The Fashion Effect
Most jewelers, I would submit, don't follow the fashion world closely.
I don't blame them, in a sense. What do "social X-rays" (to paraphrase
Tom Wolfe) modeling impossible and usually outlandish clothes have to do
with the mostly conservative customers who buy fine jewelry?
That's why I loved colored gemstone supplier Cynthia Marcusson's presentation
at the Northwest Jewelers Conference in April. Marcusson, of Cynthia Renée,
Fallbrook, CA, manages to cull the 1% of usefulness out of the fashion world's
extravagance and shows how it influences even the most conservative jewelry
consumers. Marcusson called our attention to fashion's current fascination
with India, for example, noting that fashion magazines, movie stars and
auctions have featured Indian-style clothing and opulent Mogul-style jewelry.
Oh sure, you can all see your customers donning enormous bracelets encrusted
with gigantic gemstones and massive goldwork, can't you? What about 400-row
necklaces that cover a woman from neck to waist? I mean not to cast aspersions
on this magnificent jewelry style. I only note that casual dressing trends
don't suggest women will want such jewelry any time soon.
Just as I could feel the jewelers in the room begin to tune Marcusson
out, she showed a marvelous, modern piece of jewelry with a simple paisley
motif, noting that even conservative women read the fashion mags and might
like a fillip of style in their next earrings. Suddenly, fashion-watching
made sense. Marcusson extracted the 1% and showed how jewelers could profit
Marcusson also talked about color-watching. She noted that if jewelers
had watched closely, they would have seen the boom in peridot coming as
that shade of green slowly swept the fashion world. Her next prediction
is yellow, which she's beginning to see in various magazines, in clothing
and other consumer products. Sure enough, when I read InStylemagazine's
latest issue, I saw the beginning of the yellow wave, in a model's blouse,
a socialite's dress and ads for tony purses and a Volkswagen bug! Hey, that
This brings to mind an article Robert Weldon wrote in this month's issue
about the number of high-profile jewelry advertisers showing amethyst, citrine
and blue topaz, as well as peridot. From Lagos and Yurman to Cartier and
H. Stern, these gems are being touted in chic ads in magazines that influence
your customers. Color experts we quoted in our March story on image, for
example, predicted blues and purples were on the rise as favorite consumer
colors. So I guess that explains the blue topaz and amethyst.
Jewelers, look around. Even if you don't have time (or the intestinal
fortitude) to read fashion magazines, tune in somewhere to fashion's influence.
By the way, as you shop the JCK International Jewelry Show this month, read
our story in Professional Insider on fall clothing collections (p. 177).
And think yellow.
by Peggy Jo Donahue Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.