For next season, runaways celebrate the return of brooches and lapel decoration: tack pins, brooches and detachable bag ornaments seem to be the heroes for the trends to come.
Text Donatella Zappieri
Brooches have a long history as functional clasps with great ornamental importance. Also known as “Fibula” (plural Fibulae), brooches were initially designed to attach garments and hold them closed. They were made from natural materials such as bone, shell, wood and carved stone. As civilization progressed, brooches were slowly refined by craftsmen using more precious and higher quality metals. By the 1400’s, gemstones were also set into the designs.
Brooches were used to show wealth and status and were worn more as an accessory than for practicality: design, materials, workmanship and means of embellishment communicated a lot about the wearer – their culture, religion, affiliations and social or economic status.
In the Victorian age, hair jewellery became very popular as a personal gift; a token of love and affection and was also used as mourning jewellery. Human hair was encased within the brooch or braided and woven into a band to which clasps were fixed. Portrait miniatures mounted as brooches, pendants, or lockets were also very popular. Towards the end of the century, an unusual variation became widely common: the eye brooch, or lover’s eye.
These were miniature portraits of the eye of a loved person. Interesting enough, the most versatile jewellery accessory of the Art Deco years was the brooch. Not only it was used as a corsage ornament but it also adorned belts, hats and shoulders. Almost every jeweller created brooches designed on the theme of the bouquet of stylised flowers or basket of fruit and fountain motif. The 1940’s and 1950’s saw the demure of cocktail brooch; the 1960’s and 1970’s saw the kitsch pop art brooch.
All these elements seem now to be definitely revamped and designers show young models walking down the runways carrying luxurious brooches on different garment pieces.
Gucci is far the greatest brooch enthusiast. In their last Spring/Summer fashion show (2016), most of the outfits were embellished by a variety of brooches. Strong emphasis was on eye brooches, mostly occurring in vibrant colours attached to the collars or on the shoulders.
Marc Jacobs has definitely led the pack with multiple brooches in one place; the lapels of a blazer are embellished with buttons and pearlescent note-shaped details, the red leather jacket brings about a jumble of beaded but- tons, notes, eyes, hearts and horseshoes, while the denim jacket is entirely encrusted with brooches of different shapes and materials. Another season to come with plenty of interesting jewellery accessories.
With the experience of thirty years in jewellery and luxury goods, Donatella has gained the skills and knowledge that facilitate her as a reliable freelance consultant today. She currently owns her studio in Luxury Goods Strategic Consultancy and supports companies in starting up their jewellery lines and repositioning themselves with a fresh approach in the luxury market and a 360° approach.She teaches at various Universities in Milan and Geneva and is member of the Professional Faculty at Sda Bocconi University.She also writes for Italian jewelry magazines such as VO+, Orafo Italiano, Il Tarì and Man in Town and has her own magazine.