Vicenzaoro 1 Trend Report

January 22, 2002

Vicenzaoro 1 Trend Report

The designers and manufacturers at Vicenzaoro 1, held Jan. 13-20 in Vicenza, Italy, did their usual best to inspire the world with top-notch design and fresh ideas, despite some continued nervousness about when the hoped-for economic recovery will occur.

There was a more dominant use of yellow gold, a wider array of natural motifs and significant colors were the reds, dark pinks, corals and oranges.

The Italians also offered enduring styles like lariats, square motifs, lines, woven looks, multiples and repeated patterns in their designs.

A few pioneers pointed the way to the future with styles and motifs North Americans will probably adopt over the next few years.

Here are the highlights:

Continuing Looks
• Squares and ovals, as gemstone shapes, chain links or overall motifs.
• Lines and squiggles, especially in neckwear, earrings and rings.
• Lariats, bolos and scarves. Italian designer Nanis hedges its bets on lariats with clever attachments allowing these pieces to convert into regular chains in case the trend fizzles.
• Open work, nets, webbing, bibs, multiples, dangles and repeated patterns, mostly in pendants, necklaces and bracelets.
• Fringes and tassels, prominent in earrings and at the end of rope-style neckwear.
• Symbols of hope, such as hearts, stars, crosses, flowers and butterflies, as many Italians continue to answer the need for comfort jewelry in the wake of Sept. 11.
• Shiny and matte metal combinations, in all yellow or all white, but also in yellow and white combinations.
• Brown pavé and black-and-white jewelry (though black-and-white was less prominent than in past years).

Growing Trends
• Small jewelry, such as tiny chains, gold balls and other diminutive styles.
• Circular motifs in chains, pendants and in repeated patterns. It's either a reaction to ovals and squares or an imitation of innovator Orlando Orlandini's dramatic multiple circle chain necklaces.
• Crescents depicting the moon in pins, pendants and charms, or as abstract design elements.
• Marquise-shaped gems and bracelet links.
• Bypasses in rigid bracelets, necklaces and rings, where instead of two metal ends meeting to make a closed circle, they swoosh past each other for a look suggesting openness and dynamic movement. Stefan Hafner innovated the look.
• Paperclip shapes in chain styles.
• Nature at the next level. In a quest to move beyond the common natural symbols, Italian designers created jewelry out of golden beans, seeds, leaves, smooth river stones, scattered flower petals and dew drops. Many pieces were reminiscent of the ancient Greeks' use of these same motifs. Casa Damiani introduced the Rondini collection, depicting a spring robin in flight. Roberto Coin's Fifth Season collection for younger buyers featured chunky golden boulders. Waterfall styles, multiple-wire necklaces that looked like swirling hurricanes and space orbits (with gems for planets) were also popular. Marco Bicego showed one popular example, using luscious red gems.

Popular Colors and Color Combinations
As single colors, nothing stood out more than the dusky reds, deep corals, dark pinks and rustic oranges. The most compelling color combination was red with blue, in light and dark shades. This look showed up in rings, beaded necklaces, pendants, cabochon styles and using both opaque and transparent gemstones. Orange/purple and green/purple gem combinations were popular too, but didn't look as fresh as red and blue mixes. There were more tonal mixes, with blue/greens and purple/blues predominating.

What's Newer
Casa Damiani introduced a "jeans" effect with tiny gold stitches in white metal for a casual look in its Vintage collection. Alfieri & St. John showed a Shahrazad collection featuring scattered, haphazardly-placed gemstones in direct contrast to all the balanced, repeating, mirrored patterns in much of the jewelry at the show.

Jewelry that looked as if it a truck had flattened it looked new against all the three-dimensional, softened, rounded and organic styles. Offbeat undersea creatures, in homage to Tiffany 7 Co. design legend Jean Schlumberger, were added to many collections. Cocktail jewelry made an appearance, calling to mind the 1940s and '50s, with big flower bursts and starbursts. Freeform, abstract styles were more in evidence and formed an added contrast to all the representational styles and patterned looks.

– by Peggy Jo Donahue

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