It’s a Bling Thing

It’s a Bling Thing

Stylist to the stars dishes on the latest jewellery looks

By Bonnie Siegler

It’s that time of year, when the red carpet is graced with style and elegance—and bling. With the Oscars, Golden Globes and various other award shows revealing tastefully accessorized celebrities, you may be curious about the latest trends, and how to incorporate them into your wardrobe.

Michael O’Connor, style expert and frequent TV commentator, has worked with celebrities such as Amy Adams, Felicity Huffman and Gabourey Sidibe, to name a few. O’Connor finds inspiration in fashion and glamour to put his creative mind in motion, especially around awards season. Here O’Connor shares his thoughts on current jewellery trends and ideas for your next jewellery purchase.

The long and the short of it

While showy accent earrings were often a staple on the red carpet, O’Connor says that this look has evolved.

“Over the past 10 years, we have seen earrings get shorter during awards show season,” he says. “I’ve always loved a statement necklace and therefore led the charge when it came to styling in an effort to get the necklace back on red carpets. To do this, earrings needed to get shorter so they don’t compete—for example, at the Golden Globes, Kate Hudson wore a long pendant and smaller earrings, and Viola Davis had a larger Harry Winston necklace and small earrings.”

“However, I think some actresses and stylists are afraid of that look, so we have a total mix of earring lengths right now. Alison Janney at the Golden Globes wore large chandeliers; Debra Messing wore a lobe-clip style and Frances McDormand had more of an everyday look. So in terms of what is trending for earrings for major events, I think we’re in an “anything goes” phase.

Stack it up

The trend of layering and stacking of accessories such as necklaces and bracelets has been evident for several years in a row.

O’Connor says: “We have definitely seen a large amount of layering and stacking of necklaces and bracelets. Back in 2008, some saw that layering look as a great way to bring back ‘statement areas’. You may remember Nicole Kidman in a L’Wren Scott necklace in 2008” (draped in glittering varied lengths around the actress’s neck).
On whether the layering trend is still alive, O’Connor reports: “We’re still seeing that today. The necklace Viola Davis wore this year had that layered feel to it. Bracelets, too, have gone through this same transition.”

Do double duty

The layering of accessories can also bring versatility to some pieces. For instance, a necklace with length can be wrapped around the wrist several times creating a stacked look.
About accessories with dual purpose, O’Connor says: “One of the things that I’ve always loved about jewellery is its versatility. Necklaces can be worn in many ways, pins in many areas. If you look at the historic designs of the major jewellery houses like Van Cleef and Arpels, necklaces easily transitioned into bracelets. Necklaces often were affixed to frames to become tiaras earlier last century. Jewellery is a great way to add interest to an outfit.”

Think small

Necklaces, bracelets and earrings often take centre stage on the red carpet and in our accessory collections. O’Connor encourages women to look beyond these and consider smaller or less popular pieces such as brooches, rings and hair pins, reiterating his idea that jewellery can and should be repurposed to serve dual duty as an accent for more than one area.

“I’m all about jewellery in other areas,” he says. “I think a brooch is one of the most beneficial investments a woman can make. A brooch can be used in so many places—lapel, shoes, handbag, hair…with a little imagination, this kind of jewellery can be used in a variety of ways.”

And think big

Speaking of investments, O’Connor also shares his philosophy and suggestions to clients considering their next jewellery purchase.

“Buy the best and build yourself a jewellery wardrobe,” he says. “These days the cost of everything has become so expensive. Costume jewelry can cost $250 and upwards. My belief is that I’d rather have a great piece at a higher cost that is versatile and keeps some value over time, rather than a big statement piece that has no long-term value.”
So when choosing for short-term savings by shopping for costume jewellery, take a good look at how much it actually costs—as O’Connor mentioned, this type of jewellery has definitely risen in price over the last several years—and do some comparison shopping in jewellery that uses real metals and gemstones and may cost more, but could be a nice investment for the future, offering you more value overall.