LARGE AND IN CHARGE
Maia Adams with the Latest Industry News from Adorn Insight
From nano-technology and molecular gastronomy to space-saving solutions for small living quarters, a fascination with all things miniature has held the design world in its thrall lately. In jewellery, too, dainty stones, delicate settings and ultra fine chains have underpinned a barely-there aesthetic that has been all the rage. But, as happens with all trends, eventually the consumer eye hankers for something new. And right now, when it comes to jewellery, the statement is back with a bang. Of the two strands that define this trend the first telegraphs OTT opulence. Showy, colourful and affectionately kitsch, this mood came into full effect on the spring summer 17 catwalks where a plethora of giant pendants led the fray: smiling cartoon cat faces at Chanel; multi-drop floral breastplates at Giambattista Valli, and saucer-sized agate slices on heavy resin chains at Givenchy. At Gucci and Marni, boisterous blooms erupted across enormous earrings. Cocktail rings of steroid-enhanced proportions were loaded onto fingers at Koché, Fenty x Puma, Moschino and Etam.
Fotocredit: Koché Backstage - Paris Fashion Week Womenswear 2017/2018; Getty Images / by Francois G. Durand
Not to be outdone, the jewellery that accompanied the haute couture collections in Paris also featured a riotous assortment of exaggerated proportions and oversize silhouettes: explosive crystal clusters at Kenzo and Lanvin; towering cuffs at Jean Paul Gaultier; shoulder-grazing chandeliers at Guo Pei and full-on ear covers at Zuhair Murad, It’s worth noting, too, that mismatched earring sets dominated, with one of each pair significantly larger than the other. Espousing a more laid back attitude to style – propelled partly by the influential athleisure trend – the counterpoint to all this pizzazz is a look that takes minimalism to the absolute max. Free from superfluous embellishment, material and form take centre stage. Sensuous curves and soaring surfaces remind us that how jewellery feels is as important as how it looks.
On the catwalks, this manifested as mega link bracelet earrings at Antonio Marras, gobstopper sized faux pearls at Tory Burch and Simone Rocha, and a flurry of hardware-inspired all metal looks such as the liberally wrapped chain armwear at Etro and expansive cutout earrings at JW Anderson.
Fotocredit: Jean Paul Gaultier: Runway - Paris Fashion Week - Haute Couture Spring Summer 2017; Getty Images / by Peter White
Away from the fashion shows, precious jewellery is undergoing the more-is-more treatment too. With demand for heirloom styles in the ascendant once more, luxury houses are supersizing proportions in order to breathe new life into classic ideas. A case in point is the Arabesque Deco Ring by Ralph Masri with rubies and Chaumet’s delightful haute joaillerie collection, Insolence, which takes the iconic bow motif and spices it up with large loops and swoops. Simultaneously, high-end designers such as Reza – which unveiled Délhéa, a bracelet that becomes a necklace at TEFAF Maastricht last week – are innovating through the development of scalable modular designs that can be built up into finished pieces of increasing size and versatility.
Fotocredit: Arabesque Deco Ring by Ralph Masri with rubies in 18k gold
Alternatively, designers such as Hemmerle and Glen Spiro look to unorthodox materials such as wood, resin, ceramic and titanium to support the creation of large-scale pieces. Last but not least, advanced manufacturing technologies are pushing the boundaries of what is possible in jewellery. 3D printing facilitates the creation of new and exciting structures, and – even when the technology is not used – it has inspired an aesthetic with an undeniably architectural in its scope. Solange Azagury-Partridge’s malachite space station ring is a striking case in point. Man-made gemstones, meanwhile, allow consumers to get more of the proverbial bang for their buck. At the Academy Awards this year, Atelier Swarovski unveiled its debut Fine Jewelry Collection featuring Swarovski Created Diamonds and crystals. Created exclusively for the red carpet, not only does the collection offer a socially conscious alternative to naturally occurring diamonds, it will allow consumers to invest in larger diamonds that they would previously have access to.
Fotocredit: Emma Roberts wearing Atelier Fine Jewelry earrings at 89th Annual Academy Awards; Getty Images / by George Pimentel