Island Orchid Jewellery

My Jewellery Report from the Autumn/Winter 2011-12 Fashion Shows

The Autumn/Winter 2011-12 fashion weeks showed some beautiful and very exciting jewellery. All very inspiring to me as a jewellery maker. Overall, the main trend is still for big and bold jewellery and I will describe what I believe will be some of the key trends for A/W 2011-12 and beyond - as-well as a few that won't! I must point out my life isn't so exciting that I was actually in London, Paris, Milan or New York. My report is based on what I've interpreted from the catwalk photos. As I'm not interested in stealing other people's photos from the web (and I can't afford to purchase them!) you'll either have to use your imagination or see the pics for yourself at then click on Fashion Shows. This is a brilliant rescource for anyone interested in fashion.

Big bold jewellery with a steampunk or modern influence is my favourite trend and Lanvin, Paris, did not disappoint. Necklaces were bold and metallic, a lot of them with an industrial edginess. My favourite was a large collar piece that consisted of rectangular plates of metal hinged and riveted together. There were also folded metal flowers which were very edgy yet feminine.

I think the bracelets in the Just Cavalli collection were also very modernistic. Huge wooden bangles with steampunk, geometric bits jutting out of them at regular intervals.

The melancholic and dark Paris show of Maison Martin Margiela also featured this edgy metal jewellery. The rings in particular, were amazing. Some models with metal wrapped round every finger like armour. There were two-finger rings and very impractical rings with big washers and giant metal paperclippy things dangling from them.

Big link, colourful chains, were another trend which quite a few fashion houses featured. Anna Sui, New York, had necklaces in varying lengths with beaded chains and round pendants. There was also a bold, bright, green, big chain bracelet. Iceberg did it really well with various coloured chains - green, yellow, black and pink with contrasting agate slices and rock crystals - very bold and colourful. Brioni, Milan had chunky gold chains. Nina Ricci, Paris showed necklaces of big coloured chains with crystals and Yves Saint Laurent had huge chains worn choker style like dog collars.

In fact dog collars were another key trend on the runways, although they look so uncomfortable to wear who knows if they'll catch on. Alexander McQueen, Elie saab, Chanel and Emanuel Ungaro all sent their models down the runway in them. Emanuel Ungaro's were very tribal, neckstretching rubber (or leather?) collars complete with metal dog tags! Elie Saab's were gold and black metal. Alexander McQueen softened the look with feather ruffs and Chanel had much nicer collars of chunky chains with little beads.

Big bracelets are still big news. Just about all of the fashion houses that did jewellery had big bracelets, whether big chains, fabric cuffs, metal flowers, crystals, gemstones, wooden bangles or metal cuffs. The rule is make them big.

And for extra impact double bracelets were another key feature. A lot of models were wearing matching, or almost matching, bracelets on each wrist. Issa London even appeared to have two on each wrist. Some in dark wood and gold and others metal filigree pieces strapped on with black ribbon. Chanel had doubled up metal cuffs. Andrew Gn, Paris, had a lovely pair of crystal studded cuffs in white and Hermes had big bangles, slightly mismatched, on each wrist.

Texture was something the designers were exploring in a big way for A/W 2011-12 and fabric appeared in quite a few of the jewellery collections. Christian Dior, Paris, had the most wonderful cabochon pendants on wide, textured ribbon. The bracelets at Christian Dior were also wide ruffles of fabric with big cabochons like watch faces.

Comuun, Paris, had feathered, furry and felty wrist bands. Lela Rose, New York, had necklaces of black ribbon with gold bead clusters and chunky grey tussles of what-looked-like leather.

Fabric was also used in the Hermes collection to interesting effect. I thought the Hermes collection and Brioni collections were harking back. Hermes seemed somehow redolent of the 1930's and Robin Hoodish at the same time. They had interesting leather cases, square, round and tubular. Betasselled or not and worn as necklaces.

Brioni had gorgeous, huge crescent motifs in horn or gemstone, hung from chunky metal chains. They seemed to hark back to ancient times. They also had dinosaur teeth bracelets - actually gemstone dagger bracelets.

Gemstones and crystals are still important in a lot of collections. Brioni, as just described; Giambattista Valli had huge crystals in correspondingly huge claw settings - fashioned into both necklaces and bracelets. Christian Dior had their large gemstone cabochons. Anna Sui had the crystal studded rondelle pendants and rings. Chanel had some old-fashioned brooches featuring pearls and stones. And Iceberg had the agate slices and rock crystals.

Christian Dior also had gemstone earrings and interstingly these were earrings worn singly. Big oval or teardrop gemstones and Isabell Marant's models each wore a single feather earring.

Finally, the 'clothes or jewellery' and weird stuff. Will it/won't it be trendy? Can't see the strange ear embellishments at Undercover, Paris, taking on. They were stange ear cuffs that hugged the entire outer ear.

Manish Arora's querky collection had 'body armour' which you could call jewellery or costume. They also had a fur stole which had a crown on its head. Jewellery for the accessories perhaps?

But the bejewelled clothes trend is set to continue with Nina Ricci's crystal embellished collars a good example. And I love Paco Rabanne's little chain maille bags. These were more jewellery than bags, reminiscent of 30's metal purses but these with a modern twist and lots of industrial looking charms hanging from them, bringing us back to steampunk!

So there we are, ten jewllery trends from the autumn/winter 2011-12 shows. Will we all be in dog collars and ear cuffs next Christmas? I think not! But there are a lot of styles here that will be big on the High Street and I for one, am very excited about that.

Please have a look at my Gallery to see my own jewellery collection which on the whole is infinitely more wearable!

Copyright Melanie M-McKay 2011