Rapaport Magazine
Style & Design

Eye-catching earrings

Big, swinging and colorful are the go-to looks for the lobes as the Zoom era focuses attention on the face.

By Francesca Fearon

The chatter on social media following the Golden Globes and Academy Awards was a sign that glamour was back on the agenda, even with winners making their acceptance speeches from home and wearing couture in their kitchens for the virtual ceremonies. With no red carpet, the stars still stepped up to the plate, bringing old Hollywood glitz and some serious jewelry.

These ceremonies highlighted a shared experience of the past year: that social interactions have shrunk to the size of a computer screen, leading to a greater emphasis on webcam-ready accessories. Out of viewing range, rings and bracelets have been put on furlough in favor of jewelry that frames the face, especially earrings. The boom in videoconferencing has boosted sales in statement earrings that are visible from every Zoom angle. Online luxury retailer Net-a-Porter has experienced this upsurge, especially in bright-colored, diamond-encrusted styles, and classics such as hoops.

The trend has also gained steam among fashion designers, who featured a wide range of shoulder-length looks in their Fall/Winter collections on the New York, London, Milan and Paris catwalks. Kinetic designs dominate, including chandeliers, fringes, tassels, cascades and shoulder-dusters. In New York, Prabal Gurung accessorized his party wear with a range of pearl and diamond dazzlers he’d designed for jeweler Tasaki. The same flair for big earrings was present at Tom Ford, Chanel, Patou, Erdem and Elie Saab. Designers are convinced that post-pandemic clients are going to party like it’s the Roaring ’20s all over again, so they’ve focused on dresses and jewels that would swing on the dance floor.

Make it long

The colorful brands resonating with customers on Net-a-Porter include Anita Ko, Melissa Kaye and Irene Neuwirth.

“I have always been drawn to shoulder-duster earrings,” says Neuwirth, whose collection includes pearl fringe earrings and her Gumball pearl shoulder-dusters with colored accent stones like turquoise and lapis lazuli. “I think they are playful and feminine and an easy way to express your style and creativity. I do not shy away from color or length and tend to use stones with less weight so we can do the biggest looks without them weighing down the ears.”

Kaye also observes the popularity of earrings, noting that they “have definitely been in higher demand now that we find ourselves glued to our computers and phones for Zooms more than ever before. Our designs are very stacking-friendly. Most styles come in several sizes and finishes, and coordinate well with ear cuffs, so many clients purchase an assortment of earrings that they can mix and match to stack up their ears for fun.”

Her most requested pieces are her neon enamel Lola Needle earrings, which she says “give off an edgy look, so it’s generally popular among clients who are more experimental with their jewelry style.” And while the neon colors really pop, they have a refined feel when paired with gold and diamonds — a look she also employs in her long Aria Stiletto designs.

Single-row shoulder-dusters — as opposed to ones with multiple strands — are gaining traction among those not yet ready to leap into the big statement chandeliers. Sylva & Cie has a whole series with heart-shaped hardstone arrowheads and rose-cut diamonds, a red-carpet-ready style that nonetheless would not look out of place in a daytime video call. “Shoulder-dusters are a contemporary alternative to a chandelier,” explains designer Sylva Yepremian. “They are dramatic, but more wearable for daytime as well.”

Dazzling with diamonds

Nothing catches the spotlight on a dance floor at night like diamonds. There are large tassel, fringe and hoop designs in Paris-based brand Messika’s high-jewelry collections, and some dazzling looped and starburst styles at jeweler Yeprem. Anita Ko has long fringes and draped ropes of diamonds to suspend from lobes, and Suzanne Kalan plays with combinations of colorful gemstones for her shoulder-dusters. Vram, meanwhile, has eye-catching diamond chandeliers with colorful combinations of tourmalines and sapphires.

“Chandeliers have a long history, and for good reason,” explains Vram Minassian, founder of the Los Angeles, California-based design house. “They have excellent volume and movement, plus they provide an opportunity to play with colors and proportions as they relate to the constraints of the established form.”

There is a sculptural element to the Vram DNA that adds to the kinetic drama of his designs, a style that clients comfortably wear day and evening, caring less for convention than freedom of expression, he says.

Ileana Makri doesn’t usually design shoulder-dusters, but she introduced her Cascade collection of gold and diamond waterfall earrings last fall, which proved timely. The designs portray the distinct style of ancient Greek jewelry, but Makri has translated this to a contemporary look.

“At the moment, I feel that movement and the beautiful luster of gold [are] what is essential to lift the spirit, bring joy to the wearer, and add a bright ray of light by day or at night,” she says.

For all occasions

Like Makri’s dangling designs, those of fellow Greek jewelry designer Lito display an ease that works with casual wear or formal dress, and that is one of the key points about this trend: It is adaptable. There are bejeweled chandeliers and tassels for evening allure, while for day, there are gold bohemian designs with small colored gemstones, and refined single-row shoulder-dusters.

“Dangly earrings can easily be worn from day to night,” says brand owner Lito Karakostanoglou. “Actually, most of the jewelry I design is supposed to be worn from day to night. It all depends on your style and lifestyle.”

Greek women are used to layering gold jewelry, as it is part of the culture, and this has become a focus of the Lito look. Customers wake up feeling like they might want to wear gold one day and gemstones on another day “for their energy,” explains Karakostanoglou.

Perhaps it is the inherent energy of these big earrings that draws consumers. Tired of lockdown comfort dressing, they now want lively designs to bring some glamour back into their wardrobes.

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - May 2021. To subscribe click here.

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