There is something very comforting about the sound of bangles clinking together on a wrist, a melody of glorious silver and golden notes. And is there anything that conveys an impression of being well travelled better than exotic jewels and one-of-a-kind statement pieces that are guaranteed to start a conversation? In what was possibly a sign that the German minimalist normcore movement is finally over, bold jewellery and crafted accessories made strong statements on the autumn/winter 2015/16 catwalks.
The normcore aesthetic is extremely low-key, stripped back and anti-style. It recently became a recognised unisex trend and is characterised by a simplified, ‘normal’ sense of style, with a distinct lack of detail, allowing wearers to blend into the crowd rather than stand out from it. This season’s demonstrable change of direction from the simplified hues of black, grey and navy from a plethora of influential international designers signifies a welcome return to showy style – at Proenza Schouler, one dress was decorated with 300,000 sequins. The real sense of change was noted in the finer details. Built over time, jewellery collections can tell a wonderfully unique story, and the tale for autumn/winter 2015/16 is loud and proud.
When it comes to the over-arching trends for the season, the spirit of spring/summer 2015 lives on in florals and delicate, feminine fabrics, with Valentino, Marni and Alexander McQueen all offering incredibly ethereal collections. It’s only natural that chunky and oversized pieces should balance this out. Trend forecaster extraordinaire Miuccia Prada took inspiration from several decades for her latest Miu Miu collection, notably the 1960s through to the 90s, although it was the glitter and glam of the 80s that was most eye-catching. Oversized earrings looked like giant daisies with bright petals in yellow, white, red and pink. Every other pair was a drop design, with a crystal-encrusted stone hanging from the flower. Matching necklaces completed the floral look.
The Marni woman always exudes an air of adventure and for this season multi-stone earrings and sculptural bracelets in natural hues told of far-flung travels. At Givenchy, multiple septum rings and jewelled faux piercings were created by make-up artist Pat McGrath for each model. Although delicate pearls adorned their faces, this was a celebration of the strength of women portrayed through facial embellishment and the overall look was dramatic and aggressive. There was also a rebellious spirit at Balenciaga where designer Alexander Wang combined the traditional house codes with perhaps his most dramatic of visions for the brand so far. Ears were covered with multiple layers of pearl earrings, and decorative crystal-encrusted pieces on skirts and shoes added a finishing touch of opulence.
Off the catwalk, jewellery retail has also been rejuvenated. According to the trend and innovation experts at research firm Stylus, ‘interactive technology, both in-store and online, is adding seductive new layers of personalisation and education to jewellery retailing’. The high-tech and high-touch worlds are colliding, and the in-store experience is one that simply cannot be matched online.
German watchmaker and jeweller Thomas Sabo says that life is too short for boring jewellery. A trip to one of his stores is a must for anyone who is a jewellery enthusiast and for whom this mantra rings true. His Karma beads and charms can be collected and pieces can be built up, with new charms added each season that can be used to create endless variations. For autumn/winter 2015/16 the brand is also offering statement bangles with floral central motifs, and oversized cocktail rings with jewels in winter berry shades.
Another German brand offering its own take on maximalist jewellery is Niessing. The Phoenix collection is an architectural delight in miniature form. Signifying eternally repeating cycles, numerous slender oval discs are connected to produce a necklace and a bracelet, available in gold or platinum. The Papyr necklace is another sculptural gem, and gives the impression of an elaborately folded golden paper chain.
Trends in jewellery can go from minimalist and muted one season to overt and flamboyant the next, and both international designers and home-grown German brands offer their own interpretations of these looks. As the finishing touch, it’s all about how these trend-led jewellery pieces are matched with outfits. To let these maximalist pieces shine, when it comes to your clothing think simple.