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YOU DON’T HAVE TO STUDY ACCESSORIES CLOSELY TO SEE that designers are going beyond more traditional use of materials in their latest offerings.   Anything that’s stylish has been approached with a “Let’s do something totally new” attitude as top names re-invent the entire range of apparel accessories for 2010 and beyond.

Uptown excitement is no longer on a single material:  now it’s the element of surprise combinations/shapes/colors that moves the market.

Designers no longer strive for a harmonious aspect or simple concept.  Now it’s the shock value of never-before combinations of hard/soft, plain/patterned, luxe/commonplace:  all kinds of extremes, in concert!

It’s a slithery python world

WHAT ARE THE MAJOR MATERIALS BEING USED IN THIS NEW DECADE?    All leathers, plus the slithery, beautifully hued–and costly– pythons, crocodile (real or mock), chains, glass, brass and crystal (the latter mostly Swarovski, or at least Austrian.)   Lots of metal woven with ribbon or leather strips.  Pearls (real or mock), wood, fossilized materials such as wooly mammoth, mix with crystallized exotics.  And loads more odd-ball but eye-pleasing stuff.

IT IS AN INCREDIBLE COLLECTION OF DESIGN SOURCES, MATERIALS LIKE YOU NEVER SAW BEFORE!

Jewelry, of course, combines much of the same phenomenal mixes, intertwined with super-traditional luxe ingredients such as 18 and 14 karat gold, platinum, sterling silver and their -plates, precious and semi-precious stones and rare “story” materials.  –An interesting aside:  Louis Vuitton has gone crazy for rope.  aH   I wouldn’t be surprised to see treated cobwebs used for delicate strength some time down the road.

YOU CAN TRY JUST A BIT OF MIX AND MATCH ON YOUR OWN RIGHT NOW:

  • Multi-row Bracelet.  Stretch contrast lines of turquoise chips, wood beads, ceramic and more.

Muted Colors

MUCH OF THE EXCITEMENT IN THE NEW MATERIALS MIX DERIVES FROM A SOPHISTICATED, MUTED USE OF COLOR.  Look for lots of tan, black, white/cream, grey and…more tan!  It’s the season, long before Spring bursts upon the scene in a bright and joyful palette.  Even decorative crystals seem less blazing, more subtle.  Brights of all colors are simply accents.

–But remember:  No one need be a slave to fashion.  If one’s “color” is bright blue or blazing red, go for it!

Here are some of the season’s key items:  Handbags, handbags, handbags.  Big, medium, small.  Dress or sport.  And chains are everywhere today, as I’ve said before, but now there’s often a combine of a more delicate link chain as the base length of a wide leather shoulder strap.  Coco Chanel originated the then-revolutionary use of chains in women’s apparel and accessories.

–A good current example:  DKNY’s frame leather/chain patterns mate with nail heads that add even more visual interest and shout “Today’s Fashion!”

LOOK FOR CHAINS IN ALL ACCESSORY CATEGORIES!  HERE ARE SOME TO START WITH:

  • Rope chain, gold or silver plated.  3 mm, Choose your length.  Basic, Beautiful!

Then consider the so-chic clutch.  One new small clutch has a dazzling petite body with scattered, large and faceted malachite stones, stingray (yes, stingray!) strips and domed metal/stone clasp.  As close to unique as you are likely to find.

Disruptive Handbag Trends

Leather continues as basic bag body matrix, but now it is rarely used solo. Snake and fish “scales” pair up, from python to barkfish and whipsnake. Wood, plastic, crystals, sequins, wool, calfskin and lamb suede, ostrich, much more—all have their place in today’s “disruptive” handbag trends.

Another clutch that fits in the “mini”, or minaudiere category, sports hefty dark glass “polka dots” on the face of a brass and leather body.  And Judith Lieber soars, as always, with her deft décor of Austrian crystal flowers strewn atop unmistakable ostrich leather.  Soft, golden mien!  Bling, but muted.

(TO BE CONTINUED)

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Tuesday, January 26th, 2010


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