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Yes, of course, we’ve talked about chains before, but in this fashion environment, we can’t talk about them too much!  If there is any one design item that is hot in the jewelry/accessories field, it’s chains!

Chains like Coco Chanel fell in love with:  necklace after necklace of glorious golden chains cascading down the front of a dress or suit, clearly stealing all the attention from everything else that was being worn. Silver chains like Yves St. Laurent played so brilliantly with:  heavier chains making up terribly edgy belts, or dangling chains set in as handbag shoulder straps.

Vibrant Comeback

And now chains are not only making a strong, if not powerful, comeback, they are doing so with plenty of new design interpretations and exciting material innovations.     From the roughest look of heavy hardware store chains on a hip biker outfit to the most delicate of chains enlivening a Sunday morning church dress, chains are the latest fashion phenomenon.

Chains are not only big for necklaces, however.  Think of them as the core of many brand new ideas in bracelet and earring designs as well.  What is more enticing than fragile, gold or faux gold chain earrings?  What is more impressive than a huge bib-style necklace with its dozens of strands of chains?  They are the magic of the present-moment style circuit.

HERE IS A SAMPLING OF SOME OF THE FRESHEST AND MOST INTRIGUING CHAIN DESIGNS, ALL AT HIGHLY AFFORDABLE PRICES:


The Chain Gang

One of the most important directives in chains is a mixture of gold and silver together; real or faux, one is as glorious as the other!  Shiny gold and silver are big, but so are matte finishes, which are increasingly characterizing fashion-forward designs.  A creative mixture of different kinds of metals is also edging its way into the jewelry field, along with sparkling chain additions of crystals, charms, pearls, stones or beads.  Put them all together and you’ve got the makings of real fashion.  You’re IN.  You’re HOT!

This is basically a look that defies all rules.  It is maverick.  It is often the exact opposite of what jewelry fashionistas taught pretty society girls for decades.  Ha!  Today’s vibrant fashion girls and women are a brand new breed, far more individualistic and revolutionary than their mothers or teachers would ever have imagined.

“The return of hard edged 1980s styles made a focus on chains inevitable, says Ken Downing, fashion director at Neiman Marcus in Denver, speaking to a reporter from the Denver Post.  “Many designers were looking for a way to give an urban and aggressive look to what they created this season,” he said.

CHAINS ARE AMAZINGLY VERSATILE.  THEY ARE AS POPULAR IN THE SOUTHWEST AS IN URBAN NEW YORK.  HERE ARE SEVERAL GOOD EXAMPLES:

The Cocktail Mix

Look at some of Michael Kors’ latest chain designs for evidence of that 1980s retro style.  Here you’ll find some fabulous industrial-strength chain chokers accessorizing chic leather dresses and jackets.  Designer Tory Burch takes the idea even further, by building in chains as hot embellishments on shirts and jackets, belts, boots, shoes, and handbags.

Apparently, whatever chains show up on, they create fashion and they look great.

The conglomeration of often surprisingly different chain materials and styles can be found in many of the newest jewelry designs on the market. Think of matte metals or mixtures of black, hematite, and silver in one intricate necklace.  Or put grey, smoky or topaz-colored stones with silver metallic chain finishes for a very 2010 impact.

“You tend to think of mixing cool colors with cool metals, but you can also mix them with a warm metal like gold in matte and shiny tones,” Downing says.  “Back in her time, Coco Chanel thought nothing of piling fake pearls and gold chains on top of real ones,” he continues.  “She believed in the elaborate and exuberant use of accessories.”

When Karl Lagerfeld took over the House of Chanel’s ready-to-wear and accessories design back in the 80s, he helped revive pearl and chain belts, as well as long rope chain necklaces and chains used as fashion-smart handbag hardware.  Now, that directive is back in furious motion.  Think about chains that are retro.  Chains that are very tomorrow.  Chains, chains, chains.  Big, little, shiny or matte.   Put major emphasis on them in your jewelry collections and you are sure to please your customers for some time to come!

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Tuesday, January 19th, 2010


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