For Fall 2014, Alber Elbaz had some Triple X action on the brain: Xtravagant, Xtreme, Xperiment. The tone of his collection seemed "dark, fierce, and frustrated" to Style.com's Tim Blanks, who was taken with the "cinematic shadowplay" on the runway and the way it depicted "the primal suffocating the urbane."
Translation: the collection rocked.
The rocks around the necks, in particular, aroused my own eXtreme and raccoon-like love of pretty, shiny things in offbeat packages. I love how this badass piece almost seems like a found object from a high-class dungeon.
Which is fitting because it's in the murky subterranean depths where jewelry is at its most fascinating. For personal adornment and "decoration is a carefully orchestrated collection of signs, each with particular meanings and overtones," observes jeweler Bruce Metcalf. "As worn, jewelry constitutes a complex statement of social fact and personal fantasy." Draping yourself in diamonds for a visit to the country club is, according to Metcalf, a way you indicate you're one of the gang and a visual means of asking for acceptance. Wearing, say, a razor blade pendant to the same venue would come across as more of a middle finger, elucidating "suspicion and raised eyebrows."
When we wear our crosses, our stars of David, our hands of Fatima, we hope they bring us luck and protect us. "As in preliterate societies," continues Metcalf, and "in spite of all our technical sophistication, people still use jewelry for much the same reasons as the most primitive of African tribesmen."
However, the definition of jewelry I find most relevant is its function as a prominent stage prop in the theater of Me, Myself & I. That nose ring tells the world I'm a bit of gypsy. A ridiculously-oversized statement necklace conveys (hopefully) how ridiculously glamorous you are. An aggressive three-finger ring indicates she's not to be trifled with. But dig a bit deeper and the surface differences suddenly disappear, in their place a single jewelry archetype with one purpose. "The basic impulse of decorating the body has always been connected to a bid for acceptability, of trying to be secure and likeable," says Metcalf. "A basic motivation for the use of jewelry is the powerful human urge to belong."
Either of these Lanvin necklaces would guarantee you unrestricted access to the VIP area of the Apocalytical fashion tribe*. To read more of my posts about this tribe, CLICK HERE. *To learn more about all the fashion tribes I cover, START HERE.
Podcast music: Kevin MacLeod, Incompetech.com
- Lesley Scott