Even before the runways are stomped by long-legged, tiny torso’d beauties, Style.com is heralding the jewelry trend that begun last fall. Collaboration is the word of the moment. The website bellowed this pronouncement like the ringleader of the Big Apple Circus:
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Fall 2009 is the season of the jewelry collaboration. Breaking into the New York scene is HervÃ© Van der Straeten, whose geometric jewelry will gild Ruffian’s collection (left). Jen Kao and Joseph Altuzarra have tapped Eddie Borgo, Bensoni has nabbed Bing Bang’s Anna Sheffield, Alexander Wang has partnered with Paris Kain of Abraxas Rex, and Thakoon Panichgul has teamed up with Fenton’s Dana Lorenz. First Lady favorite Jason Wu, meanwhile, has enlisted Philip Crangi to add a “tough element” to his fairy tale-themed collection.
The jewelry/artist/fashion combination can work fabulously, and sometimes not at all. Salvador Dali did this successfully with Schiaparelli, as did Donna Karan and Robert Lee Morris. The ideas that don’t work are the ones that are too commercially driven, and without any real creative thrust, to maintain momentum. The Louis Vuitton (Marc Jacobs)/Hip Hop moment was completely forgettable.
Provided all the parties lend something more than a name to the net result, these pairings are a step in an interesting direction. But there is a focus on fashion here, not the jeweled arts, which always leaves me a little wary. On Collaboration Highway there should be a sign that reads, “No right of way for reinvented, rehashed, or resurrected”.
New York City has been the cultivator of some of the greatest jewelry designers and trends in history, so why not prove just how inventive we can be in times that haven’t been tougher?
Thankfully one bad apple can’t and won’t spoil the whole bunch, girl. Such as this glitz-ditsy bauble, a Big Apple pin (the punch-drunk version). Designer Matthew Williamson created this limited edition for the opening of his new Meatpacking District shop. Will those Swarovski-strewn symbols of the ‘80s stop traffic on Collaboration Highway?