See It Before They Wear It: Oscars Jewelry Preview

24th Feb 2012


It’s Oscar weekend, and Hollywood is buzzing with preparations. From facials and dress fittings to crash diets and hair consultations, the stars are getting ready for film’s biggest night. Each icon who hits the red carpet wants to look his/her best – all the way down to the jewelry. Luckily, there are stylists for that! Today I stopped by StyleLab’s 2012 Academy Awards Jewelry Preview, where celebs and their stylists come to pick out the perfect baubles for their Oscar attire. I love this event for two reasons: not only do I get to see, touch and try on (yes, try on!) some of the most spectacular pieces of jewelry I’ll never own, I also get to catch up with my favorite Jewelry Expert, Mr. Michael O’Connor. He gave me the scoop on some of the hottest trends we’ll be spotting on the scarlet strip Sunday night.

As soon as I walked into the room, I was pleasantly surprised to find Michael hard at work, helping Tabatha Coffey, star of Bravo’s Tabatha Takes Over clad in her trademark head-to-toe black ensemble, choose the right accessories for her awards show apparel. She seemed keen on a dramatic Canadian diamond necklace set in white gold designed by Reena Ahluwalia of Rio Tinto, but felt that it was a better fit with last year’s dress. Then she tried on a Marco Mavilla watch proclaiming: “I never wear watches. I hate looking at the time, but this feels like I’m wearing a bracelet!” Unfortunately she left empty-handed, but plans to return tomorrow. Michael has been tasked with finder her a pair of earrings, preferably long with a vintage vibe.

Once Tabatha was gone, I was able to focus on the striking sparklers in front of me – worth a grand total of more than $30 million. A few pieces immediately caught my eye, but I was anxious to hear about which styles Michael expected to shine. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see dresses from last week’s fall 2012 runway shows,” he said. “The Oscars are a teaser for consumers. [The looks they see on the red carpet] set them up for what’s next.”

1. Black, White And Gray

Fresh from New York Fashion Week, Michael said he saw lots of monochromatic looks from this trio of traditional neutrals on the runways. “Colors in general are more muted. I saw lots of burgundies and hunter green.” However, cooler hues, like blues and purples, will also be important. The shade that’s fizzled: red.

2. Beaded Dresses

Ladies, the ’80s are back. “It was like Dynasty revisited,” Michael told me. “Beads were flying on the runway. We’re seeing longer sleeves and padded shoulders.” What does this mean for jewelry? “It needs to be bigger and more important to compete with the apparel designs.” As a result, we’ll see big earrings, massive cuff bracelets and giant cocktail rings.

3. Accessory Overview

Necklaces: “Every now and then necklaces still seem to make it on the red carpet, but I’m not seeing many for the Academy Awards,” he said. “Since there’s more beading along the neckline [of gowns], there’s no need for a necklace. Stars are wearing earrings instead.”

Earrings: While shoulder-dusting styles have been popular, we’re starting to see them get shorter, but chunkier and wider. “Big pieces of jewelry need to be far apart on the body,” Michael advised. “You can wear earrings and a bracelet or earrings and a ring.”

Bracelets: “In the past, we saw a lot of stacking, but now stars are leaning more toward one large cuff instead,” Michael said.

4. Natural Materials

Fashion houses featured a lot of leather and fur in their fall 2012 collections, and gemstones fit into this category, as well. Jewelry designers are even doing their part to be more eco-friendly. Rio Tinto had several 100% sustainable pieces available including V. Saravanan’s neckpiece made from sustainable silver and aluminum leaf and Silvermist diamonds, and Nadia Neuman’s fan constructed from recycled gold, ethically mined diamonds and sustainable black turkey feathers.

5. Embellished Menswear

That’s right, we’re starting to see more ornamentation on the clothes of our male counterparts. From zippers and beading to colored shoes and bags, men are becoming more comfortable with their flair for fashion. Expect to see lots of dazzling cufflinks and oversized diamond watches.

So, now you know what to look for on Sunday night. Will you spot one of these to-die-for pieces on the red carpet? Tell us if you do!

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