Reviewing the images of jewelry on the Paris runways in the last week left me feeling that so many designers are simply too contented with their own iconography. The ones who stood apart in styling their runways made bolder statements, yet all the while underscoring the clothes and their houses’ aesthetic. The jewelry at Chanel gave framework to the tweeds and knits, however they were primarily made from the houses trademark leather and chain. So the woman is now the personification of the bag she covets. Gives new meaning to the expression, “old bag,” doesn’t it? Even if the clothes were great, and of course they were, the overarching message isn’t flattering.
Lanvin continues to be fascinated by mounds of chains mixed with creepy crawlies pinned to shoulder and bust lines. A new addition of moody pronouncements, such as the word “cool” spelled out in scripted metal was scattered around models’ necks and slashed across knuckles. The collection of clothing was beautiful but the heavy handed styling of the jewelry was a distraction. I’ve often found Mr. Elbaz’s choices current, entertaining, and even trendsetting, but this past week’s runway seemed to say nothing more than what has been said in the past. I found myself thinking, “Again?” once too often.
Finding new statements on the runways wasn’t altogether difficult since the weird, fun, and tacitly cool pieces spoke for themselves. Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuitton gave us the necklace of dead fowl, Christopher Kane showed how big sculpture can work as a cuff, Sarah Burton at McQueen created the ring-finger glove (what was the reference for this, I’d love to know) and the caged crown (shaped like a Faberge egg). Crowns and tiaras are statements that resonated with houses like Dolce & Gabbana and Lanvin. There is nothing more iconographic than a crown/tiara. Not sure we really need a golden halo to tell us that what we are looking at is regal or even special when the focus should be about the modern woman living in contemporary times. Showing modern luxury on the runway is inspiring, pageantry today is gilding a lily that is already in full bloom. We’ve already seen this remarkable work of nature…what else you got?