The Chanel collection walked on a stylized sea floor with clothes replete with pearls. Of course, pearls are part of the brand’s heritage so they pop up in one way or another most seasons but rarely do they make such a statement appearance as they did for spring 2012 (Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine serenaded the crowd from an oyster for crying out loud). Until now, the preference for menswear silhouettes and streamlined accessories would have run contrary to a general resurgence of the ladylike pearl which looks at home in the most feminine of contexts. But, a number of the other powerhouse brands I mentioned on Monday just might provide the extra push required to bring the pearl back to the forefront of the accessories market. Witness the following arguments:
+ Pearls are ideal for powdery color palettes like those shown at Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton, Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, and Valentino.
+ A long strand of pearls is often associated with the flapper uniform of the 20s- an era heavily referenced this season by Gucci, Ralph Lauren and, more obliquely, by Marc Jacobs (among countless other brands from New York to Paris).
+ Chanel wasn’t the only house who went fishing for inspiration. Versace, Alexander McQueen, and Givenchy also used the ocean as a reference point while Armani’s fabrics reminded Style.com critic, Tim Blanks, of, “[…] the translucent glow of the moon on the sea—or the mother-of-pearl lining of a seashell.” What better way to convey a nautical theme say, for instance, in a magazine editorial than with pearls?
+ Prada and Dolce & Gabbana’s take on Mid-Century femininity and Dior’s Mary Poppins/Mary Pickford hybrid also mean plenty of opportunities to reintroduce pearls to the fashion dialogue.
While a single strand of pearls may still be too June Cleaver for the fashion forward, this collective shift by the industry’s most powerful brands will likely yield a lot more interesting pearly offerings come spring. In the meantime, keep an eye out for unconventional pearl accessories like these necklaces (below) from online retailer, Charm and Chain.
Necklaces (L to R): Vintage Layered Necklace by Avant et Après – $398 at Charm and Chain, Midnight in Paris Necklace by Frieda & Nellie – $595 at Charm and Chain, Delphi Necklace by Suzanna Dai – $365 at Charm and Chain. Illustration by Michelle Ricks. Runway image via Style.com.