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PERHAPS THE MOST NOTABLE FEATURE of the New York Fall showings was the silhouette, the main silhouette, that is. . It was wild.  Different.  Listen to this:  the silhouette starts with the head, which is big, big, big.  Sometimes the size is accomplished with big hair. Mostly the hair is teased up and back, then smoothed over into a big ball.  It is very offbeat and at the same time severe.  At other times, the big head silhouette is achieved with hats.  

   —Big hats of all sorts, often quite startling, like Diane von Furstenberg’s pompom chapeau.


Then, the look drops to the upper body, which again is big — big shoulders, with shoulder pads or design tricks to create a big look.  Large jackets add more volume.  Layering is strong here, with heavy sweaters and shawls and wraps.  Little capes and fur designs fill in the style as well.


The lower body is generally skinny – skinny tights and tight fitting slacks or straight lined skirts.  The legs are covered, frequently with highly patterned stockings or leggings, but also tight to the body.  So, here you have a small look, for balance.


But we’re not done yet.  Then comes “de feet.”  Wow!  Shoes that lace up and strap up and overlap and interlap over incredibly high heels designed in myriad offbeat ways.  Shoes are so hot! But there is more: new ideas for feet, like big wooly shoes in the Big Foot manner, like super-heavy après-ski boots. This, again, is a big look.  BIG.


And that’s it, folks!  Big, big, small, big.  Crazy sounding, but often quite spectacular!




  • Crystal chandelier earrings in pink or clear crystal balance the big hair or hat look.  Crystal is mounted on silver-tone open work.  There is also a fringe of metal drops below.  Very elegant!





  • Iridescent faceted beading separates jet black round glass beads to form 2 rows in this stunning necklace.


                            Trench Coat Show Stopper


LUIGGAGE-LIKE HANDBAGS were handsome, leathery, and cut back in size for the season.  Sleek, expensive-looking leather boots gave an air of sophistication to everything. Patterns were hot. So were tweeds.


Tommy Hilfiger showed very traditional sportswear like little swingy jackets and tight turtlenecks, a few wide-legged pants and white silk dresses.  The show-stopper here:  Great looking trench coats!


Mini skirts just won’t give up.  They were often delightful and shown with high heels and socks. These were rarely cute, however, and often very sexy. 


Important necklaces were bibs, beaded and black.  Earrings were long and swingy.  Headbands were often beaded, creative.  Chain necklaces were everywhere, often with pendants.


Gray was a very hot color.  It moved over from fashion into makeup, with smoky eyes and silver gray makeup tricks.  Nails were done in deep gray (as well as black), while sparkling gray eyeliners brought eyes into prominence.


                                      Brooding Look


RICH, OPULENT MATERIALS were exciting.  Many were done in dark grays and black, affecting an almost brooding look.  This might be depressing, except for the shine, the glitter of it all.  Pieces of shiny material hung down from jackets and arms, also sometimes deathly-looking.  But it was always pulled out of the darkness by something bright, light reflecting. 





  • CZ necklace sparkles like the best of diamonds.  3 small CZs form a vertical line dropping off a metallic chain. A real diamond look! 




  • Polished gemstone chips with cubed beads in quartz crystal.  Appreciate the dynamic translucence of this knock-out bracelet.


Biker chic kept showing up in amazingly attractive renditions.  This is a look that is constantly evolving, the same and yet different. Gothic pulls from it nonstop.


Overall, these collections were optimistic.  The fashions were rich, materials were shimmery, necklaces were big, and there was plenty of humor and lightness to play with.  Silver was big, especially silvery materials. Other materials were abundant with pattern and embellishment.  Often, materials were crisscrossed over the bosom, or draped, or ruched, or something.  Rarely were they just “there.”   


At the same time, though it sounds contradictory, clean lines did prevail. Long straight coats were marvelously chic.  Long straight dresses were imposing.  Off-one-shoulder looks (a la Michele Obama’s dress for the Inauguration) were frequently seen.  In this regard, the fashions tended to be very Greco-Roman in inspiration.  Francisco Costa for Calvin Klein did the look especially well in a little black dress with laser-cut detailing. 


                                   Exceptional Accessories


MANY OF THE ACCESSORIES were exceptional.  Tribal looks were spotlighted in many collections, such as fabulous jewelry pieces from Lela Rose.  Other pieces had a Romanoff extravagance, like a gemstone bib from Reem Acra.  Big disc earrings were often wild.  And then, there were feathered cuffs.  Ruffled skirts.  Oh…the variety of it all!


Beads gave depth and timelessness to the collections.  Donna Karan, for example, showed a big multistrand beaded necklace over a dark turtle neck sweater. Fabulous!

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Thursday, March 19th, 2009

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