The Fashion Statement: Body Armor
Do away with dainty chains, saccharine hearts and sugary baubles. There's nothing remotely nice about jewelry this fall.
It seems there was only one direction designers were headed coming off of last year's rash of chunky necklaces, body chains and bold cuffs: bigger, bolder and badder. Jewelry resembles body armor and the look is strong enough to stop a speeding bullet.
Italian designer Francesco Scognamiglio took a defensive posture by showing naked models in waist-to-neck body braces peeking out from under military-style coats. Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy presented brass knuckle-like rings and stacks of spiked cuffs that you wouldn't want to contend with in a back alley (shown above). And Alexander McQueen was certainly up to no good with those hubcaps and mufflers he used as hats and earrings in his défilé (I swear I also saw chicken claws, a lamp shade and a car filter).
It stands to reason: With all the financial uncertainties of this year, the outbreak of swine flu and any number of other evils lurking about, there's a palpable need for security. At times, though, designers seemed to verge on blood thirst. Some pieces resembled ancient torture devices, chains used for restraint or something out of a bizarre Gothic ritual.
An early, and probably the most famous proponent of the look was model Erin Wasson, who launched a body jewelry line called Low Luv at an Alexander Wang show last year. Low Luv was successful but ended up spawning its share of fights over bondage necklaces and a crown of thorns. Another New York-based jewelry line, Bliss Lau, had been producing a stunning collection of body-draped chains and leather pieces since 2007 and contended its designs were being ripped off by Wasson. Another line of body jewelry dubbed Armor Jewelry-and no telling how many countless others-entered the fray only recently.
Fashion designers have recognized a good thing and are duking it out for their stake in a growing movement. And jewelry isn't the only fashion category that has toughened up. More than a few clutches, bags and over-the-knee boots spotted in the fall collections come with so many rows of metal spikes, they resemble porcupines. Ouch!
So start stockpiling your arsenal of mean-girl accessories now-and warn your significant other to keep some distance at least while you're looking fierce-'cause you never know what battles lie up ahead.