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Hello, Housedress! How Jewels Fit with the Top Clothing Trends from New York Fashion Week Spring 2021 Shows

New York City. Sept. 24, 2020. Caftans, mixed patterns, bright colors, and relaxed silhouettes emerged as top clothing trends at New York Fashion Week’s Spring 2021 shows, held Sept. 11–16, 2020. Most collection debuts were digital presentations of new clothes, so live audiences and crowded shows were largely a no-no. (Christian Siriano’s backyard and socially distanced affair in Connecticut is a rare exception.) And because of the coronavirus pandemic, some New York City–based brands—including Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, and Gabriela Hearst—either opted out of participation or changed the dates for debuting new offerings. Michael Kors, for example, told the press he would move his Spring 2021 presentation to sometime between mid-October and mid-November 2020.

These new realities still led to plenty of brands showing off their spring 2021 offerings. The following is an analysis of top trends surfacing from labels whose collections were listed on vogue.com and how jewelry fits into them. As many realize, clothing directions often dictate accessory trends, assuming that shoppers buy into new looks each season; jewelry is often the icing on the fashion cake of dressing, especially in these Zoom-heavy times when working from home calls for comfier attire. Jewelry adds interest, depth, and statement-making design and interest to the largely casual attire being worn and promoted now. The biggest takeaway for jewelry lovers? Zoom jewelry is totally a thing.

Caftans Calling

Call it a caftan, kimono, or housedress, but for sure, call it trending. These silhouettes—albeit super high-end versions of them—were abundant among New York City fashion week participants. Think Anna Sui, Badgley Mischka, Dennis Basso, Pamella Roland, and St. John. Even Georgina Chapman of Marchesa (ball gowns are her bread and butter) offered an über glamorous caftan—look No. 17 in her lineup. Meanwhile, a nightshirt was evident at Christopher Kane, Rebecca Taylor offered pajamas, and Rodarte did, too, complete with slips and robes. It seems the design world understands our imminent future: still largely housebound, craving comfort, but wanting to look good.

The Perfect Jewelry: Oversize earrings, pendant necklaces, and collar necklaces—all pieces that will show up nicely on video calls. A cocktail ring couldn’t hurt, either, among those who like to talk with their hands.

Marchesa’s caftan is pure glamour.

Marchesa’s caftan is pure glamour.

Source: @marchesafashion

Pattern Party

Since none of us are attending live parties anytime soon, fashion offers exuberant prints to ease sad souls. Stripes are a holdover from spring, when we first tasted lockdown, flowers are a no-brainer, and a renaissance of paint-splash-like effects and vivid ombré swirls give us a joyful boost. Look to examples from Christian Siriano, Cynthia Rowley, and Tadashi Shoji. Other peers have leopard prints (think Naeem Khan and Tom Ford) while Reem Acra, among others, went off the deep end with sequins. Don’t worry, friends, this pandemic will end, and when it does, you’ll be appropriately outfitted to celebrate in happy prints and colors.

The Perfect Jewelry: Offer colored gems to pop against the colors of the clothes, or oversize metal-intense numbers to stand out (think a yellow gold cuff with a leopard print suit). Ideal pieces to wear with this trend will be colorful or complementary.

Tom Ford goes wild with leopard prints.

Tom Ford goes wild with leopard prints.

Photo: @tomford

Color Waves

Spring calls for bright colors, so the vibrant hues (pink, orange) selected by designers aren’t all that surprising. But factor in the pandemic, and colors are extra important; cheerfulness is in demand! Adeam embraced Mandarin orange, Badgley Mischka showed Caribbean blue and emerald green, Alice & Olivia whipped up some cotton-candy pink frocks, and Pamella Roland leaned on metallic magenta sequins (with a cape!) to bedazzle an otherwise simple dress silhouette. Meanwhile, Tom Ford’s fringed caftan in ombré shades of hot pink, red, and orange, positively electrified. These upbeat hues will do their best to help boost the mood of wearers.

The Perfect Jewelry: Remember to color block! Choose a few shades that you think play nicely, or pair a neutral hue (matte yellow gold or brightly polished silver) with a juicier one with similar tones. You could also experiment with unexpected combinations, like blue topaz with an eggplant ensemble.

Bright blue and emerald green were widespread in Badgley Mischka’s new collection.

Bright blue and emerald green were widespread in Badgley Mischka’s new collection.

Photo: @badgleymischka

Relaxed Silhouettes

Comfort was key to every couturier’s line. This means oversize knits, loose-fitting pants, and flowing frocks. Voluminous effects à la 1980s poufs are a derivative evident in Christian Siriano’s Dallas-inspired puffy shoulders. The 34-year-old designer told the media they reminded him of “growing up wanting to be a fashion designer.” Anna Sui’s whimsical house coats are loose fitting but less bulky, and the same goes for Dennis Basso’s embellished slip dresses and Imitation of Christ’s elevated take on glamorous athletic attire. Alternatively, not every designer was thinking of a wardrobe for the housebound; Jason Wu’s Holiday in Tulum collection is a wearable homage to the casual cool vibe of that beachside destination.

The Perfect Jewelry: Think layers of chains and large medallions to anchor these high-volume looks. Large earrings, too, serve these silhouettes well, as do stacks of bangles piled high on forearms.

Christian Siriano’s flower gowns aim to inspire joy and comfort.

Christian Siriano’s flower gowns aim to inspire joy and comfort.

Photo: @csiriano

Zoom Jewelry

This trend isn’t inspired by runway style but is our world’s current reality. Just as clothing designers are stitching us new relevant (comfy) clothes for daily wear, professionals who are more often working from home and using Zoom to connect with others are finding themselves in need of a little interest from the waist up. The solution? Jewelry. Take your pick, but we’re thinking statement earrings and necklaces make the most sense. A female attorney recently interviewed by the Wall Street Journal says she’s buying more fine jewelry now over bags and shoes simply because of her new video-intense workday. “If you’re doing Zoom calls, people can see your earrings, your hands, your necklaces,” she told the paper in the past week.

Necklace in 14k yellow, rose, and white gold with Tahitian pearls by Martin Bernstein, $14,000; email martin@martinbernstein.com for purchase

Necklace in 14k yellow, rose, and white gold with Tahitian pearls by Martin Bernstein, $14,000; email martin@martinbernstein.com for purchase


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