peacoats, matelot pants and gorgeous gowns in black and jewel-toned shirred taffeta. Chandelier earrings were also on tap at Oscar de la Renta, where crystal versions joined with matching statement necklaces and cuffs to decorate skirts, dresses and gowns in toile de Jouy patterns inspired by French prints from the 18th century.

Frida Giannini for Gucci also spotlighted the statement necklace—hers with crystal pendants—that added a touch of sparkle to hourglass dresses with exaggerated hips, while Donna Karan paired leather and metal tribal necklaces with dramatic cape gowns in stretch luster jersey.

Fausto Puglisi, for his first collection as creative director at Emanuel Ungaro, placed oversized gold and diamanté brooches at the neckline of his leopard-print and polka-dot ensembles, while Giambattista Valli embellished dresses in animal prints with a pair of extra-large raw-metal cuffs. And finally Sarah Burton, in her nod to such things as Queen Elizabeth I and the ecclesiastical elite for Alexander McQueen, produced an intensely elaborate collection of 10 looks covered in pearls—from cages that framed faces to knuckle-duster rings, fishnet stockings and platform boots.

Paris-based jewelry designer Lydia Courteille rises to the occasion here, with voluminous one-of-a-kind pieces chock-full of colossal diamonds and colored gemstones. Described as “stories to be read,” each jewel is like a fairytale filled with flora, fauna and all things fantastical.
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