#SuzyNYFW: Building Fashion With Jewels

Jewellery as decoration for clothes is a timeless story in fashion. But bringing the two elements together within an outfit or accessory is a richer development.

Jason Wu: Subtle sparkles

Inspired by modernist jewellery, such as the work of Ettore Sottsass, Jason Wu gave an original decorative touch to his collection, from its colours drawn from gemstones to the sprinkle of sparkles woven into the materials.

It might be a dusting of tiny, colourful crystals on the semi-sheer skirt that opened Wu’s show; or a soft, emerald satin blouse with jewels scattered on a slim skirt. Wherever you looked among this garden of flowers, the jewels settled like tiny bugs on bodices or skirts.

The garments did not even have to be evening outfits. The crystals appeared also on a simple sweater.

“My idea was to take classical jewellery elements and make them a little weirder, more distressed – letting loose a little,” said the designer backstage, where, close-up, the tiny jewels showed their decorative designs and vivid colours.

Wu called this mix of jewel tones and unexpected shine a new touch on textures, where the traditional elements were broken apart as a deconstructed version of classic glamour.

But was the setting, complete with tree-high constructions of flowers, the best way to show this detailed work? Wu needed to think of a way – perhaps a digital projection – to bring out the subtlety of his floral inventions.

Paul Andrew: Glitter gulch

Sparkling crystals dotted over high-heeled ankle boots or embedded in slip-on shoes created a new type of decoration in the Paul Andrew collection. For a classic red suede pump, the mock cabochon stones gave a sexy, glitter gulch effect, while the boots were an intriguing mix of hard and curvy.

The words of explanation came tumbling out of the designer, who is about to extend his commitment to Italy’s Ferragamo by taking on the clothing side, as well as the shoe business he has headed for the last two years.

Paul Andrew is hoping to make the cabochons a signature of his brand’s style. But he said his inspiration was much wider than that and included a bold red, black and white palette that was influenced by the paintings of Robert Motherwell.

“It all began at MoMA (the Museum of Modern Art), where I saw this amazing painting which really influenced my colour palette,” he explained. “Then I started looking at the texture of the artwork which influenced the idea of matte and shine. And the materials, because the paint was really cracked over time.”

The references ran on, including his mother’s spike-heeled pumps in England in the 1970s. But, more seriously, Paul Andrew discussed his feelings about the support at the Golden Globes for female strength, and how it reinforced his long-held desire to make women feel comfortable in his shoes.

That all seems a long way from footwear with sparkles – but what more can women (and men) desire than shoes that bring a comfortable empowerment?